The Gift of Modern Medicine

There is a normal routine I follow each and every day.  It was interrupted briefly, yesterday, by my own, “Chronic Condition.”

In the still shadows of early morning, I awoke with the faintest sign of a migraine headache.  I’ve had enough of them to know by now that one was stalking me.  Not quite there…  Still, it was slowly creeping very near.  Rolling from bed, I went to splash warm water upon my face.  Staring back from a glazed mirror above the toasted, speckled sink were swollen eyes: a second sign.

Growing up, I remember my mother having, “sinus headaches.”  She rarely let them interrupt her necessary responsibilities. Instead, she suffered terribly.  After working all day, she cooked bubbling pots on top of an avocado stove while chasing a toddler or two.  Occasionally, she took to her bed.

I began having what I thought were my own, “sinus headaches,” during my twenties.  It’s the, “natural order of things,” I remember thinking then. I endured miserably for years with pounding inside my brain, pressure behind my eyes, and pain at the back of my neck.  Any tiny twinkle of light blinded me.

As I grew older my headaches walked within me, becoming progressively worse.  Quality of life became an issue.  Important moments suddenly passed me by.  Family holidays and other celebrations went on without me while I hunkered down within a darkened room. The quiet whisper of a ceiling fan sounded like the blaring buzz of an electric chain saw to my throbbing head.  Soon, the room was silenced in order not to make me cry.

After being treated for unimaginable pain in an emergency room, I finally saw a specialist who diagnosed me with migraines.  I learned they could be hereditary.  Did my mother ever have a “sinus headache?”  Probably not.  My doctor told me it was quite common for people to confuse the two types of headaches.  They can have similar symptoms.  Ironically, I haven’t had a sinus headache since I began treatment for migraines over two years ago.

Approximately 2-3 million Americans live with “Chronic” migraines like I do, meaning several times or more per month. Thanks to modern medicine, they rarely, if ever interrupt my life.  I have medication to lessen the number of attacks, and another to take “as needed” when I feel a migraine coming on, like yesterday.

A tall glass of water to wash down a pill.  A simple thing really.  Generally, my life goes on as I wish.  Working and playing and doing everything I hope to do in this great big world that I’ve been gifted with.


10 thoughts on “The Gift of Modern Medicine

  1. That sounds pretty familiar. I had migraines probably about once per week or so growing up; it runs in my mother’s side of the family. Migraines would force me to shut down with time… I would tend to withdraw and become increasingly unable to do tasks. If I were working, then it would be a nightmare, and I would occasionally vomit when I would get home. The best course of action was going to bed. Later, I found from my uncles all I had to do was take excedrin. Nothing else that I had tried up to that point had ever worked. Thank God for excedrin- it has knocked out the vast majority of my migraines and has allowed me to function normally when I otherwise clearly would not.


    • Pete, I empathize with you. Nothing worse than having your throbbing head in the toilet while vomiting,,,,,No other way to say it! I tried every OTC medicine available before going to ER for an injection (twice). That was the last straw for me. I’m glad you found something that works for you. Thank God!


  2. Sounds horrible. You, your mom & each one who is suffering from migraine is a tough human. But that’s what life is and we have to move forward. Truly inspiring!


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