Wednesday, December 14, 2011

My Weekly Commute

In my early twenties, to my dismay, I started developing motion sickness.  I remember the first time I ever experienced it, sitting on a plane that was being de-iced on the runway in super windy conditions.  The plane was rocking back and forth and I started feeling really sick - luckily we took off soon after and the ride smoothed out.  But after that, bumpy flights, motion simulator rides, and even sometimes roller coasters make me queasy.

I fight this condition with the miracle of Gravol.  Without Gravol, I would not be able to work at my current job because the low flights up north are often extremely rough.  (And also, as a lover of Disney theme parks, Gravol is going to have to come along on future trips because I am not giving up Space Mountain.)  Usually I can get away with taking only half a tablet, but if the flight is extra bumpy I often regret my choice.  As is what happened last week when I was flying up to work.

I should have checked the full weather forecast before I left because the wind up north was insane - the kind of wind where when you walk into it, it's hard to breathe.  But, usually winter flights are relatively smooth compared to summer flights so I just popped half a Gravol about an hour and a half before the flight.

As we started to get slightly farther north (past Prince Albert), the flight started getting bumpy.  I hoped my half a Gravol would sustain me, and it seemed to be okay until around the time we were starting to go in for the landing.  The plane was bouncing all over the place.  "If we don't land in the next couple of minutes I am going to puke" I thought.  I looked out the window.  The ground got closer, closer, closer... we're almost there...

And then we veered up again.  It sometimes happens that turbulence or whatever causes the pilot to not trust the landing fully so another try or two are needed to get down safely.  At this point, I was really fighting with my stomach.  I had broken into a sweat and was basically doing Lamaze-type heavy breathing to try and keep the donut, bag of chips, and ginger ale I'd had on the flight down.  We flew a few km away and turned around, all the while flying very low in extreme turbulence.

"Please, PLEASE do not let me be That Girl who throws up on the plane," I thought.  And then "I need the bag."  I have never actually had to ready the barf bag, but the situation called for it.  I grabbed the bag, propped it open, and continued my deep breathing.  About 10 seconds before I knew the vomiting would begin, we landed.  Crisis averted!

"It's okay, you did great.  We're safe now.  These pilots do a good job, they know what they're doing" the guy sitting next to me, who I had never seen before, said.  "Oh, I wasn't scared.  I just have bad motion sickness and I was going to puke" I replied. "Do you come up here often?" he asked, indicating that he didn't believe me and figured it was my first flight ever. 

I received better consolation than the type my seat-mate tried to provide a little later in the day, when I learned that at least half of the other people on the plane had also almost puked, and two actually had.  From now on, I am checking the wind speeds before I fly.

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