So, we took Kavi to the…

So, we took Kavi to the emergency room last night. Results inconclusive.

The gist: from about 4:00 - 7:00 yesterday, she was having real balance issues. Kavi would try to walk, and fall down every few steps. Aside from that she was totally happy and normal, and by the time the doctor saw us around 8 p.m., the problem had disappeared completely and she was walking just fine (allowing for tiredness from being long past her bedtime). The lack of symptoms made it much harder to diagnose the underlying problem. So the doctor said it may be nothing, it may be something, watch her for the next week and keep a log of any further balance issues to take to your pediatrician. So that's where we are.

When I tried to research balance issues on the web, it came up with something like 600 different diseases/conditions/etc. that all have trouble walking as a symptom. So that was useless.

What's particularly frustrating right now is that we'd been almost certain that it was just a result of an ear infection. We all had a cold last week, and kids often get ear infections after that, which can leave fluid in the ears and affect balance. It would have been the simple explanation. But the one thing we learned from our three hours in the E.R. (which Kavi was a trooper for, thank god), is that her ears look great. Totally fine. So that's apparently not the issue. (Now I'm trying to figure out whether it's possible that it's infected without any obvious redness or other symptoms. Web is not yet helpful on this.)

This is scary, folks. The doctor threw around phrases like 'possible neurological issues'. We do not like possible neurological issues, no we don't. We want them to stay far, far away from our child. Hopefully it's nothing. We'll watch her and see.

The other good thing we learned is that Children's Memorial seems like a pretty good and competent hospital, even if there's a long wait in their E.R. for non-urgent cases. Their E.R. has crayons and toys and books and a playhouse; I think Kavi thought we had gone to a playspace instead of a hospital. We're going to try to find a new pediatrician associated with them, because we really do not love our current pediatrician. If you happen to have any recommendations for one (that takes HMO insurance), please do let me know.

7:50 update: She just got up, and is definitely a little wobbly walking -- not actually falling, but keeps reaching out to catch herself on things. Dammit.

8:30: Spent a while on the couch watching Sesame Street, and now seems to be walking fine.

10 thoughts on “So, we took Kavi to the…”

  1. Hang in there. There may be 600 diseases associated with the symptom, but it could also be nothing. I’ll be thinking good thoughts, just in case.

  2. My Darling Wife is an occupational therapist who worked early intervention (0-3) for years, and now works at the only public hospital in a city of about 3/4 million. I say that so that I don’t just appear to be talking out my ass.

    I told her about this, and she agrees it’s worth keeping an eye on. That it’s an acute onset kind of thing (meaning this hasn’t been going on forever) is kind of a good thing — if there’s an infection or inflammation of the inner ear that you just can’t see by looking down the ear canal, for instance, that would match what you’re seeing.

    That said, if it goes on much longer *absolutely* get to a neurologist. It’s not that the chances are good that the problem’s in the wiring — the chances are actually pretty low — but the stakes are high, and the sooner you catch that stuff the better. Again, it’s no call to panic. The neuro stuff is just the first rank of possibilities that you want to rule out.

    (I know that may not be comforting, but I’ve got this whole “fix it” vibe going. Y’know.)

    If there’s anything we can do to be of service, even if it’s just comparing notes with someone who’s in the field a little, I’d be happy to hook you and my wife up talk.

  3. Mary Anne Mohanraj

    Daniel, thanks — that was actually helpful. And thanks for offering up your wife; depending on how this goes, we may take you up on that.

    We have two good friends who are pediatricians, but neither practices near us, unfortunately. Good for phone consultations, though. My experience so far with medical things is that getting info and perspectives from several different folks is tremendously helpful.

    I actually do generally trust doctors, but medicine is still far from an exact science, and the more minds working on a problem, the better, is what I think.

  4. Well, I had an experience a few years back where I developed mild intermittent vertigo, and took myself down to urgent care. They kept looking in my ears and not finding anything. We got all the way up to a CT scan, and they still didn’t find anything. They finally sent me home with a diagnosis of “benign idiopathic vertigo” and some anti-vertigo medication.

    Three days later, I saw my regular doctor. She looked in my ears, said, “Yeah, you’ve got fluid in there from your allergies,” had me take some decongestants, and the problem went away. To this day, I don’t know what she could see that one ER doctor and two ER nurses couldn’t see.

    So, yes, it is entirely possible to have fluid buildup in your ears without it being particularly visible. Here’s hoping that’s all it is.

  5. I’ve been lurking for a while, but I just had to pop up and tell you that I’m over here sending good thoughts to you and Kavi.

  6. It also occurs to me as I think back on this that “watch for a week and consult your pediatrician” is code for “There is no immediate danger.”

  7. Yikes! Scary! I’m glad to see the reassuring notes in comments. Fingers crossed that it turns out to be something simple and benign.

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