Migraine Through a Child’s Eyes
Seeing migraine through a child’s eyes is one of the most heartbreaking things I’ve ever witnessed.
A little background
My two year-old granddaughter is accustomed to seeing me in the middle of both migraine and cluster attacks. She has seen me endure some of the most horrific pain and remained quite calm. Of course she expressed concern and sympathy, but there have always been several trusted adults to reassure her that Grandma will be okay. She knows that Grandma has “owies” and that ice packs and medicine fix the problem. All that experience wasn’t enough tonight. My daughter had been fighting a migraine attack all day at work. She arrived home exhausted and ready for stronger meds and an ice pack. Baby Girl did not take it well.
She has never witnessed her Mommy during an attack.
She did not want to leave Mommy’s side for even a second and insisted on wearing an ice pack in solidarity. We tried for over an hour to convince her that Mommy would be okay, needed her rest, and that Grandma or Grandpa would be putting her to bed tonight. Each attempt was met with fearful screams. We all knew that Mommy wasn’t in any shape for a bedtime routine. Besides, Mommy really needed to rest without a two year-old climbing all over her. We tried quietly to convince Baby Girl without creating more panic or triggering screams that would make the situation so much worse.
After some snuggle time with Mommy and a bribe of chocolate granola bars for breakfast, she reluctantly agreed to let me take her to bed. Moments later, she changed her mind while I was carrying her into her room. The frantic screams resumed in earnest. Fortunately, within minutes she was relaxed and calm. We rocked, snuggled, and piled the bed high with every soft toy she could find. Her musical “fish tank”, nightlight and a stuffed musical elephant were all going strong, too. We talked about “owies” and ice packs and medicine until she felt safe to lie down and close her eyes. Thankfully, she is now peacefully sleeping and Mommy is well on her way to recovery.
Tomorrow morning she will be greeted by a migraine-free mommy.
Mommy’s attacks are much less frequent and less severe than Grandma’s. Hopefully that means we will not have a repeat for quite some time. Seeing Mommy alert and pain-free will reinforce tonight’s promises that Mommy will be okay. Her mother was about the same age when migraine first hit. We all pray that our sweet Baby Girl never has to learn what that “owie” actually feels like.
It was still gut-wrenching to watch such a small child worry and panic over her mother’s welfare. She dosen’t yet have the vocabulary to explain it, but she understands the impact of migraine all too well. Tonight reminded me that this is what my own children must have experienced when others cared for them during one of my bad attacks. My own mother never had migraine, but my daddy did. I distinctly remember feeling very unsafe as long as he was down with an attack. There was a great sense of relief when he finally emerged from his dark bedroom.