Leelo Update: Migraines, Sleep Study

Leelo Update: Migraines, Sleep Study

Before I rip into the latest with Leelo, I just want to remind everyone that Can I Sit With You? Live! is in Redwood City tomorrow night. Jennyalice and I are actually reading our stories this time. Please come, and bring your kids. But don't forget to make a reservation. Or introduce yourself.


Leelo and I saw Dr. M, his pediatrician this morning. Leelo wouldn't let the nurse take his axial (armpit) temperature, which means he's grumpy indeed. He did let her weigh him, though. He has hit 78 lbs which means a gain of three pounds in the last few weeks. Not good. I could hardly lift him onto the examining table, something that has never been a problem for me before.

The point of the exam was to see if he had any visible earaches or congestions/sinus/cold symptoms that might explain what seem to be intense symptoms of head pain from the past few weeks, especially the past few days.

Leelo had totally clear ears. He did not even have fluid buildup. His nose and throat were likewise clear and dry.

So, Dr. M thinks it is likely that Leelo has migraines, given his symptoms and my family history. She also said that he may be experiencing "auras" either from the migraines or the absence seizures.

Here is what she'd like us to do:

1) Try dosing him with Motrin. She emphasized the importance of giving him the correct dose, as many parents tend to underdose and that greatly reduces the drug's efficacy. She also emphasized the importance of treating migraine pain proactively rather than reactively.

2) Stop feeding him goldfish crackers. Cheese can be a migraine trigger. I will send in veggie booty and graham crackers (two things I hope he loves as much as goldfish crackers) for classroom snacks.

3) We can try putting him on Sudafed to see if that will relieve any sinus congestion she couldn't detect (but which she suspected from the way he was getting me to push on his head/sinuses while she and I were talking). We should know whether or not this is helping in three days.

4) If we like, we can also switch his seasonal allergy meds to Zyrtec. This can be used at the same time as the Sudafed. She said that Claritin is not working for a lot of people during this intense allergy season.

She was relieved to hear that we have already been talking with Dr. Cheyenne, Leo's pediatric neurologist, and that we have an EEG scheduled for June 2.


Also, I just met with a PhD student who is running a research study on autism & sleep disturbances, out of Stafnord (she did her undergrad at U.C. Davis, under one of the founders of the MIND Institute, and did her MA at Brown, including extensive work at their sleep lab). Leelo will be participating, starting this week.

This is a really incredible study. She is collecting data (from me doing extensive surveys, brief sleep diaries, setting up an IR camera recording during sleep, and training Leelo to wear a watch-like device to record electrical sleep pattens) to determine the environmental and physical causes behind any sleep disturbances. She with then identify any problematic factors we might have overlooked, and help us develop a sleep routine, including a picture schedule and a personalized bedtime story book.

The study takes approximately ten weeks, comprising one eight-day period of recording Leelo's sleep patterns, a period of family discussion/sleep training/new routine, and then another eight-day recording period to see if her modifications have been helpful.

She has room for a handful of additional lab rats; if anyone is interested contact me immediately as her window closes soon.

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