02
Nov
09

So, it turns out that Carole King was right

I know that all of my loyal chickens readers undoubtedly think that I live some kind of glamourous lifestyle.  It’s all about the drama, the friendly neighbourhood drug dealers, the shopping, and of course, the brunch.  Life in the big city, and all that.

Believe it or not, it’s not always so glamourous. 

Yes, that is my tongue, firmly planted in cheek.

This weekend, while en route to a fabulous brunch in a fabulous Mercedes with a fabulous friend, my old foe motion sickness decided to rear her ugly, nausea-inducing head.

She and I go back a long way.

After decades of dealing with, and mostly hiding, this affliction, I am acutely aware of every phase of nausea.  I have mastered the technique of deep breathing and the zen-like focus required to ensure that no accidents occur.  The goal is always to hide the affliction from others, largely because it causes others to react with panic.   The prospect of projectile vomiting  has a tendency to bring out strange responses in people.  Go figure.

I’ve vomited in cars, out the door of cars,  buses, (not boats, but hey, that could change), back alleyways, major city streets, into napkins, bags, towels, and well, probably my hand.

I cover up the shame I feel at receiving so much negative attention by laughing and waving it off. 

“I’m fine, I’ll be fine,” I protest meekly, as I die a little inside.  I remember telling jokes to an entire bus load of high school kids in the south of Spain, making them laugh in between throwing up into a hastily-obtained trash can.  Keep ’em laughing, I say, and maybe they won’t hate you quite as much for retching violently for an hour on the way to Morocco.

It is difficult to explain the shameful feeling.  The feeling of being a child again, feeling so incredibly sick, and then being antagonized for it.  For being the one who makes difficult, or completely ruins a family outing.  Always being the one child left standing with an adult at the theme park as the others run off to enjoy the latest barf-inducing ride.

Feeling nauseous makes me feel weak and vulnerable, and so I do my best to never mention it, and to hide it at every opportunity.  I would rather stop talking and stare out the window of the car for two hours, silently repressing sickness than admit to you that I am not well.

Yesterday, I somehow managed to make myself so ill that I had to physically leap out of the Mercedes at a stop sign, for fear of being sick, and needed almost an entire hour at my friend’s house to get rid of the sickly shakes and cold sweat, before I could even think of eating the beautifully prepared brunch.

I felt ridiculous and pathetic as my friends kept an eye on me with that look that I dread, the one I interpret as confusion and pity.  Eventually, I recovered, ate something and had a good time catching up.

On the way home, my driving companion and I decided that I was well enough to run a few errands. 

“I knew that something was wrong with you, I just didn’t know what it was.  You just weren’t acting like yourself.”

“I’m so, so sorry.  Really I am.  It’s so embarrassing.”

“Don’t be sorry!  We’re your friends and we care about you.  If you don’t tell us what’s wrong, we can’t help you.”

That may have been one of the best things that anyone has ever said to me.  It may have been one of the best moments of my life.

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7 Responses to “So, it turns out that Carole King was right”


  1. 1 Marie
    November 2, 2009 at 4:18 pm

    Don’t be ashamed or embarrassed at all! Can’t believe that you would be. It’s not something you can exactly control. And what your friend said is 100% true. That’s a real friend.

    Not sure if this will make you feel any better, but when I throw up (not from motion sickness but when ill), I curl up into a ball afterwords and cry for my mom. Talk about reverting back to being a 5 year old.

    • 2 shoeboxdweller
      November 2, 2009 at 4:23 pm

      Awwww. It’s not the most pleasant of feelings, that’s for sure. Thankfully you have someone wonderful to take care of you when you’re not feeling well.

  2. November 2, 2009 at 4:37 pm

    You could just be like me and tell them you’re preggers.

    It works better with strangers, though…

  3. November 2, 2009 at 5:41 pm

    I’ve actually done the “bolt out of the car and try not to get vomit on any other passengers” quite recently. I feel for you.

  4. 7 f.B
    November 2, 2009 at 10:47 pm

    Your friends are right. The confusion and pity look comes so easily. It really isn’t meant that way, though. It’s meant as concern, but the face just doesn’t wear it well.


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