She vomited about three times. She sat next to me in the car. We were travelling from Jos to Bauchi. It happened about two hours ago. She looked sick.
“Does this always happen to you?” I asked, trying to act like the gentleman that I am!
She answered without turning to look at me. “Always…only when…anytime I travel.” she stammered, her complaining voice muffled by the handkerchief she held over her mouth and nose.
“Hmmm…sorry dear! It is called ‘motion-sickness’”, I quickly diagnosed.
“What!” she screamed, turning sharply to face me. “Excuse me! I am not pregnant!”
I quickly realized she heard me wrongly. “I said motion-sickness, not morning-sickness”, I corrected.
I took a paper and a pen. I wrote a list of how to reduce the symptoms whenever she travels. I gave it to her. She was grateful.
Doctors call it kinetosis [Don’t mind them!]. It happens whenever you travel – in a car, in a plane, in a boat. You feel like “throwing up”, and sometimes, you do. You feel dizzy and tired. Headache and sweating. You feel sick. And you know it’s because you are travelling!
I don’t want to talk about what causes it. It is funny! Your eye sees your body “sitting, not moving” inside the car. The “balance system” in your ear knows that you are moving; it senses the turns and the bumps. The brain is confused – are you moving or not? The brain then interprets that you are confused because you might have mistakenly taken a poison or drug overdose! It then makes you vomit, in an attempt to remove the poison! You make yourself sick!
Do these the next time you travel
· #1: Eat a little. Don’t overeat; instead, eat a little, from time to time. Avoid fatty foods. Avoid milk. Avoid alcohol. Don’t smoke (and don’t sit close to a smoker). Drink plenty of water. Crackers biscuits and soft drinks (with gas) could be helpful. Take ginger tea or drink with you. Try peppermint. Chew gum.
· #2: Look out of the window. Focus on a distant object, or the horizon. Look towards the direction you are travelling. Don’t read. Do the driving, if possible. Preferably, sit in the front-seat of the car, or towards the wings if you are in a plane.
· #3: Take slow, deep breaths. Breathe with your abdomen. Feel air enter and leave your lungs. Breathing fast and shallow make the symptoms worse.
· #4: Get cool fresh air. Avoid odors like the smell of petrol. Sit near the window. If you are in the plane, turn the air-vents towards your face.
· #5: Try to reduce the movement of your head. Sit back; rest your head on your seat. Close your eyes, and take a nap, if you can. Travel at night so you could sleep.
· #6: There are drugs you could take to reduce the symptoms. However, it is better if you learn to control the symptoms instead of relying on drugs. Talk to your doctor. Drugs are more effective if taken before travelling. Take Avomine (Promethazine) tablets 2 hours before travelling, and take the drugs again after 8hours.
· #7: Plug your ears. Get headphones. Listen to music. Relax. Whatever has a beginning, has an end. The more you travel, the more you get used to it. Enjoy your journey!
Journey mercies this season!