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the eric update - day 1481: the improbables.

about 1% of kids with odin's history of retinopathy of prematurity have a "late" vitreous hemorrhage and the vast majority of those 1% have associated retinal detachment or retinal tears or whatnot that require surgery to repair. certainly the eye doesn't fill up with blood without something significant bursting or tearing, right?

that's the conventional wisdom and it's usually correct. except when it's not.

that's right, after a long drive to have odin see one of the world's experts, we were very suprised and pleased to learn after he performed the exam under anesthesia that odin is the one of the very rare 1 percent of 1 percenters who have a hemorrhage with no associated retinal damage!

in fact, dr. capone said that odin's eye's looked remarkably healthy and while he couldn't guarantee that odin would never have another hemorrhage, he really thought we should continue to treat him like any other boy and not curtail any activities he might enjoy - even hockey.

so, how did his eye fill with blood? when odin had his rop surgery he had over 1,500 blood vessels "burned" or ablated in each retina. "normally", each one of those burned blood vessels leaves residual scar tissue, sort-of like a dead bush hanging off the retina and those "dead bushes" get pulled by the eye's jelly, or vitreous, as the retina grows. eventually, the torsion caused by the "bushes" getting pulled by the vitreous causes a tear or detachment.

in odin's case, he's very lucky because for whatever reason, he doesn't have very fibrous scar tissue - meaning the dead bushes aren't very large and don't provide much surface area for the vitrous to pull against. but even though they aren't very "bushy" each one of the 3,000 dead bushes on his retinas does have a live artery behind it, and in all likelihood one of those arteries simply popped off the scar tissue causing the hemorrhage.

as an aside, odin continued to amaze us and everyone around him with his grace and good humor under difficult circumstances. we sat in a pre-op room for 5 hours(!) while the doctor was delayed in surgery, which meant that odin didn't eat or drink anything for almost 24 hours. he sat through the 4 rounds of stinging dilation drops on an empty stomach and didn't complain a bit other than to tell us matter-of-factly that he was quite hungry. and when we practiced breathing through the face mask that was going to help him take a nap, he didn't express a bit of fear or apprehension. when dr. capone came out to talk with us, he commented on how remarkable a young boy he was - so observant and verbal and serene.

he paused and said simply, "he gets it."


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7/23/2008 10:34:00 PM 4 comments


What great news! I'm so happy to hear his eyes are healthy and that he handled the surgery and wait so well.

By Anonymous Anonymous, at 11:57 PM  

Yes! He made the 3-pointer at the buzzer (and made it look easy)! :-)

By Anonymous Anonymous, at 2:25 PM  

As a member of Odin's fan club I am pleased by this outcome, and, as always, grateful for the chance to "know" such a splendid boy.

By Blogger esta1923, at 4:58 PM  

awesome news! *whew*

By Blogger cori, at 11:27 PM  

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"it is hard to be brave," said piglet, sniffing slightly, "when you're only a Very Small Animal." rabbit, who had begun to write very busily, looked up and said: "it is because you are a very small animal that you will be Useful in the adventure before us."

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this site chronicles the continuing adventures of my son, odin, who was unexpectedly born on the fourth of july at 25 weeks gestation, weighing 1 pound 7 ounces.

he's quite a fighter and you can always send him a postcard to the most current address listed here if you're inspired by his adventures. see the postcard project/google maps mashup to see a map of the postcards.

if you're new, you can browse the archives to catch up. and don't forget to watch a few movies that i made while we were in the neonatal intensive care unit. or if you want the abridged version and you can find a copy, you can read about his adventures in the november 2005 issue of parents magazine.

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