Self · Uncategorized

Some Things to Know About Migraines

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Migraines are a chronic condition that can last for years or for a lifetime.  Triggers can include: hormones, foods, drinks, stress and exercise. Other causes include environmental factors such as weather and a genetic predisposition.  Symptoms include throbbing in one area that can vary in intensity, nausea and sensitivity to light, sound and smell. Migraines are common in families and women.

Over 15% of the world’s population suffers from migraines.  The earliest mention of migraines in writing is in the Ebers papyrus in 1500 BCE.

There are four phases of migraines. Phase 1, called Prodromephase.  It is marked by mood changes, irritability, depression, fatigue, cravings, stiff muscles, constipation and/or diarrhea, and sensitivity to light and smell.

Phase 2 is called the Aura. It is where you can experience vision disturbance, pins and needles feelings, numbness, speech and language issues, the world spins, and weakness.

Phase 3 is the Pain Phase. It can last as long as 4-72 hours of pain for adults. You can have several migraines in a lifetime or several in a single week. Neck pain is common. Also during this time you can experience nausea (90% of suffers), vomiting (a third of people), sensitivity to a variety of things, irritability, fatigue, sweating, confusion, light head, and the world can spin.

Phase 4 is called Postdrome. The final phase, often in conjunction with menstruation, involves fatigue, muscle soreness, hunger, and stress.

According to the International Headache Society there are seven subcategories.

Category One, Migraine without aura.  It is the most common form of migraine.

Category Two is a migraine with aura.

Category three is Childhood Periodic Syndromes which includes vertigo, abdominal migraine, cyclical vomiting.

Four is Retinal Migraine has a hallmark of visual disturbances.

Category five is complications of migraine, including long or frequent migraines and can be associated with seizure or a brain lesion.

Category 6 is Probable migraine which has the characteristics of migraine but not enough to diagnose, common medication overuse.

Seven is Chronic Migraine.  Chronic Migraine is greater than 15+ days month for more than three months. Chronic migraines effect 1.5-2.2% of the population.

How do you prevent migraines?  It’s hard. A variety of things help to improve migraines such as medication, nutrition, lifestyle alterations, and surgery. It is best to check with your doctor to find out what approach is best for you.

 

Information taken from: Web MD, International Headache Society, and Wikipedia.

 

 

 

Family · Uncategorized

What’s going on, in May. Part 4.

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What is going on now.  Things are still stressful. I’m still physically and mentally exhausted. Honestly, I am so angry over the last two months.  I am really angry at the mental health clinic that has been treating my son in one form or another.  Where to start?

If you remember from my last update, we were trying to get E tutoring from the school district. We were able to secure tutoring for E after school. A teacher would come after school for an hour each day.   Fortunately, my son really liked his tutor.  They covered several pages in his math book.

As I also said in the last update post E was on the waiting list for the PHP he last attended.  While we were waiting I was able to get E twice weekly therapist appointments. We also started him on his third medication.  We are seeing a slight improvement in him.  I fear that his dose is too low.  Unfortunately, with children you cannot increase as fast as in adults.  It’s an extremely long road. I’m still exhausted and depressed myself.

After having the tutor over to our home for one week when I get a phone call.  It is the PHP (partial hospitalization program).  They have a spot for E.  He can start the following week.  Ugh.  Of course, when I got the tutor up and going he would get into the PHP.  I am hoping that he can get some coping skills this time. I am hoping he will talk about hurting himself less.

For the first couple of days back at PHP E is sad.  His friend Johnny would not be there and he missed her.  I can’t lose any more friends he would cry to me.  E has lost a large number of friends in his short life.  All of them have moved away.  I count about 6 or 7 friends  who moved.  E is very, painfully shy.  While he makes friends easily he also feels their loss deeply. My son is a nerd, polite, shy, self conscious, friendly and helpful.  Many kids have said so.  Even though in PHP there are different rules than outside.  You can’t be in contact with people from the group.  I’m sure it had to due with confidentiality and safety.  How do you explain that to an 11 year old?  I tried to tell him it was not about him or his friends.  This was the rules for everyone.  Even with that it caused him so much pain.

This time round he made another friend named S. S likes video games and anime like E does. She has also got him into drawing.  I have tried for years to get my son to do artistic things. It’s not his thing.  Until now.  I’m glad he loves drawing like I do. I know he missed S.  They are very much alike.  I’m sad that he has to deal with another loss.

