Sunday, 19 December 2010

Stop The World I Want to Get Off!

My battle with motion sickness and being equilibrium-challenged has been well documented. Those who know me well have heard tell the tales of sketchy airline flights where I searched furiously in the seat pocket for an air sickness bag that hadn't been glued together by the previous occupant's masticated chewing gum, ferry rides over to the Toronto Islands whereby I needed to grasp the railing in order to keep from fainting from the dizziness that was brought on by the swells of Lake Ontario, subway trips to the Eaton Centre that induced nausea so severe as a result of traveling backwards through the tunnels,that I almost didn't make it to the Queen Street entrance ladies room, and car rides of more than an hour that had me hanging my head out of the window at 100km like a Labrador Retriever with tongue a-wagging! This cornucopia of problems doesn't even begin to address the beautiful cities and countries in which I have been violently ill. There was the launch over to Dunn's River Falls in Jamaica, the ferry from San Francisco to Sausalito, the ferry from Halifax to Charlottetown, a day long mess on a cruise in the Caribbean to celebrate a friend's birthday in Nassau, not to mention legendary nightmares in Capri, Sorrento, a sea day outside of Limon, Costa Rica, and the Mad Hatter's Tea Party ride in Disney World. In short, I am a f@$&ing mess when it comes to issues of motion and regulating my inner ear balance.

Studies have shown (sorry, I am at sea and do not have the ability to tag these studies at the present moment, but I am certain that if you Google "puking at sea" you will find some scientific bullshit that backs up my claims!) that motion sickness affects some people more than others and that it tends to be genetic. There are no concrete answers as to why some people can withstand pitching seas, dead drop roller coaster rides, and turbulent airplane flights, while others, like myself, tend to puke in their hats. All we do know is that the world does not stand still, even if there are those amongst us that hope against painful hope that it would.

I have refused to allow my handicap (and believe me-it IS a handicap) to stop me from doing all of the things that I really want to do and experience in this life. I have researched methods and medications. I am religious about diet and food choices so as not to exacerbate the problem. I have tried it all. Ginger, soda, sea bands, acupuncture, all forms of herbal remedies and visualization. Nothing really works, but I have learned to mostly cope. And then, an episode like Friday occurs.

We had booked a tour on the picturesque island of St. Lucia. If you have never visited, I suggest that you book now. The word "stunning" doesn't really do it justice. The island is small and actually derives much of it's beauty from the surrounding pitons and volcano. There is one main road on the island and in order to access anywhere, one must climb the mountains via this one thoroughfare, and then head back down to the coastal towns. The trip up was pretty uneventful. Our small group of eight was in high spirits, buoyed by the glorious weather, our fabulous guide and the free rum punch and island beer. We chatted with the locals, saw the scenery, ate some local bananas, and headed to a magnificent beach. It was all good, mon! And then it happened. The final stop on the tour was a visit to the volcano. It was fascinating, but reeking of sulphuric acid with a stench approximating rotten eggs mixed with old man farts. We climbed back into the van for the return trip back to the ship. Oh boy was I sick. Twin Son's Better Half, always the girl guide, was prepared with a plastic bag for me, sparing my hat. The Social Butterfly called out to our good-natured guide to please stop so that I might collect my bearings. Upon disembarkation for a much needed breath of air, I learned that another in our group, Holistic Mama, was just as sick as was I. I moved into the passenger seat, hung my head out of the window and prayed that the winding ride straight down the mountain was just a nightmare from which I would surely soon awaken. When I inquired of the driver if it was almost over, he giggled and answered with a brisk "No!" This was a ride that Six Flags and Walt couldn't have concocted in their overly furtive imaginations. The turns were hairpin, the speed was excessive, the drop an amazing 15% grade, and it went on for an hour and half.

When we finally made it back to port, Holistic Mama and yours truly were more than a little bit off kilter. I couldn't sit for fear of puking. Standing had me swaying at a 45 degree angle. I didn't realize that the world moved with such fury. My inner ear was shot and my equilibrium a disaster. The last thing I needed or wanted was to get back on the ship. The Husband decreed that walking was what I needed, so (God bless the man) he supported me until I could do it myself once again.

I realize that I am defying all Newtonian,Galilean, and Einsteinian laws when I cry for a reduction in the earth's rotational speed, but please-I simply cannot take it anymore. Stop the world! I need to get off!!!

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