Monday, February 28, 2011

Migraines in The Elderly

My Mother

Yesterday evening I had a scare with my mother.  She has had numerous mini-strokes so I try to pay attention to little things that might be going wrong.  She started feeling really seasick at about 5:30 in the afternoon.  I had phenergan she had been prescribed for nausea (she had a bowel resection a couple of years ago for colon cancer) so I gave her one.  She couldn't stand the smell of food, and had a terrible headache that seemed to be only on the right hand side of her heada and wanted to go lay down in a dark room.  Migraine sufferers, sound familiar?

She threw up despite the phenergan at about 6:30 PM and soon after the headache which had been getting worse and worse dissipated.  She was very very sleepy afterward and wanted to go to sleep in a quiet dark room.  I checked her two or three times last evening to make sure she had not had another stroke.  She seemed OK except for other symptoms of stomach upset, and is up and around this morning, with "sore stomach muscles" from throwing up and a weak all over headache.

I tried to get her to go to an emergency room last night.  I tried to get her to see a doctor today, but she is very stubborn and does not want to.  I am worried because she has never had migraines that I can remember in my 52 years on this earth.  She had some sisters who did but she never had migraines, unless she had them much younger and just never told me.  New onset anything in someone her age (going on 81) is not always a happy occurance.  I found some articles about migraines in the elderly but worry that it might be something more serious.  The progression she had was almost identical to my migraines when I had them, but I am afraid I may just be projecting my experience onto her symptoms.

What do you do with an elderly parent who refuses to go to the doctor, to go to an emergency room, or to urgent care?  I am upset and worried, but don't know what to do.  I want to bundle her up in my car and just take her but I am afraid she wouldn't even get into the car.  Big sigh.


  1. Even people who have migraines should be checked when something different happens. If this was different for Mom: MAKE HER GO. It might just be a headache but she's had strokes before. I don't think you'd be over-reacting. Best thoughts for you both!

  2. DEJ: My thoughts exactly, will try again. I have even have had her refuse to get into an ambulance when even the ambulance EMTs say she should go.

  3. Dear Winny I am sorry for the emotional pain you are experiencing with your precious mama. Gosh mine would be at the doctor's office in a heart beat. I pray that whatever is happening to her will subside and the meds will help. Here lifting both she and you up to the Lord. Blessings.

  4. JBR: I know, our mom's are at opposite ends of the doctoring spectrum! not sure which is worse, too many times so you don't know what is urgent, or never going so you don't know what is urgent!!! Thanks for the prayers! It's hard when we are caretakers for adults who can just do what they please. sigh.