New research has caused some speculation into exactly what caused Mary’s blindness.
Click here to read the article in USA Today and then come back and give your thoughts.
I’ve been saying for many years that Scarlet Fever seemed very unlikely to me (and not supported by Laura’s other writing.) I believe I’ve suggested meningitis as the cause. So it’s nice to see my guess supported.
In looking up more about meningoencephalitis, it said that it can appear in relation to other diseases/conditions, such as measles. Didn’t Laura say in Pioneer Girl that the doctors at the time thought the illness stemmed from Mary never having fully recovered from the measles? It makes total sense!
Interesting research and great to get discussion flowing on what was known then versus what we know now. What I love most is that it raises the Little House profile!
Since the Homesteader published an article by a doctor who came to a different conclusion about Mary’s blindness, it would be wonderful to have her weigh in, if possible!
I love that this is headline news today. I think Laura would be happy to learn about the developments in medicine that allow people to research this. I, also, think it shows the influence the books we read as children has. We instantly think of Mary and Beth March rather than something easily treated with antibiotics.
LOVE this! I love how Laura Ingalls Wilder can still intrigue the national audience. It would be wonderful to have this pediatrician present at the next Laurapalooza. As a nurse I’ve always wanted to know more about Mary’s illness. Great stuff–and of course the research was done by a lover of Laura’s books!
Laura also said Mary had a small stroke. Is stroke is a danger of meningoencephalitis?
A symptom of meningoencephalitis can be temporary facial paralysis, which could have been mistaken for a stroke at the time.
I read somewhere that Pa had taken Mary to Minneapolis to have her Neuralgia treated. The doctors cut the nerves in one side of her face to relieve the pain of her Neuralgia & that after that surgery, Mary’s face drooped a little on one side.
The number 1 search on Yahoo today (Feb 6) is “Mary Ingalls Blindness”.
How nice that USA Today actually used the real Mary’s photograph! CNN and NBC used Melissa Sue Anderson’s picture which irked me quite a bit!
I had never heard that Pa took Mary to Chicago to see a doctor. Seems like that would have been really pricey…
In the book On the Way Home which was Laura’s diary on the trip to Mansfield, Missouri, there is a brief passage written by Rose telling about her Aunt Mary having surgery on the nerves of her face.
I’ve always wondered if the Ingalls’ lives would have turned out differently if Mary hadn’t gone blind.
February 20, 2018