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A Quick Take on Michele Bachmann’s Migraines

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I have suffered from migraines since I was about seven years old.  In my case, they are extremely hereditary.  My mother has them.  Her grandmother Moore had them.  So do my sister, her three children, and a few of my cousins.  In my family they primarily effect women, but my nephew will get them, so will a male cousin.

There are stories that some people know when they are getting one.  You hear tales about auras, sparks, changes in vision, different things for different people.  About 25 years ago, I discovered in the morning, when I first woke up, I would have a touch of double vision, and a little difficulty focusing.  This, for me, was an indicator that I would have a massive migraine before the end of the day.  I also discovered I could pop 3 Advil and go back to bed, and basically sleep one off.  (I am allergic to all forms of opiate based pain medication, acetaminophen and aspirin).

During the day, if I get double vision, I know one is coming.  I grab a couple Advil and hope that is enough.  I also discovered three Advil and a margarita would knock a bad one.  So does Champagne.   With the onset of menopause, I rarely have one. 

My migraines would either come in the form of a knock-down drag-out nearly incapacitator or just miserable cluster headaches.  Mine had a tendency to be cluster headaches, that would strike everyday at the same time.  They were not bad enough to go home and knock myself out, but just enough to make me miserable.

Now, the only time I really get them is when I haven’t eaten all day. 

I have seen my mother have them so badly she would need to be knocked out with a shot.  The only reason she would not be hospitalized with them is because we had a family friend who was a physician.  Either he or his nurse wife would come to the house and administer a shot for her.  She would sleep for about 18 hours and be fine the next morning.

I have a friend who had a legendary one about 12 years or so ago.  He was in Mexico visiting friends.  He and his girlfriend had a huge fight, broke up.  By the time he reached the border in El Paso, he was having one so violently it was as though he were drunk.  He was losing his vision with it.  Fortunately several of the Border Patrol agents knew him.  One simply told him to park his Porsche.  They put him in a BP truck and drove him over to a motel.  He slept for nearly 24 hours.

My mother’s migraines began tapering off after she had a little TIA stroke.  They were reaching the point that the precursor to one was almost like a stroke.  We learned that a migraine is about the constriction of blood vessels in the brain, almost like a stroke.  After a while the brain can’t handle it and the pain begins. (That’s an over simplification of the whole process).  Once my mother went into heart failure and her pacemaker, along with blood thinners, she’s not had one in 6 years.

They are caused, quite often by a person’s inability to deal with the stress in their lives.  That is my pop culture version of Migraines 101.  Once you learn what the stress is, in your life, or what is causing them, you can deal, much easier, with them.  I know one person who stopped having them after a divorce.  Mine just about completely disappeared after I closed my business.  When my mother would feel one coming on, I would mention the stress factor.  “Deal with what ever it is.”  My suggestion was often not well received, but it worked.

Migraines should not prevent a person from being President of the United States. 

This said, when a woman is Michele Bachmann’s age, and is getting them, allegedly, on an almost weekly basis, that puts something in her life she is incapable of dealing with.

Regular migraines are either caused by some serious medical disorder or by stress.  If it is not a medical disorder, this woman has something going on in her life she cannot deal with, emotionally.  I’ve never met anyone who has migraines this seriously who did not.

Anyone who suffers from migraines the way Michele Bachmann does has my full sympathy.  It makes my head hurt, just thinking about it.  I have made no secret that I think she is the GOP version of Barack Obama, unqualified and getting a free pass from the right, the way Obama did the left.  This said, having a problem with migraines is not a disqualifier.   What it does say is this is a woman has something going on in her life that is putting such stress on her that she cannot cope any other way. 

If this is how she handles stress, it is possible she may not be capable of handling the stress of the job.  You can’t keep (allegedly) going to the hospital and basically being knocked out on a weekly basis.  It just doesn’t look good.  It makes women in politics look bad – and that has been my big complaint about her all along.

Now I do have a headache, just thinking about her!  I’d better deal with it.  I keep telling myself she cannot win the nomination, she cannot win the nomination.  There…. I feel much better!

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About SJ Reidhead

  • SandyC

    I understand that this article is primarily a political statement about Michelle Bachman’s ability to govern if she has migraines. That is not why I am posting here. I respectfully take exception to your comment quoted here:

    “My migraines would either come in the form of a knock-down drag-out nearly incapacitator or just miserable cluster headaches. Mine had a tendency to be cluster headaches, that would strike everyday at the same time. They were not bad enough to go home and knock myself out, but just enough to make me miserable.”

    I, too suffer from migraines, but I also suffer from cluster headaches. By you describing a cluster headache attack as “just miserable” leads me to believe that you have never experienced a true cluster headache. Medications such as Aleve, any nsaid, even prescription pain killers do not work on CH. Please do some research on CH. It is not caused by stress, it is a neurological disorder that experts believe is caused by an anomaly of the hypothalmus in the brain. There is no cure.

    I am not disparaging your pain, I would never do that. I am just asking you, for the benefit of your readers, to not mislead them that cluster headaches are just a miserable headache. They aren’t called the suicide headache for no reason.

    Thank you

  • Clavos

    I dunno, Doc, Mugabe could be an improvement over the incumbent.

  • Michelle Bachmann is about as suitable to be President of the United States as Robert Mugabe, but not because of this.

    The country has had numerous chief executives who’ve been able to do their jobs quite adequately while suffering from serious medical conditions (FDR is the most obvious example).

    And if Dick “No Original Parts” Cheney could more or less run the country despite having had numerous heart attacks and surgeries, then Bachmann can work around the occasional migraine.

  • I have to agree with Dave [that’s a record 2 times in a week]. After the celebrity flash is over, Minnesota’s 6th District is due to go Democrat Farm Labor (DFL) again, anyway. Maybe this hubris has an objective though, to promote the family closet business.


  • Glenn Contrarian

    There’s two non-Republican demographics who really, really want Michelle Bachmann to be the GOP nominee for president: (1) anyone who wants Obama to be reelected, and (2) comedians.

  • frank burns

    Bachmann’s fundamentalist religion, by definition, is one that does not allow you or encourage you to actually deal with essential things in your life that are causing you problems. For example, if she were married with a closeted gay, she could not divorce him. She’d have to pray, pretend it wasn’t so, hope for the best, pray more, and so on, for the rest of her life.

  • zingzing

    it was good stuff. it’s like they don’t realize how much they will be scrutinized and mocked. bachmann will become the national clown.

  • Have you seen the footage of the “barbarians” glittering her husband’s office today? I am afraid I must admit, it was hilarious.


  • zingzing

    heh. dave shoots, he scores!

    bachmann’s problems with headaches are only beginning. but they are not the biggest impediment against her being president. bachmann’s insane ideas and her past are. just look at the crazy things she’s said. no way she makes it through the primaries. and if she does, god bless the gop.

  • I hear that having a closeted gay husband who tries to “cure” other homosexuals at the cost of the taxpayer can cause one a great deal of stress.