The Prairie Doc Perspective

Mother’s headaches

By Joanie S. Holm RN, CNP

The discussion of headaches always takes me back to my childhood, as my dear mother suffered from this malady. Born in 1925, she didn’t have the advantage of modern medications to relieve her headaches, and unfortunately, was left to face them with little help from medicine.

As we were growing up, we children didn’t have much sympathy for our Mother. What we saw was her going to bed, again, with a “sick headache.” That meant retreating from family activities, taking a “knock out” medicine, and going into a dark bedroom until the headache resolved. Invariably this happened before an important event and the kids were left to do without her, as we mumbled under our breaths, “Oh great, here we go again!” Empathy was not on our radar screens.

As an adult, I inherited my mom’s headaches, albeit, I think they are of a much milder form. It wasn’t until our children were in their 20’s when they found out that I too had headaches. I felt it my responsibility during their childhood to shelter them from a headache prone Mom.

How did I manage this? I have had good treatment! Thanks to modern pharmaceuticals, I have obtained relief from headaches without having to miss out on family activities. Of course, it helped that I had a mindset that having headaches was not acceptable.

As I look back, I have to say, “Thank you Mom, for all your love and all you did… and having to do it while dealing with miserable and untimely headaches.” Forgive me, because I just didn’t understand your predicament.

And I say “thank you” to the women and men who work day after day to produce medications and other treatments to help all of us who suffer from headaches and other painful ailments. And “thanks” to the care providers who listen and provide helpful treatments. Because of your work, fewer people will have to suffer like my mom.

This week I am happy to feature a guest author for the essay. We hope you continue to enjoy the weekly essays and On Call Television. We continue to strive to bring you honest science.

Richard P Holm, MD

Dr. Rick Holm wrote this Prairie Doc Perspective for “On Call®,” a weekly program where medical professionals discuss health concerns for the general public.  “On Call®” is produced by the Healing Words Foundation in association with the South Dakota State University Journalism Department. “On Call®” airs Thursdays on South Dakota Public Broadcasting-Television at 7 p.m. Central, 6 p.m. Mountain. Visit us at 

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