Health Stories

Aussie woman’s eyes won’t stop BLEEDING

And doctors have no idea why!

Alexis Harrison, 17, from the Gold Coast, has no idea why her eyes won’t stop bleeding. Here, she shares the story in her own words.

Strolling in the sunshine, I made my way to work and let myself into the building.

Working in a childcare centre, I was the first to arrive, so popped into the bathroom before the day started.

But as I walked across the tiles, I felt myself slipping.

Then I banged my head on the wash basin.

When I came to, the left side of my head was throbbing with pain.

Disorientated, I managed to heave myself onto my feet and stumbled out.

My colleague had just arrived and I told her what had happened.

I felt so dizzy.

‘Sit down, I think you have a concussion,’ she said. ‘You should go to the doctor.’

So I phoned my dad Wayne and he picked me up.

‘You have concussion,’ the doctor confirmed. ‘Go home and get some rest.’

The next day, feeling a bit better, I went to work.

But when I walked through the door, my colleagues gasped.

‘Your eye is bleeding!’ one of them shrieked.

‘What the…?’ I muttered.

(Credit: Supplied)

Going back to the doctor, I checked in at reception.

The next thing I knew, I was waking up on the bathroom floor with eight nurses and doctors surrounding me.

‘What’s going on?’ I asked, scared and confused.

‘I found you here,’ a nurse said. ‘An ambulance is on the way.’

Dad and my mum, Amber, met me at  the hospital and sat with me while I had a CT scan.

My head was spinning as I waited for the results. But when the doctor came to see me, he gave me the all clear.

‘You can go home,’ he said.

‘I can’t believe you’re letting her leave, there must be something wrong?’ Mum said.

But the doctor was insistent and I had to clutch onto my parents for support as I stumbled out of hospital.

The next day, my eyes started to bleed again – then I was soon on the floor having another seizure.

‘We’re going back to hospital,’ Dad said.

Yet doctors were reluctant to admit me. They said the CT scan showed I didn’t have a brain injury, so there was nothing they could do.

‘She’s bleeding from the eyes!’ Mum protested. ‘Something is clearly wrong.’

With the doctors still refusing to do more tests, Mum and Dad had to call on Ryan’s Rule – an escalation process for patients and families introduced in Queensland hospitals after the death of Ryan Saunders – so I could have an MRI.

Alexis bleeding from the mouth
My mouth also started bleeding (Credit: Supplied)

I spent a week in hospital having various tests.

During this time, I suffered multiple seizures and experienced throbbing headaches.

Blood would drip from my eyes and down my face.

‘Your eyes are bleeding again,’ Mum would say.

I’d take photos before cleaning it away with a tissue.

It was terrifying, I knew it wasn’t normal to bleed from the eyes. Even my nose started bleeding.

But still, no-one could work out what was going on.

Doctors determined the seizures were non-epileptic, but they couldn’t pinpoint what was causing them.

I was discharged again with no answers.

With daily seizures, I couldn’t return to work.

I always knew when one was coming, because my eyes would start bleeding just before.

Sometimes, a seizure lasted over 20 minutes.

And on other occasions, they would continue back-to-back for three hours.

Mum even had to help me shower, as sometimes I was too disorientated to stand up. And we were worried in case I banged my head again.

I felt so helpless.

‘I just want to be a normal kid,’ I sobbed to Mum.

One time, my eye was bleeding so badly that it was clotting and Mum had to gently pull it out.

Alexis before
I just want to be a normal kid (Credit: Supplied)

When the seizures were really bad, I went back to hospital. But they weren’t able to give me a diagnosis.

One doctor told me the seizures must be psychological.

‘How can anybody psychologically make their eyes bleed?’ I said, outraged.

Desperate, I went to see an ophthalmologist and asked him if eyes can bleed from a psychological issue.

‘No, they can’t, only from a head trauma,’ he explained.

Before I’d hit my head, I’d never experienced a seizure before.

Surely my fall was the reason behind this all?

It’s been over six months since the bleeding and seizures began.

As well as my eyes and nose, now my mouth has started bleeding.

Despite going back and forth to the hospital, my condition remains a mystery.

It’s so frustrating.

All I want is to get better and do things like any other teenage girl.

I only passed my driving test a few months before my fall, but I haven’t been able to drive since I got sick.

And I can’t plan ahead with my mates – I just have to wait to see if I’m feeling up to doing anything on the day.

I haven’t been able to work either.

At the moment, I’m waiting for a second opinion from another doctor.

I’m just hoping that things will soon get better and I can start living my life again.

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