So much has happened in the past ten days, I can't bear to rewrite it... so following are two e-mails I sent our friends and family.
Tuesday, September 27th, 2005: Darwin is in the Hospital
I'm sorry to do this over e-mail, and a mass e-mail atthat, but this is the quickest and most efficient wayfor me to let everyone know what is going on.
Yesterday afternoon around 2:30 the boys were watchingTV in the living room while I was in the kitchen loading the dishwasher. I heard a thud and Darwin crying a little. A moment later, Griffin ran to me upset and said Darwin had a boo-boo. As I went to get him he started screaming bad. I picked him up to calm him down and Griffin showed me blood on the floor. It took a few seconds for me to figure out he was crying blood and I called 911.
An ambulance came to the house and assessed him and recommended that he did NOT need to go to the ER, thathe be seen by the family doctor later that day or the next day. They said he had a minor cut on his lower, outer eye lid and that his eye looked fine.
I immediately put the boys in the van and headed to the doctor's office. I called them on the way and they said our regular doctor was not in and they are swamped with other patients, so I went to the OverlandPark Regional ER.
Meanwhile, Aaron was at work and being kept informed of what was happening and he met us at the hospital.
The admitting nurse looked at him and said the cut was very small and superficial and that his eye also looked fine. By the time he was seen by an ER doctor(two hours after the fall) his eye was neither responding correctly nor did it look fine. He was sent by ambulance to Children's Mercy Hospital downtown.
After three tries and sedation, they were able to to aCT scan on his head and eye, as well as a proper inspection by an optometrist. The scans came back and his brain looked fine. However, behind his eye was ablood clot. By this time it was about 10:30 pm.
Darwin went into emergency exploratory surgery around midnight to look at his eye. An attending optometrist, student optometrist and student ear-nose-and-throat doctor performed the surgery. The attending optometrist came and saw us around 1:00am this morning -- and here is where I can't recall andthe details verbatim and I might get some stuffwrong -- and said that he has a cut on his outer lower eye lid and inner lower eye lid the clot was small and that his third ocular nerve looked "fine" however the clot was sitting between his nerve and his eyeball,which is displaced by the clot and unresponsive. She suspected that the nerve would die and Darwin would be blind in that eye.
I know she is preparing us for the worst but everytime we talked about a glimmer of hope the woman shu tus down.
Anyway, Darwin was then admitted into Children's Mercy to undergo constant surveillance and receive LARGE doses of intravenous steroids (to try and save the nerve), zantac (to counter balance the stomach upset of the steroids) and antibiotics (to prevent any infection).
Since I was not in the room when this happened, our theory is that Darwin was trying to climb on the couch (because he has just master climbing on the love seat,which is lower than the couch). We think he had a toy in his hand when he was climbing. Somehow, he fell and the toy got jabbed into his eye, causing the cuts. The doctor thinks that the toy might have also got underneath his eye and jabbed the nerve but if that did happen I would think the nerve would have shown signs of damage during the exploratory surgery. She said we are very lucky that the toy did not puncture his eye ball. (And yes, I feel fully responsible for this. If you want to blame anyone, blame me because I was not in the room.)
The blood clot is likely caused from the inner eyelid cut and the blood pooled under or behind his eye.
Right now, Darwin's eye is bulging and "hanging low"due to the blood clot pushing against it. His pupil is unresponsive to light. The attending optometrist visited him today for 30 seconds and said there was"no change".
He has been walking all over his hospital room (like a drunk little baby because he only has one eye working right now). His eye is swollen but he does not act like he is in any pain unless someone starts messing with his eye or wants to do something to his IV. Also,when he was walking, both Aaron and I noticed that his eye was opened slightly and moving in sync with his good eye. And he was blinking. And when he does cry, he is crying clear tears out of his eye. And it looks like the swelling/bruising is starting to go down. All good signs.
We have the highest of hopes that Darwin will fully recover from this, despite what the doctors are telling us. He is very young and and babies are quick to heal. Also, the steroids are being administered to help heal/prevent deterioration of his nerve.
The doctors estimate that it will take about a week before the blood clot will begin to break down and be reabsorbed into the body. Once the blood clot is out of the way and the eye reattaches to the nerve we will have a better understanding of his vision.
Darwin will be at Children's Mercy at least until Thursday. He will be getting another CT scan on his eye, but we do not know if it will be Wednesday or Thursday. Everything is up in the air right now and we are trying to handle this the best we can.
Again, the doctor thinks he will be blind in his eye.
We are taking their opinions into account, but hoping for a full recovery.
It will likely be six months before we have a ful lunderstanding of the ramifications of this accident.
The whole purpose of this e-mail is to give everyone the story so, hopefully, you can send Darwin positive energy.
I don't care if you pray, meditate, chant, do a dance, cast a spell. Please, in the way you choose to do it, ask the universe to send Darwin the power of healing and positive energy. We will appreciate every thought, prayer, etc. to help our son heal.
Saturday, October 1st, 2005: Darwin is Home
Darwin was released from Children's Mercy on Thursday night(the 29th) and came home. Everyone is very happyto have the family under one roof, and Darwin is extremely happy to be home. To commemorate the event, he immediately began climbing all over the couch.
Before being discharged yesterday he had another CT scan on his left eye. The doctors said the hemorrhage looked much better. Also, the swelling had gone down and his eye is getting closer to being in its original placement. Now that the swelling is down the bruising is starting to look worse.
The doctors now think he may have hit two nerves -- one is the visual nerve and the other one is a movement nerve that controls his eye movement and his eyelid movement. This means that not only are we concerned about how his eye will function, but also how his eyelid will function (it might be "droopy"). It will take six months to a year for us to fully know the outcome of the accident.
Aaron and I are still hoping that he will make a full recovery. Even though he has not fully opened his eye since the accident happened, when both the ambulance techs and nurse at the ER first assessed him, his pupil was able to dilate and his eye was able to move both times. We are taking this as good news, since the nerves were not immediately severed. Also, things could have been worse -- he could have pierced a major blood vessel or his brain; he could have also hit a nerve in such a way that he would have chronic painfor the rest of his life. From what we can tell, noneof this has happened and for that we feel very grateful and lucky.
Darwin is getting along fine. He acts like nothing is wrong and is back to his stubborn ways of constantly want to climb, jump and wrestle with Griffin (of course, Aaron and I are hovering and nervous, but that is to be expected).
Darwin will continue to be on meds for the next week. He will follow up with our family doctor on Friday the7th and with the ophthalmologist on Thursday the 13th. From what we've been told, Darwin will not have anymore CT scans or exploratory surgeries.
Aaron and I did save and bank both of the boys' cordblood from their birth, and we've brought up using Darwin's on him for his eye and/or allergies (for those of you who do not know, Darwin is battling chronic allergies -- he is allergic to everything we have tested him for including meats, fruits, vegetables, grains, environmental stuff, animals, etc. He is on a special formula that does not contain dairy or soy. He also has atopic dermatitis. He is currently seeing four doctors for these issues and we just got referrals last week for him to start seeing two more doctors and clinics in Chicago and Dallas). If anyone has any information on research using stem cells on allergies and nerves, specifically ocular nerves, we would really appreciate it if you could forward that information to us.
Thank you for all your thoughts and prayers. Please keep them coming. Darwin needs all the healing help he can get.