I Am the Queen of Nausea

I’m kind of an expert on nausea.

I get queasy standing up too quickly after watching a movie. The slightest motion is enough to make my stomach do summersaults. (It’s annoying, but also pretty impressive. Can your stomach do gymnastics? I didn’t think so.) Any movement has the power to instantly turn my face the color of pea soup. Throw in some undulation, and it’s immediate misery. (Note to my enemies: Please don’t get any ideas.)

I’ve been motion sick in amusement parks, cars, buses, trains, carriages, motorcycles, horses, the D.C. metro, bumper cars, ferries, dune buggies, boats, kayaks, taxis, combis, crop planes, airplanes, scooters and (get this) surfboards. I’ve never ridden a segue, but I’m fairly certain we can add that to the list, too.

At this point, my extreme nausea engenders a certain amount of pride. But pride cometh before a fall, right y’all?  I thought I knew everything there was to know about motion sickness. Then I took the Drake Passage on my way to Antarctica.


The Significant Other says the waves were only 15 feet, but that’s the understatement of the century—akin to calling a ginormous, blood-thirsty rabbit with fangs a small, blood-thirsty rabbit with fangs. See what I mean?! He has no idea what he’s talking about.

While our boat had epileptic seizures on the open sea, I tried very hard not to lose it. (You can take “it” to mean anything from my lunch to my sanity. Everything was up for grabs that weekend.)

To make matters WORSE, the motion sickness medication just didn’t do it for me. Mostly because I accidentally drugged myself the first night, but that’s not really my fault.

So doctors recommend 25 mg every 12 hours, but the pills I had came in 50 mg doses, and those things taste like lumberjack feet when they’re broken in two. Plus, since I’m so ridiculously queasy all the time, I figured I’d go for the 50 mg dose. What do those quacks know, anyway?

This may or may not have been a problem by itself. BUT, then Significant Other says I woke up at like 3 a.m. and took another 50 mg dose, which I vaguely, fuzzily, dreamily half-remember. Pro Tip: Hide the meds at night.

The result was a not-altogether-there, out-of-body feeling that lasted a full day. Coupled with the nausea and dizziness from my inability to eat, let’s just say it’s an experience I won’t be repeating soon. (Unless you’d like to get me a science reporting gig in Antarctica, in which case I’ll just suck it up. Or read the directions on pill bottles. Either or.)

The journey back to Argentina from Antarctica via the Drake Passage (AGAIN?!) was just as bad. Since the meds failed me so miserably the first time, I decided to try a completely different tactic—sleep through it.

This seemed like a great idea because I love sleep. (I’m sorry it had to come out like this, Significant Other.) And I love it so much that I kind of thought it was like crunchy peanut butter—you can never have enough.

Turns out, I was wrong. There comes a point when you just can’t sleep anymore. Your body absolutely refuses. And then you’re stuck in the middle of the ocean, rolling back and forth on your bed, feeling like BLARGH and wishing you’d never flown to Portugal as a teenager because you’re pretty sure that’s where your love of travel originated.

Ladies, sleep lets you down hard. Don’t trust it.

But after two days, we were back in Ushuaia, Argentina. I’d seen Antarctica, a life goal; I’d done science journalism, and I’d triumphed over the Drake Passage. It was a victorious journey in oh-so many ways.

My next goal? Conquer that segue!

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