July 26, 2009

Brutal but Effective



We were living in Chicago while I was doing my graduate work and I blame my occasional migraines on my tendency to internalize stress. I’d get several migraines per month and each one would kill a whole day’s productivity. That was way beyond tolerable levels when papers and class work were constantly piling up.

Every day after class and work, my husband and I would go jogging along Lake Michigan and then we’d jump in the lake for a refreshing swim reward (carefully dodging the dogs leaping into the lake in pursuit of freshly-tossed tennis balls). One afternoon, after a particularly grueling migraine jog, we were astonished to discover that the reward swim in the lake scared my headache away completely. Just like that. One dunk in the frigid waters of Lake Michigan was all it took. Eureka!

The next chapter is about how my husband discovered that making me dunk my head into a kitchen sink filled up to the top with water chilled in a bag of ice has the same effect on a migraine as a dip in Lake Michigan. (Not sure if I resent him more or love him more for discovering this.) I have to bend over upside down (out of the question with a migraine, of course!) and hold my head submerged to cover my entire scalp for a count of ten seconds. Then I stand back up again and cry while he wraps a big towel around my head and hugs me. I do it three more times, (crying and getting hugs each time), and then I’m done. No more migraine.

Just throwing it out there, do with it what you may.