I have had so many things happen in my life that sometimes, I just shake my head in disbelief because you can’t make this $h!t up (YCMTSU)! One story that stands out for me happened when I was somewhere around 12-years-old. Up until I was 30, I struggled with migraine headaches to the point where it was debilitating. When I was younger, my mom tried just about everything she could to help me. She also dealt with migraines, so she knew the pain I was in. Being a mom now, I look back and can understand that she was desperate to try anything to help her daughter. I would do the same for any of my children! I don’t remember many of the solutions she attempted, however, there is one that stands out above the rest.
For as long as I could remember, migraines were a part of my life. When they came, they would hit hard and I would lie in my room with the curtains drawn, covers over my head, and throbbing pain surging through what seemed like my entire brain. I couldn’t think at all and would just lay in bed for hours pumped up with Excedrin. Everyone knew that if myself or my mom had a migraine, no one was to talk to us, open our bedroom door, or turn a single light on. So, it was a displeasing moment when, in the midst of an excruciating migraine episode, my door creaked open. Light flooded into my room and pierced my brain with swords of pain. I moaned in agony begging whomever it was to shut the door. Then I heard my mom’s voice announcing it was her and I was even more confused because she, of all people, knew not to disturb me. But there she was, standing in my doorway holding a bowl in her hands.
She sat down on my bed and said that she read an article about how to get rid of migraines and wanted to try it on me. I remember being so lost in the pain that I hadn’t comprehended what she had said but nodded my head ‘yes’ anyway, just to get the talking to stop. To my surprise, she pulled out a bandana and tied it around my head, which did nothing but contribute to my misery. Then, she begins pulling slices of potatoes that had been soaked in rubbing alcohol and starts inserting them in between the bandana and my head! The smell was atrocious, and I tried to push her hands away, but she shushed me and said to let her finish. So, with zero energy to fight this awful thing from continuing, I just sat there and let it happen. When she was done, she smiled and assured me that the migraine would be gone soon, and she left my room.
I sat there, in the dark, with these alcohol-soaked potatoes all around my head like some kind of pauper’s crown. My OCD issues kicked in and I struggled with laying back on my pillow because the crap on my head would get it dirty and make it smell. However, the agony outweighed my fears and I laid down in worse shape than before the potato crown was imposingly place upon me. I don’t know how long I slept like that, and I wish I could say that the remedy was successful. However, when I awoke, I was in just as much pain; and to top it off I smelled like potatoes and rubbing alcohol. I ripped the bandana off, but some of the slices stuck to my head. That was further annoying! I peeled them off and threw them as hard as I could because I was so irritated with this shenanigan. I laid my head back down on my now putrid smelling and potato-juice-stained pillow and went back to sleep.
All these years I thought my mom was nuts for coming up with such a weird idea. I figured she had read one of those random articles in The Reader’s Digest or something. I decided to look it up before I started writing this blog and, low and behold…it IS a well-known migraine remedy!!! Not only is it used within the Hispanic and Latino cultures but it has been used for centuries in different forms. From European Countrymen to Irish folk, to the Greeks and Romans, and many others, it is a proven remedy for migraines!1 It didn’t work for me, but it sounds like it works for someone out there! Who knew???
Until next time, stay potato free and stay safe!