One pill makes you larger
And one pill makes you small
And the ones that Mother gives you
Don’t do anything at all
— Grace Slick, Jefferson Airplane
In today’s world, we all want the quick solution, the easy fix. Just give us a pill to solve our problem. I see this a lot. People who want to be healthier, but don’t want to change. That’s why we all jump at the idea of a new diet pill. Something that will do all the work for us.
And doctors aren’t much help. How many of us EXPECT to walk out of the doctor’s office with a prescription in our hand? And doctors oblige, sometimes because we are so insistent. This is true especially when we take our children to the doctor. Your child may have the flu, but you insist on an antibiotic. It’s easier for the doctor to prescribe an antibiotic than to explain that it won’t change anything. Flu is caused by a virus, and antibiotics only work with bacteria. It’s worse than pointless to give antibiotics for the flu as this is one reason we now have so many antibiotic-resistant bacteria.
My dad was another example of someone who expected a prescription from the doctor. I was taking him to the doctor one time and he was planning where we would have lunch afterwards, while we were waiting for the prescription to be filled. Just positive that, whatever was wrong, there was a pill for that!
The problem with pills is that they either act as a placebo (as in antibiotics for flu) or treat only symptoms. And that was my experience when trying to solve my migraine issue. I was given medications that either were supposed to stop a migraine (aka abortives) or else prevent a migraine. Everyone I talked with also said I should avoid things that were migraine triggers for me. Yet they had no clue how to help me figure it out. They had a list of migraine triggers, but it was incomplete.
But everyone was so confident that they could find the right combination of drugs to prevent my migraines. I visited a headache clinic in Houston. My first visit, they put me in the hospital and gave me round-the-clock IV medications that were supposed to break the cycle of chronic daily migraines. While there, they told me that once the cycle was broken, they had a long list of combinations of medications that would help to prevent future migraines.
I left that clinic/hospital, after 5 nights, armed with the first drugs in their arsenal that were supposed to prevent future migraines. But they didn’t. I returned after a month and they gave me another concoction of drugs that were sure to do the trick. But they didn’t, either. On my third visit, they were scraping the bottom of their drug barrel. They had one drug that wasn’t available in a regular pharmacy, it had to be prepared special. It had a long list of side effects, including seizures. I had the prescription filled, but I never was quite brave enough to take it.
So, what happened to the long list of preventives they had to choose from? Good question. I don’t think their list was ever that long. Probably it helped some percentage of their patients because those patient’s triggers were in line with the migraine triggers that clinic knew about.
And that’s how it came about that I had to become the detective and solve my own migraine issue. By that time I had seen a number of neurologists. All of them with the same bag of tricks and the same list of migraine triggers. Those that even bothered talking about triggers.
What I learned from this was that pills were not the answer. And that it would take some hard work and sacrifice on my part to solve my migraine issue. But I was determined that there was an answer. And, by that time, I was willing to do whatever it took to get my life back.
Do you have a problem with migraines? What have you done to solve your migraine issues? Leave a comment below with your own story.