In about four days after he started back at PHP I get a phone call from his social worker. “We think E is doing great.”  “He is not acting like he did before he went into lockdown. We think we may discharge him” she said.  Huh?  He hasn’t even been there a week.  He has anxiety through the roof, crying fits and talks about hurting himself.  To that they said “He isn’t doing that here.”  All I could think is of course he isn’t. He doesn’t want to go back to lockdown.  It’s one of his major fears.  He is terrified of being taken away from us again.

Here’s the kicker.  Our insurance doesn’t want him discharged!  Never had an insurance company want a person to have more treatment. The staff at the PHP is thinking that he should go to a special academy or day treatment program.  They told us to start investigating them.  We have no idea how to start. We do know of one academy. However, it’s over $30,000 a year.  Kiss retirement and college goodbye.  I also don’t think that pulling him out of school for a year to attend school at a day treatment program or special academy is the answer.  If anything it would cause him more harm. He could also lose many of his friends.

To be continued…

 

Home

Medicine Cabinet Basics

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What do people keep in their medicine cabinets?  It’s an interesting thought.  Have you ever looked inside someone’s cabinet while at a party?  I haven’t, but I always imagine people do that sort of thing. There was a time when medicine cabinets were standard in bathrooms.  While keeping medicine in these cabinets has gone by the wayside, the concept of medicine cabinets have not.  I have more of a medicine closet, well a shelf really.  Okay, two baskets on the shelf. We all keep medicine around in case we need it.  Have you ever wondered what you should have on hand?  Check the list below and see what you need to stock up on.

1. Thermometer- Definitely every medicine cabinet should have a thermometer. Small infants may require a different thermometer.  Consult your physician on which one to use.

2. Tweezers.  Great for picking out splinters, glass, and ticks.  This one small item gets a lot of use!

3. Benadryl- A staple, especially if I think I’ve come into contact with something I’m slightly allergic to.

4. Nail Clipper. Nothing is more annoying or more frustrating than a ragged nail or cuticle.

5. Anti-histamine Cream-  Works great if your skin comes into contact with something itchy.  I’ve used this on my son lots.

6. Bandages- Well, duh?!

7. Gauze- See above.

8. Medical tape- How else will you keep the gauze in place?

9. Antibiotic Ointment- Keep those germs at bay!!

10. Eye drops. For dry or irritated eyes.

11. Heartburn medication. Tums, Rolaids etc.

12. Anti-diarrhea medication.

13. Pain/Fever medicine. Ibuprofen and Acetaminophen.

14. Decongestant.

15. Cough medicine. Nothing is worse than having a coughing fit at 1 a.m..

 

Family

My Sensory Son.

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Sensory disorder.  It’s seems like a new thing right?  Twenty years ago we never heard much about it.  While it’s always been there, sensory processing disorder isn’t new.  Sensory Integration disorder was first defined by Occupational Therapist Anna Jean Ayres in 1972. Unfortunately, at this time the medical literature does not recognize as a medical or psychological concern.

Sensory Processing Disorder also known as Sensory Integration Disorder is broken down into three categories: Sensory Modulation, Sensory Based Motor Disorder, and Sensory Discrimination Disorder.  Sensory Integration Disorder means that the brain does not have the ability to respond to the stimuli of the environmental in an accurate way.  It can manifest by over responding to stimuli, under responding to stimuli or crave stimuli.

The first group of Categories under the Sensory Processing umbrella is Sensory Modulation.  Sensory modulation has three subcategories.  These sub categories include over responding, under responding, and craving responses. By over responding to stimuli people can startle easy, be picky eaters, have issues with clothing, personal care issues, moodiness, frustrated easily, meltdowns are out of proportion, can be overwhelmed by noisy or busy situation.  They have a strong fight or flight response and will avoid uncomfortable situations.

My own son “E” meets the over response. He startles easy. He has ever since he was a baby.  Loud noises scare him. He is an exceptionally picky eater.  He refuses to eat fruits or veggies based on texture or how they feel in his mouth.  His list of foods he will eat gets smaller each year.  It’s frustrating for me.  He will only wear cotton t-shirts and silky basketball pants.  In a pinch I can get him to wear sweats.  Regular clothing with tags or jeans with pockets feel awful to him. He prefers to wear hoodies and fleece to regular winter wear.  So often he is cold. For his bedding he has to sleep on a velour blanket instead of the cotton sheets.  Then he prefers fuzzy pillows and a large comforter.  He did not like a weighted blanket at all.  Tactile is everything. Personal care is an issues as he does not like to comb his hair as it is painful for him.  He has recently become frustrated as well, and is showing signs of anxiety and depression. He is trying to avoid numerous of situations to keep himself calm.  It creates huge issues for all of us.  The stress is unavoidable.

