Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Medicine and Traveling

We have traveled more in the past three months than I have in at least a decade, when I was a real business person. You know, I don't really mind traveling. Our kids are at an age, when they travel with us (about half the time lately), where they pretty much take care of themselves. I don't have a fear of traveling - check that, I have fears of what will happen to our luggage, fears of traveling with the flu, etc., just not a fear of the plane taking a nose-dive.

My only problem is when the our means of traveling are dipsy-doodling around.

I have motion sickness. Stupid kinetosis. When things get bumpy or lurchy, my head gets funny and if that doesn't stop soon, my stomach gets not-so-funny. According to Wikipedia, the encyclopedic source of people's best guesses, nausea actually means seasickness; although for some strange reason I never get motion sick or nausea on a boat. But I digress.

At the onset, I'll do the usual of trying to look out the window, which might get annoying if I'm sitting in the middle aisle of the plane and leaning over two other people to see out that tiny window that mostly shows me the wing or engine. Usually that will keep it at bay, or maybe I'll get lucky and be sleepy and then just drool on the person next to me with my head on their shoulder.

But when I really need to, or if I'm on one of the puddle jumpers, I'll take medicine. The only problem is, after popping a couple of Dramamines, I'm never quite sure what will happen.

I'll probably stop being motion sick. That's the good news. The bad news is I'm one of those people that medicine pops a big wallup. Not just medicine, any chemical has a big impact on my system. I can drink a glass of tea with dinner and it'll keep me up later. Decaff coffee will make me bouncy. So when I take something that may cause drowsiness, most of the time it will leave me lying on the floor within minutes. My wife hates it when I take Dramamine on those short planes because they may be only 45 minutes long, but the Dramamine will put me out for an hour and a half. The plane will be landing, she will be punching me trying to wake me up, and I'll be saying something like, "Leave me alone, Mom, just ten more minutes before school starts."

But it doesn't always happen like that. Sometimes I get strange side effects. Sometimes the medicines will do the exact opposite, like keep me awake for days. I was taking some heavy meds when I had my shoulder surgery, and I didn't sleep for 3-5 days and can't remember most of what happened. My wife said I was giggling and flirting with the nurses on the way out of the doctor's office.

So we get on a plane not too long ago and I pop a couple of Dramamines 'cause the ride over to the airport wasn't so smooth. I do so about ten minutes before we board and it was perfect timing - I got in my seat and almost instantly was asleep. Perfect, for the first half hour. Then for some reason I pop up, wide awake. Within minutes, my legs and feet start to itch and shake. It was the second worse plane ride I had been on in the last couple of years. I was shaking my legs into the aisle, kicking under the seat, and was just generally squirming for several more hours; it just made me hate those first class travelers all the more - I could be squirming without hitting my shins into the seat in front of me. My four year old thought it was pretty funny.

That's why I generally avoid medication. Who knows what something like the diet pill would do to me.

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