Ramblings of a Tampa engineer
Jumping on a tiny flight from Charlotte, NC -> Charleston, WV

A long time ago in elementary school I would end up on flights for vacations and visiting family and I quickly learned how much I hated it. From the instant the plane left the ground my stomach and head would begin to spin. My temperature would rise quickly and I'd be sweating despite having cold air blasting me in the face. I'd slow my breathing down and look down at myself just trying to survive the flight without making a scene.

One time in particular I remember eating an entire bag of sour gummy worms while waiting for a flight. Sure enough the flight took off and it went south quickly - I became one of those embarrassing kids who threw up on the plane. Everyone looks at you even if you at least made it all in a bag. Flight attendants try and rush and help with ginger-ale and crackers to help the situation. All while you are trapped in a box thousands of thousands of feet in the air packed next to other people.

That incident pulled me into a direction to never eat anything prior to a flight which was probably the wrong call to make. As I aged further getting on a plane with an empty stomach was just as terrible as too much food - I'd be fighting the urge to throw up on each flight. For the better part of a decade this became my life of avoiding food and possibly adding Dramamine into the mix to just have a normal flight experience.

Family said I'd grow out of it, but as I hit my 20s and went to college the experiences were the same. I'd learn that it was take off and landing that affected me the most - once we were stable at 30,000 something feet that was bearable. Of course any turbulence would affect that, but I was getting to the point of understanding my body to survive flights without a scene.

This was not perfect by any stretch and I did things that I look back on as purely disgusting. As I threw up on future flights that vomit was going nowhere but back down my throat. In lucky circumstances that would give me the time to head to bathroom and escape the crowd of people wondering what this individual was doing. In unlucky circumstances I would just get a cycle of throwing up over n over until the vomit was gone.

So I started changing my life to avoid flights unless absolutely needed - driving everywhere when possible and declining trips as a flight was involved. When a flight was not avoidable I forced myself to find a direct flight to cut down on the possibility of getting sick on the plane.

As my 30s approached I began trying a new approach of always eating before a flight. It would be a small meal - commonly a breakfast sandwich with a drink. I had success with this as my stomach would be less out of control, but any up/down movement still threw my brain into a fit.

This brain fit didn't end either when the flight ended - my body needed hours to recover just to feel normal again. Walking on hard ground felt good, but sometimes depending on the flight I had to just find a chair in the terminal and recover. I remember needing a long time to recover after I took that small aircraft into West Virginia.

So at this point with more family suggestions and aging 20 years - I needed to change something up. Research pointed to this Bonine medicine that packed the Meclizine ingredient in each tablet and argued being better than Dramamine.

Meclizine blocks the histamine receptors which generally prevents vomiting & nausea.

So I sat in an airport with this test run of a new medicine combination eating a chicken wrap, dissolving a pill in my mouth and waiting for my flight. This was the first time I felt a bit like myself during the flight - takeoff didn't immediately spiral my brain into soup. I couldn't believe that it was seemingly working well.

Rough turbulence still put me in a bit of a pickle trying to slow breathing, but otherwise I could snap back and feel like myself. It seemed like my body was actually reacting well to this combination of pill & food. Paired with finding a seat over the wings for lessened strength of turbulence and I was turning my flight travel into a normal human.

I could fly and recover in the short distance walking from the landed plane to whatever my pickup was. I did a few more flights over the last 2 years and the story is the same - as long as I eat and pop a pill an hour prior - my experience will be good.

I don't know if I grew out of it or just became dependent on a pill. At the moment I'm happy not changing anything and continuing to use Bonine until it stops working. I still hate flying, but at least I can do it without becoming a nauseous mess.

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