For those who suffer from under responsive reaction to stimuli it can manifest itself as quiet and passive.  They lack the ability to detect and respond to correct stimuli.  Symptoms include unfocused, overweight, craves spicy or salty foods, a high pain tolerance, low muscle tone, poor fine motor skills and clumsy.

Now my son has a few of these traits.  He is unfocused.  However, I think this has more to do with his ADHD.  He also has poor muscle tone, poor fine motor skills and is clumsy.  That being said.  I do not believe he is under responsive based on his reactions over the years.

The final sub-category is sensory seeking. Those who are sensory seeking display an strong desire for sensory input. They will crave sweets, crash into things like walls for the sensation, run, skip or jump everywhere, cannot sit still, has to touch everything and cannot identify where their space ends and yours begins. Often their reactions are at opposite ends of the spectrum from what is considered normal.

For my own child he loves sweats!  I think this is normal for every kid and I don’t see an over the top response. He does like to crash into walls and run, jump and skip everywhere.  When I ask him why, he says he needs to get his energy out.  Can a child have more than one subcategory?  I am not an Occupational Therapist or expert but I don’t see why not.

Sounds like a lot of other disorders doesn’t it? Sensory Processing Disorder can coexist and/or mask many other types of issues such as ADHD, Anxiety,  and more.  Each sensory system can have a disorder in it.  The systems are: visual, auditory, tactile, smell, taste,vestibular, proprioception, and interoception. Vestibular means relating to or affecting the perception of body position and movement. Proprioception means the reception of stimuli produced within an organism. Interoception means relating to or being stimuli arising within the body and especially in the viscera (internal organs).

Each sub-type has different symptoms, and severity based on the individual.  Therefore individual assessment is needed. Treatment is also individually based depending on symptoms and severity.

In the next post we will look at Sensory Based Motor Disorder.

Please note: I am not a professional.  I am just a mom.  I am not a substitute for a medical professional. If you have any questions or concerns about your own health or that of someone you love, please see a medical professional.  This information is for entertainment uses only and not a substitution for a doctor.

Sources: Merriam-Webster Dictionary, Star Institute http://www.spdstar.org, http://www.sensationalbrain.com, and WebMD.

 

Home

Basic Toiletries For Your Emergency Kit.

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1. Feminine Hygiene Products. Include enough for a few months.  These products can be used for so many different things other than what their original purpose is.

2. Teeth Care. Be basic. Toothpaste and floss.

3. Brush. These can be small and compact.

4. Soap. A multipurpose and anti-bacterial bar would be great.

5. Shampoo. In a pinch you really don’t need conditioner. Keep clutter down.

6. Sunscreen. Depending on your clothing and hats, you may need sunscreen. A burn is a horrible thing to have when everything is normal.  During an evacuation? Yikes.

7. Chapstick. I would also say Vaseline.  Both will keep lips soft, and Vaseline can be used on the skin.

8. Bug Spray. There is no where in the world that doesn’t have bugs except for the poles.  I don’t think many of us are going to hang out there.  Bug Spray could be the single most important item besides toilet paper.

9. Toilet Paper. No explanation needed.  Remember to remove the cardboard tube.  That way is packs flat.

10. Nail Clippers.

11. Wipes. I say use baby wipes.  Everyone can use them for personal cleanliness.

12. Medication. How many people forget their meds on a trip? During a natural disaster it can be even worse.  What if you can’t reach your doctor?  How can you get them refilled?  Also, over the counter products like Advil or Imodium may be lifesavers.  When the power is out, you can’t go to the Pharmacy.

13. Glasses.

 

What would you put in as a must have for a basic toiletries kit? Have you had any experiences in travel or evacuation where you wished you had something?  Let us know in the comments!

Family · Self

The Last Part… To Be Continued Pt. 3

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When my phone rang on a very windy, snowy weekday I expected to hear my son on the other end crying or begging me to come.  It wasn’t.  It was one of the therapists telling me they were going to discharge my son from the program. What?  It was only five days! We removed him from another program track to get him into this one. I have no place to put him.  So my husband drove the hour to go pick him up in a winter snow storm.  Two hours later my son was home.

