Well, That Was Scary!

Last week my 14 year old complained of a headache in the morning, so I let him stay home from school. He later called me at work and told me that in addition to throwing up, he couldn’t see well from his right eye, and his fingers on his right hand were numb. When he started 7th grade last year he was sick a lot more than usual, and he had frequent headaches and stomach upsets. I remember thinking that he seemed to be getting a lot of weird stomach viruses, because after resting for an hour or two he would just bounce back to his normal self, including being able to eat whatever he wanted, and he never had a fever. But he never had these weird symptoms before.

Needless to say I came home immediately and took him to the doctor. She did a few minor tests with him, and asked if we had a history of migraines in the family (we don’t). She then said that given his symptoms and age, she thought that it was migraines, and she gave us a referral to a neurologist, which she wanted us to see within two weeks. She also said that if the symptoms recurred within 24 hours to go to the emergency room.

I tried every which way to get an appointment with the neurologist, but the earliest I could get was for June 7 (six week wait). Two days ago my son woke up and told me he had the same symptoms again. The rational part of me said “migraine – don’t panic” but the emotional part of me said “emergency room”. I really wanted a neurologist to see him and rule out something scary – the sooner the better. Westbankpapa took him and spent the whole day at Schneider Children’s Hospital (if you ever need to take your kid to the hospital, this is the one. Great medical care and facilities designed with children – and teenagers – in mind).

The bottom line was that their doctors also think that it is migraines, but they have recommended a series of tests to rule out some things. I of course hit both the internet and the phone lines, gathering all of the information I could on migraines. It turns out that his symptoms are not so weird after all, and from what a friend told me, the doctor’s don’t have a definite diagnosis for migraines – they first rule out a bunch of other things and are left with that.

Any advice would be appreciated. Thank G-d my son is taking everything in stride (“Ima, try to schedule the tests DURING school hours, ok?”) and he is able to deal with the pain with just Acamol (for now). But I’d love to find a really good doctor who can guide us in the future, if need be.

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9 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. rutimizrachi
    May 06, 2010 @ 14:34:03

    From Ruti’s Rules: “Kids’ main job is to terrify us from before they’re born until we die. Everything else is commentary.”

    My 15-year-old has also been suffering from migraines. These started after a full afternoon in the hot sun, bouncing endlessly on a trampoline, with very little water. (Would “duh!” fit here somewhere?) Since then, he has been given Ibuprofen and something for nausea to have on hand when the symptoms show up — and we insist on hydration and reasonable attention to time in the sun. His episodes do seem to be tied to overexertion. So with this regimen, he seems to suffer the headaches less frequently.

    I don’t know the answer — but you have our empathy, and our prayers.

  2. Susan
    May 06, 2010 @ 15:29:36

    Best wishes to you and your family as you go through this scary time.

  3. keren
    May 06, 2010 @ 17:26:00

    This sounds very scary, but good you are dealing with it.

    What kupat holim are you?

    I was recomended to a doctor called Rahel hering in Kfar saba, she receive in Maccabi, but possibly other kupot too.
    I did not go to her, but a doctor recomened her to me

  4. westbankmama
    May 08, 2010 @ 17:54:13

    Ruti – Your rule sounds pretty sound to me! As a matter of fact, I have noticed that my son’s headaches do occur the morning after a hectic/overactive day. (How about making the school bus at 6:50 am and coming home at 5:00 pm, playing two hours straight in the sun (this time it was soccer) – then staying up until 10:30 collecting wood for the bonfires…I am not sure how successful we will be in making him relax a bit more.

    Susan – thanks for the good wishes

    Keren – We are on Leumit

  5. neshama
    May 09, 2010 @ 15:59:48

    I have experienced headaches/migraines from food allergies, dehydration, and muscle strain.
    Food allergies are more common than most people think. The body is a mini-chemical factory, and not all foods (with mfg’d chemicals, whether coloring, shelf-life extension, or added caffeine) are good for everyone. Keep a food diary for a while to see what was digested the day before and same day as the headache occurs; you may discover one item that always appears prior to the migraine. Especially the carbonated or colored beverages so popular.
    A good massage will locate and treat a spasm-causing headache.
    I hope this information is helpful.

  6. aliyah06
    May 10, 2010 @ 14:56:58

    The VERY BEST pediatric neurologist is Dr, Itai Berger at Hadassah Har haTsofim. Josh “graduated” to adult neurology, but in the past if I just called the switchboard and asked for him by name, I got switched over to his cell or phone immediately. Very nice guy–and the best in Israel. Call him. Make an appointment. He wasn’t in our kupah, but twice a year at 170 NIS was priceless for peace of mind.

  7. westbankmama
    May 11, 2010 @ 08:07:59

    neshama – I have heard that specific foods can sometimes bring on migraines. My son eats pretty well (he loves fruits and vegetables, and we don’t have carbonated beverages in the house at all), but I will keep an eye on what he eats to see if there is a connection.

    Aliyah06 – I will keep this name on hand. Right now we have scheduled his tests and an appointment with the neurologist on our kupah (and much closer to home than Jerusalem), but if we need to go further I will definitely give him a try.

  8. chana
    May 11, 2010 @ 19:57:09

    I have had migraines since 1974 when the first one hit me with severe vertigo.Then the eye sight went with crazy zig zag pattern splotches in my vision and I could not make out parts of words. That clears up then the pain can hit and extremities can go numb, you can feel uncooridinated, etc.
    As I have gotten older they have lessened in frequency and strength, but over years I found that aged cheese, grapes, wine and chocolate all very huge triggers in causing them.
    Glinting light off glass or metal can bring one one as can extreme colors like neon orange or red or strobing light.
    I found that coca cola iced cold with lots of ice cubes helped to sooth the symptoms and only found out later that it was invented by a druggist especially for migraine.
    The combination of caffeine and other ingredients and the ice cold seem to help both nausea and the aching head.
    I offer this in hopes that it might help somehow.
    All the best,

  9. westbankmama
    May 13, 2010 @ 14:47:46

    Chana – thanks for your advice. I am sure my son would love it if I gave him ice cold coca cola – but we usually don’t have it in the house!!

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