Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Lots of blood

This morning it was like an instant replay of the most difficult hour of bringing the kids home from Ukraine.

I don't actually know if I wrote about this when it happened because so much all happened at once, so I will tell the story again... When we got on the plane in DC on our way home from Ukraine, we sat down, buckled in, and waited for them to close the doors and taxi out to the runway. Before the doors were even closed, Wesley's nose began bleeding profusely!

I had towels and bibs with me for the kids to use when drinking and quickly tipped him forward, holding him on my lap and compressed his nose. He didn't like the positioning or anything on his face and fought me the entire time. He screamed and bit the towels and bit me, but if I removed the rag the blood was literally spraying out of his nose and I had droplets all over my arm and leg and on the towel I had covering my lap. His cup, which he'd been drinking out of and was closely ready for take off, was co reed in spattered blood. It was gross.

And it was scary!

We had already had a very difficult time with the airline getting our seats together and Chris ended up having to ask someone to give up their seat for her even after boarding the plane so that she could sit across the aisle from the kids and myself. Not an ideal way to start a very sleep deprived last leg of the 24 hour venture home with children we had only 10 days of history with!

After about 15 or 20 minutes the bleeding stopped, but not until after I was reduced to tears and the flight attendants had taken mercy on me and based both on his size and the fact that he was screaming uncontrollably, they ignored the fact that he wasn't sitting upright or buckled in when the plane took off.

I had so many things going through my head at that time, like what if this is something more than a nosebleed, what if the airplane pressure makes it worse, what if he is in pain once we take off and screams the entire flight because it hurts... What if he is actually sick and we just don't know it yet or what if he has these regularly?

The biggest one was wondering whether we were going to be kicked off the plane! When we were trying to refigure our seats, the very very unkind airline workers at the desk before boarding told me in no uncertain terms that they had way overbooked the flight. She told us that she had no intention of trying to get my kids' seats near mine or Chris's and if that meant we wouldn't be flying, then there were plenty of other people waiting for our seats and she would just bump us...

A man who to me was an angel had talked to us on our way through security and came over just to chat while we were waiting and asked if we had been able to change our seats to be together. I told him no and he asked for my tickets, that he would try again for us. Yes, I'd already been in tears at that time too... It doesn't take much lol, especially when I haven't slept! He disappeared with our plane tickets and I went to buy drinks so that the kids would have something for take off.

He came back and said that he flies to Europe twice a year for work and that he knows most of the staff well. He told them we we're his friends coming home with two newly adopted disabled children and that if we booked seats on this flight that she needed to make it a priority to get our seats together. Basically, he used his own clout for our benefit... And it worked. They called me over a few minutes later and had 3 of us together and Chris was able to trade with someone after boarding,

Back to the flight though, I was afraid that if someone saw he was bleeding that they would just tell us to get off the plane! We were only a few hours from home and unless I was read to go to the ER (which I wasn't... I have a little nursing experience aside from even 'just' the care of my kids and wasn't that terrified by a nosebleed...) then I wasn't voluntarily getting off the plane!

Well, we made it through take off and Wesley ended up falling asleep and sleeping through the entire flight, on my lap, never buckled... And he had a great drive home after landing...

Now on to today... Wesley was eating breakfast and his nose, once again, started bleeding profusely. At home I have ice packs, whereas we didn't on the plane, so we put him upright and forward, applied ice and compressed his nose and... Waited. About 15 minutes. Two rags. A lot of blood.

Then it stopped and he seems pretty ok. During that nice little episode with the bloody nose he went back in time behaviorally, too. He thrashed, screamed, bit the towel and threw his head around. It was just like the first time and just like several fits thereafter when he would do similar things. He hasn't had a fit like that in months and only tried to bite me once even at the hospital.

There's only one trigger that is a similarity, and it's a pretty obvious one to me, though I don't believe that in general these two things are related.

Both times, Wesley was severely sleep deprived.

Today is his EEG, so if theres anything too strange going on, maybe we will see that in the results of the morning... But otherwise we keep on keeping on until or unless so merging else happens, needing more of a response.

I will say, though, that it helped me to realize how different Wesley is today than he was 4 months ago when we first received custody of him. He has grown and matured in ways that I didn't even notice, just in the way that he deals with stress and situations that he doesn't like.

Now... Here we go... Off to start another day!


  1. Wow! I wonder how the sleep deprivation plays into his bloody noses.

    Next time he has blood work done, see if the doctor would check his Von Willebrand's factor. There is a sizable population (1% of the population in Europe). that has Von Willebrand's disease. It's not so much a disease as it is a mild clotting disorder; my son has it. One of the main symptoms is frequent or strong nosebleeds (the other is bruising).

  2. How odd! We also had a nosebleed on the flights home. It was our flight from Germany to the US, so we'd already flown once that morning and we were still on the tarmac when it started. But definitely NOT a good way to start the journey home!

  3. Aw, poor, sweet boy! Amazing to see, though, how far he has come. So happy he is home with you and loved. God bless.

  4. I began writing, then I stopped to read the comment before mine (Beth) and realized that I'll have one of my children tested for that.... He has these nosebleeds that bleed through towels. It's scary, but luckily my MIL had told me that my husband and my FIL are the same - or else I would have thought my child was dying the first time it happened! Warm temperatures make my son's nosebleeds worse. I'm sorry you had to go through that - especially on a plane. Hope you'll find an answer to why it happens.

  5. My aunt had a blood vessel very, very close to the interior surface of her nose, and was also on blood thinners for her heart. As a result, she was prone to frequent nosebleeds. However, her doctor told her about a very simple, very helpful home remedy which really works (I've tried it myself on occasion): sugar!

    When a nosebleed strikes, moisten a soft tissue, sprinkle sugar onto it, and insert into the affected nostril. The sugar helps the blood coagulate and will shorten the clotting time considerably. My aunt carried packets of table sugar with her at all times, along with tissues, and it made a huge difference for her.

    I hope Wesley won't experience these scary episodes again, but if he does, I hope the sugar treatment will help. It's a treatment, not a cure, and I'm certain you want to learn and address the underlying cause of his nosebleeds, but's worth a try.

    Best wishes,
    Susan in Ky
    Cousin to 2 from U.