August 05, 2005

Way too much rolling

Earlier this summer, I wrote a blog post about motion sickness, and so many bloggers emailed me with helpful suggestions and alternatives to dramamine (which works but makes me a zombie), that I thought I would try out some of the alternatives on this last vacation. Chicago is famous for traffic jams, and all that stop-and-go traffic usually does make me sick. Taking ginger (chewable tablets, 67.5 mg, every four hours) worked wonderfully.

Perhaps the success with the ginger made me overconfident, though. We spent the last day of our vacation at a place famous for its sixteen roller coasters. Yes, that day was the kind of thing that happens when teenagers comprise half the voting power in family decisions. With-a-Why, who has the swing vote, almost always votes with the teenagers instead of the two parents, and so we ended up, on a sunny day that reached 100 degrees, riding what my kids claim are world-famous roller coasters. It did occur to me, as we watched medics carry away a person who had fainted in line, that standing in long lines in the midst of a record-setting heat wave was probably far more dangerous than any of the rides in the park.

I hadn't been on a roller coaster since puberty. (My motion sickness kicked in at about the same time my breasts appeared.) I have fond memories of the roller coasters of my childhood though: big wooden roller coasters, usually with a couple big hills and a few curves. You'd climb into a metal car with a bunch of your friends, and just a simple black bar would hold you in. The car would creak and shudder up that first big hill, with everyone in the car urging it on, and then you'd get a glimpse of the whole amusement park - or the ocean if you were at the boardwalk - before the car would take a plunge. That was a wonderful moment, a sudden rush of adrenaline, as the car plummeted downhill, fast and then faster, with everyone screaming and waving their hands in the air.

So with this happy memory and with supreme confidence in the motion sickness medicine I had gotten at the health food store, I let my kids talk me into trying a roller coaster called the Raptor . I should have figured out I was in trouble when I saw how complicated the mechanism was that strapped me in. No simple black bar but a full body lock, the kind of thing I would expect if I were going on a space shuttle. My claustrophobia kicked in before the ride even started: thick shields pinned me in so tight that I could not move anything but my feet.

Let me just say that this roller coaster had almost nothing in common with the roller coasters of my childhood. Instead, it was a throwback to the instruments of torture that were so popular during the middle ages. There was no gradual ascent, no thrilling ride down a hill. Instead my skull rattled inside my head as I was twisted, turned, spun upside down.

Suffice it to say that the motion sickness medicine I was testing out that day was not quite strong enough.

22 comments:

PPB said...

She's back! She's back! She's back! Barfy from the roller coaster but back! Yay!

I'm not even a health food freak but I, also, take ginger for any kind of (usually nerve induced) queasiness. Someone explained to me that it's the ginger, not the bubbles in ginger ale that make your tummy calmer. Made sense to go to the source.

I'm glad it worked for you. Mostly I'm glad you're BACK!

timna said...

oh jo(e).
I did try some of the new rides at the big-mall-with-amusement-park and decided that my memories were better left untested.

Dr.K said...

Hey, jo(e), glad you're back. You rode the Raptor!? What were you thinking?! Well, sounds like you survived it, anyhow. How did the teens like the place? I know where it is, but I haven't been there since I was a kid. It is famous for roller coasters of the most violent sort, and you got on a good one. I love the things, and can't wait to go there. Still, as bad as the Raptor was, nothing is more sick-inducing than a Boston traffic jam in one of those circles they've got there. You should try that sometime! Not even Dramamine would save you.

jo(e) said...

Dr. K: My kids loved the roller coasters. Their favorite was something called the Dragster, which propelled them upwards at 120 miles per hour. (I called it quits after the Raptor.)

I can't remember why I got on the Raptor in the first place. I think somehow it was in the spirit of family togetherness. Remind me never to do that again ....

Hey, PPB: This is the first time we've both been home in a long time.

Rana said...

Oh, poor you! I can't even imagine going on a rollercoaster with motion sickness; I have a strong stomach and even the ordinary kind scare me silly. (Seriously. The most daring I was ever on was Space Mountain at Disneyland, and I thought it was awful. My friends laugh at me for screaming in fear on things like the _teacups_ for gosh sakes.)

