But leave it to The Daily Caller to prove me wrong.
Their piece about Bachmann's chronic migraine headaches–which they suggest should disqualify her from the presidency–is deeply ignorant and unfair.
Jonathan Strong writes:
“She has terrible migraine headaches. And they put her out of commission for a day or more at a time. They come out of nowhere, and they’re unpredictable,” says an adviser to Bachmann who was involved in her 2010 congressional campaign. “They level her. They put her down. It’s actually sad. It’s very painful.”
Bachmann’s medical condition wouldn’t merit public attention, but for the fact she is running for president. Some close to Bachmann fear she won’t be equal to the stress of the campaign, much less the presidency itself.
“When she gets ‘em, frankly, she can’t function at all. It’s not like a little thing with a couple Advils. It’s bad,” the adviser says. “The migraines are so bad and so intense, she carries and takes all sorts of pills. Prevention pills. Pills during the migraine. Pills after the migraine, to keep them under control. She has to take these pills wherever she goes.”
If Bachmann is indeed suffering from migraines, I wonder if she is under the best neurological care. She is described as occassionally checking in to hospitals and urgent care centers to deal with the pain, which suggests a condition that has not been brought under control by the most aggressive treatment.
Migraines disproportionately affect women and are often talked about in a sexist way, with the implication being that women who suffer from migraines can't handle normal levels of stress. But there are other triggers, too, from alcohol to going too long between meals. The Daily Caller's Strong describes Bachmann as suffering from a migraine because of "complications with her flight schedule." As a lifelong migraine sufferer, I know that travel can be a trigger, not because of some hysterical response to stress, but because of lack of decent food and sleep.
With all the medications out there today, most migraine sufferers are able to get the condition under control and go about their daily lives with a very high level of productivity.
Many famous, high-achieving people have been migraine sufferers, including Ulysses Grant and Thomas Jefferson. (At Appomattox in 1865, Grant reportedly had a migraine that miraculously lifted upon receiving a letter from Robert E. Lee arranging their first ceasefire meeting.) Among athletes, Dwyane Wade and Monica Seles are migraineurs; Seles missed just two matches due to migraine in her entire career, and Wade is well-known for practicing and playing through his pain. I could go on and on: Charles Darwin. Sigmeund Freud. Claude Monet. Virginia Woolf.
Of course, the modern presidency is a uniquely stressful and fast-paced job. But modern medicine is also uniquely able to respond to chronic pain.