It was hot outside. Of course, this was July in Texas and it would be weird if it weren’t hot.
Not a cloud in the sky. I had the blinds shuttered about 3/4 closed to block out most of the intense sunlight.
It was time to invite the next patient back to my office. Marion, a long-time client, came back and sat in front of me.
“Hey, Marion! How’s it going?”
“I am fine”, she said. “It’s my niece. She’s out in the car, curled up in the back seat with the air conditioner on and a pillow over her head. She is in excruciating pain with another migraine. She threw up this morning and is in bad shape. I know how much you helped me with my migraines and I have FINALLY convinced her to give it a try.”
“Bring her in and let’s see what we can do for her.”
A pale, weak 19-year old woman wearing sunglasses to protect her eyes from the bright sunlight had to be guided into the clinic. I dimmed the lights in the treatment room and helped her on to my table. Very softly I asked Jennifer to tell me about her pain: how often, the duration, what helped and what made it worse.
With great difficulty she said she had been having migraines since she was 13. She could tell when one was coming on because she always became unusually restless and began to yawn a lot.
When the blind spots and white streaks of light began she knew she had to find a dark, quiet spot fast. Sights and sounds were like ice picks stabbing her brain and she was getting sick to her stomach.
While some of her migraines lasted only few hours many like this one continued for days. This was day three.
She was still fearful but began to relax when the first three needles proved to be painless. After placing the needles and holding her feet for a few minutes I quietly left her.
Outside the treatment room her aunt explained that once Jennifer realized that aspirin, ibuprofen, and acetaminophen did nothing to stem the pain, her niece had sought medical adivce. She had gone to at least four different clinics. They ran tests, put her on all sorts of drug regimens but nothing seemed to work. In a nut sheel she was now being told that she would have to learn how to cope with the pain.
She had only agreed to come in with her aunt because she was desperate.
Checking on her after about 10 minutes, she had her eyes half open and a dreamy look on her face. After 25 minutes I asked her how she was feeling and she said her migraine pain was gone and she was getting hungry.
I gave her some instructions and we scheduled her to return twice a week for the next two weeks and then weekly for the next two after that.
This past Monday morning her boyfriend, Evan, came in for knee pain. “She says you saved her life back in 2009,” he tells me as we get started.
I don’t know about that but hearing it is a nice way to start the day.