What Can a Caregiver Do?

My wife has suffered daily migraines for five years. Sometimes, she has an aura before the previous cycle is even completed. Cycles lasting for days are not uncommon. We strongly suspect that these problems stem from my wife breaking her neck as a child.

Tired of being helpless, I figured out some concrete things I could do to help.

First, we decided to move. We lived far from private schools and we both had to drive a lot every day. Since I work (nowhere near home or school at the time), it was critical that my wife pick up the children each day, even if she could not manage to do anything else. When our oldest son was ready for high school, we knew we were in trouble because the 27 mile drive to school was going to get even longer with kids at two schools. We packed up and moved within 4 miles of another high school, and my drive to work was only increased by two miles on school days, even with kids at two schools. Plus, we had family and other parents nearby that could help with driving. Suddenly, we had options for "bad days" that did not put me in a bad spot at work. We had more time for other things and the decrease in our stress level was huge.

About the time that we moved, my wife went on the Buchholz diet. My wife has always been the cook, but she stopped when she got sick because the heat made her sick. I mostly cooked frozen food in the microwave, but that had to end. I bought every migraine cookbook I could find (Migraine-Free Cooking! by Heidi Gunderson is by far the most useful). Then, I discovered the amazing farmer's markets and international grocery stores near my new home. I started watching Food Network and YouTube videos to learn techniques and I combed allrecipes.com for safe recipes with their advanced search capability.

I was finally starting to feel like I was able to attack my wife's condition responsibly and purposefully, but it bothered me that I had worked so hard to get to this point, but that the trail I had blazed would not benefit anyone else in my position. So, I chronicled my experiences in a blog: http://migrainecooking.blogspot.com/. It points people like me, with a migraine patient and no cooking skills, in a positive direction and steers them around some mistakes (one pretty awful one) that I made along the way.

Now, when I am asked what a caregiver can do, I answer, "Get educated, then do everything you can."

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