Migraine by
(304 Stories)

Prompted By Pain

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I must have been 11 or 12 the first time it hit me. I was sitting in the back seat with my friend Paula as her father drove us to a friend’s birthday party when I suddenly had a horrible nauseous headache.  I don’t remember what happened after that but I assume Paula’s dad took me home.

That was my first migraine attack which I later learned is often tied to hormonal changes.  Thus mine began with puberty,  and periodically for decades I suffered those debilitating nauseous headaches when it felt as if a tight rubber band was pressing on my temples.  And altho I don’t remember broadcasting my ills,  among friends it seems my headaches were legendary.  (See Carving Mr Pumpkin)

Today there are many migraine medicines on the market,   but back then there was no sure fire treatment,  so I’d lie in a darkened bedroom,  a cold compress on my forehead,  and wait to throw up – the one thing that eventually brought relief.

Once I was so sick at work my husband had to come and get me,  and once I was so distraught he brought me to a hospital emergency room.

I did consult a neurologist who questioned how often I suffered,  and for how long.  When I told her it happened 3 or 4 times a year with the attacks lasting an hour or so until I felt sick enough to throw up,  she said I should thank my lucky stars I wasn’t suffering monthly as some women do.   And she advised I try Ipecac,  an over-the-counter syrup that hastens antiperistalsis – in other words makes you throw up.   And so I always kept a bottle on hand –  until people with eating disorders began to abuse it to empty their stomachs,  and then Ipecac became a prescription med.

One day at work the subject of migraine came up over lunch.  My colleague Alex said his wife Beth suffered migraines monthly,  and often so badly he’d have to take her to the emergency room for relief.   Once,  he told us,  as Beth lay moaning on a hospital gurney,  a doctor told them that migraine  headaches can be alleviated by sexual intercourse.

Alex leaned over the gurney.  “Did you hear that?”  he asked his wife.  “Do you wanna try?”

Beth looked up at her husband.  “Fuhgeddaboudit.”   she said thru clenched teeth.


The neurologist had advised me that dark chocolate and red wine can be migraine triggers,  and so for years I abstained from both.   But thankfully since the hormonal changes that came with menopause my migraines have ceased.

And so now I eat the chocolate,  and I drink the wine,  but first I raise my glass to everyone’s good health!

– Dana Susan Lehrman

Profile photo of Dana Susan Lehrman Dana Susan Lehrman
This retired librarian loves big city bustle and cozy country weekends, friends and family, good books and theatre, movies and jazz, travel, tennis, Yankee baseball, and writing about life as she sees it on her blog World Thru Brown Eyes!

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Tags: Pain, Migraine, Headaches

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