Sarah and her Migraine

Nancy Harris Bonk Health Guide
  • Three weeks ago, my daughter had her first Migraine attack lasting over 72 hours. Sarah doesn't get them often, only once or twice a year. Usually, over the counter (OTC) medications such as acetaminophen or ibuprofen take care the attack fairly quickly.


    This Migraine seemed a bit different. The OTC medications were not working, and Sarah started to get a little worried. As luck would have it, it was Saturday morning when she called and filled me in on the situation. Sarah said in addition to her head pain, which was really intense, she was sensitive to light (photophobia) and sound (photophonia) and even a bit sick to her stomach. She has had a bit of nausea with her Migraines before, but not light and sound sensitivity. I decided to pick her up for the weekend from college and see what we could do to help her feel better. I tried every trick I could think of:

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    • Cold packs on her forehead and the back of her neck  - at the same time - then seperately. Then we tried the same thing with warm packs.
    • Keeping the room she was in dark and comfortable.
    • A warm shower, keeping her well hydrated, eating properly (doesn't happen too much in college) and maintaining a good sleep schedule.
    • I looked on our site to find more tips: Migraine Action Plan and Pack (MAPP) - Reduce the Impact of Migraines was very helpful.
    • When it was time to take medication, she tried taking it with caffiene.   

    Monday morning Sarah went to the college health center and saw the doctor. He immediately sent her to the ER telling her Migraine pain lasting this long was not good. AMEN!! I met Sarah in the ER, (the college provided a taxi for her!) where they were beginning to take blood and were starting an IV. She looked absolutely horrible and felt even worse. The staff treated Sarah very nicely, but there was a little " Oh no, here's mom" vibe as soon as I walked into the room. The doctor ordered pain and nausea medication and wanted to do a CT scan to make sure everything was ok. IV Dilaudid and Compazine were used in her IV,  and Sarah felt better after a few minutes. She fell asleep while her pain dropped quickly. Her CT scan was completely normal, and by the time we left her pain was zero. 


    Sarah's first Migraine/ER experience was a pleasant one. I may have been more anxious about it than she was. So many Migrainuers have had horrible ER experiences, I didn't want "my baby" to have one too. I wasn't beyond going to bat for her, but I didn't need to. She was treated with respect and dignity - like everyone should be when they go to the ER.

Published On: December 19, 2008