They told us he did not have an eating disorder.  We couldn’t believe it. All the previous therapists told us how sick he was.  This facility said that although his BMI is less than 15, his weight is in the 50th percentile.  So he doesn’t qualify for weight restoration.  In addition, they said they were doing more harm to him than good.  His anxiety and depression ramped up lot.  He was still talking about suicide. They felt he would only be more damaged if they continued.  So he is now home, not in school.  I have been rushing to try and find a new place for him.  He really hasn’t had enough therapy to make much of an impact. I feel like we wasted more than a month for nothing.  It didn’t help him one bit.  So frustrating!

I immediately got him on the wait list for the last PHP (Partial Hospitalization Program) he was in.  There are over 20+ children a head of him.  He may not get in till summer.  In the meantime, he is not in school.  So I have him seeing his regular therapist twice a week and his psychiatrist every month.  We are also once again changing his medication.  As of tomorrow,  he will be on his third med so far.  I hope this one works. We are a bit desperate for something to work.

I have also contacted his school district about enrolling him in his school. We are trying to get him home bound instruction now.  It’s where a tutor will come to the house to help him catch up. He is behind since January.  I hope we can get him caught up.  Fortunately, he is very intelligent.  The classes that matter are Math, English, and Science.  So those we will be working on.  Getting home bound, they told me takes time.  I just want to pull my hair out.

I will be meeting with some teachers and advisors from his school to discuss his IEP on Tuesday.  I will have to see where we are then. I also need to get tutors for the summer.  I also need to make sure our therapy is the best it can be. So much to do with no clear direction to relief.

 

Family

To Be Continued, Part 2

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When we drove our son up to the inpatient hospital he was okay.  I don’t think he could comprehend what was about to happen. Upon arrival, they informed us that they were running behind schedule.  This would turn out to be a huge problem.  Our son would get so overwhelmed that he would have major meltdowns.  We were there for over 5 hours.  During that time, my son cried, dry heaved, screamed, grabbed me and begged me not to leave him. He kept crying saying “Mom, don’t leave me, I can’t do this without you. I need you.”  It killed me.  It was so painful.  I felt absolutely horrible.  I just didn’t know what to do.  I pride myself on always knowing what to do.

I went to visit my son everyday.  My heart went out to the other children on the ward.  I would go days without seeing another visitor name in the sign in logs for the children.  I realize other families have responsibilities and children.  I just thought I would see more visitors.  Every time I went, “E” would beg me to take him home.  He had great difficulty participating in the groups they did.  Each day before I came “E” would call me crying asking me when I was coming up.

Finally after ten days he was released.  From what I understand people are released when their insurance runs out.  We questioned them, (the doctors) about this once they told us that insurance was not going to pay.  They assured us he was fine. I didn’t quite believe them. However, I saw no indication my son was improving, so we decided to take him home.

The doctors advised us that “E” has an eating disorder. I have for years tried to get my son to alter his eating habits.  He doesn’t eat fruits or veggies.  He has sensory processing disorder. Food and dress are his biggest areas of problems.  If you try to force him to eat he will vomit or gag the food.  He will also just not eat at all. If his food has spices he cannot eat them, the spices must be taken off. His food cannot touch, he needs separate plates and utensils.  I had tried for years to get his food issues fixed to no avail.  So when they said he had an eating disorder I thought, ” finally”! They then sprung on us a new inpatient program.

They said that he would have to go to a three week in patient eating disorder clinic.  I resisted a bit saying I thought it would be outpatient.  My son is only 11, how is he going to handle three weeks?  The doctors told me he was very sick.  They said his BMI had him ranked as malnourished.  I guess anything under 15 qualifies for that. So within a few days I drove him to the new facility.

The intake was so long, my son cried and screamed and begged not to stay.  While this was a much nicer place than the lock down facility, it still wasn’t home. In addition, all the kids there were so much older than my son.  He’s 11.  The next youngest was 14.  His roommate was 17.  It was another day of mental, physical, and emotional exhaustion. While leaving him at this facility was slightly better than the lock down facility it is a lot for a young child to deal with.

Unfortunately, the next day I came down with an illness and could not go to visit him.  He would call me daily in tears and crying begging me to come visit him.  I really wanted to.  The illness I had would be detrimental to kids in an eating disorder clinic.  I couldn’t risk passing this along to others. Then six days later I get a phone call…..