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Column

Gotta love genetics

It’s odd the things we pass on to our kids.

All three of mine get their long, beautiful fingers from their dad. Their blue eyes come from me. The boys have my nose while Avery’s is very similar to her dad’s. The boys have a complexion similar to mine, whereas my daughter seems to have inherited hers from Mick.

Josh, my oldest, has a temper not totally unlike his father’s. Avery is ferociously protective, as am I, and Carson seems to have an unlimited amount of patience — I’m not sure where that comes from.

The one thing all three inherited from me is migraines. Of all the things I’ve passed on to them, I’m most apologetic for sharing the crippling headaches with the kids.

It’s a curse shared with me from several prior generations. I can’t remember a time when I didn’t get migraines, although as I’ve gotten older, the frequency of them has decreased. What used to be a two- or three-times-a-week occurrence now happens only every couple of months. I still get plenty of headaches, but those are easy-peasy to cope with for a migraine sufferer.

Since I was young, I have had “rituals” I follow to try to ease my suffering or that of my kids.

With my migraines, I don’t want to be anywhere near noise or light. The more solitude I can have, the better. It’s a matter of trying to relax and keep calm when all I really want to do is cry from the pain — and that only make matters worse.

My extremities, i.e. my hands and feet, get cold when I have a migraine. My solution has always been to soak in a hot bath, so that’s become the first thing any of us do when we have migraines.

I used to keep a cool cloth on my brow but have since acquired a “Headache Hat” to wear while soaking in my hot bath. It’s another one of those nifty items I purchased from Amazon. It’s filled with tiny ice packs and can be wrapped around your head and is secured with Velcro. I’m surprised how much I use it ... not just for headaches, but it’s kind of nice on those hot summer nights when the A/C just doesn’t do the job.

When the kids were young, I’d burned some calming music onto a CD we would always play very quietly while trying to conquer the beastly headaches. In my house, it was known as the “migraine music.”

These specific headaches are bad enough on their own, but to make it worse is having one when you’re not in your own home. I vividly remember throwing up near the giraffe enclosure at the Omaha Zoo when we took the kids there for Carson’s first birthday, and I was overtaken by a migraine. Or at the intersection of Highways 6 and 14 one day waiting for a parade of tractors make its way around the corner. Or a campground at Lake of the Ozarks, leaving Mick to entertain the kids for a few days when they were very young. You just don’t forget that kind of pain.

As the kids grew up and moved out on their own, they’ve often called me when their migraines begin to get the better of them. Avery has even found herself going to the emergency room on several occasions with severe pain and dehydration. I can’t fix them, but I can certainly use my “mom voice” and try help calm them.

So anyway ...

I was going through music on my phone the other day while Mick, Carson and I were traveling in the car. I happen to play just a few measures of a particular tune and Carson said, with some bewilderment in his voice, “Hey, it’s the migraine music!”

Contact Dana King at
dking@shawmedia.com

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