But... jo(e)'s back!!! YAY!

Friday Mom said...

I remember the wooden roller coasters too, mostly mild, but enough of an adrenaline rush to make it exciting. I let the kids at church talk me into getting on one that actually went backwards a few years ago. I'm still traumatized from it.

So will the rapids on your white water rafting trip cause you problems?

Phantom Scribbler said...

Yeah, I'm wondering about the rapids, too, jo(e).

So the question we all want to know is -- did you make it all the way through the ride before the ginger, uh, stopped working. Or was some lucky seatmate treated to a show?

(I already welcomed you back, but now I'll do it again. Hi jo(e)!! Welcome back!)

Psycho Kitty said...

Oh oh. Miss Jo(e), did you do the spew?
The only time I've ever actually seen a person go green was on a carnival ride. I'd always thought it was just an expression.
Glad you're back!

Ianqui said...

Goodness, jo(e)...I mean, you may have a lot of kids, but since when does a kid's vote have as much weight as an adult's? What an egalitarian family!

reverendmother said...

If my family (siblings) rode a roller coaster in the name of family togetherness, the togetherness would continue in the infirmary, for all of us. We *all* get motion sickness. And I love roller coasters so it's not like I can just write off the whole experienece. I really miss them.

I enjoy water parks and never feel sick after a good water slide, but more and more of them are covered these days, and that's brutal for me--I have to be able to see where I'm going.

Welcome back!

jo(e) said...

Phantom: I did make it off the ride without vomiting. Luckily, the roller coaster went so damned fast that the ride was pretty short.

I have been white water rafting before and am usually okay on small rafts, canoes, and sailboats. (I get very sick on ferry boats and air planes.) If I can see the water, I can anticipate the movement and that seems to be the key. But I am bringing the ginger just in case as a back-up measure. I'll bring dramamine as well, but that makes me so sleepy that I hate to use it.

jo(e) said...

Psycho Kitty: I don't turn green, I turn yellow. I've actually seen this in a mirror and it is pretty peculiar.

Yankee T said...

Sorry about the barfing. You and the Attorney could sit and drink ginger iced tea while your kids, my kids, and I rode...

Kathryn said...

aaarghhh
you are SOOO brave! I'm terrified of even the little kids' rides...the only thing I will ever go on is an old fashioned carousel...was persauded to try "Pirate Falls" at Legoland once and once only...was so scared that I even managed to frighten my own offspring! Never again.
You may have a putty medal for bravery in the face of extreme upsidedownness, anyway :-)

liz said...

Joe(e)'s home (doing a little dance)

Re: Rollercoasters
My rule is: I won't get on it if it'll turn me upside down.

RussianViolets said...

I love roller coasters, and I adore Cedar Point. But I hate the Raptor; I swear it nearly broke my shoulder. And I stay off anything that turns me upside down. New rule: ass should always be below the head.

Oliver said...

This post made me laugh out loud! I absolutely adore all rollercoasters and thrill rides, although I was a complete wuss when I was younger - now I can't get enough of them. That said, I live in England, it's not exactly capital of the rollercoaster world!

BrightStar said...

yay! Cedar Point! I've only been once, but I had a fantastic time. Sorry to hear you didn't love it.

I had a fear of going upside down on rollercoasters, then I was tricked into going on one once (yeah, I'm kind of gullible -- didn't realize the name of the ride -- REVOLUTION -- would indicate anything about the ride experience, and the tracks were hidden in trees). After going on my first upside down ride, I loved it so much that I made all of my friends go with me on the scariest ride in that park... over and over... This was in my late teens, though. As a grown-up, I get nasty headaches after riding roller coasters. I wish I could still ride them like I used to.

jo(e) said...

BrightStar: Yeah, part of the problem with these rollercoasters that jerk you around so much is that they *do* seem to trigger migraines. So in addition to the motion sickness problem, I need to choose rides that don't make my skull crash against the inside of my head. The Raptor was a bad choice in that regard.

Lorna said...

This was NOT the smartest thing you could have done.

I can do Disney grade rides but nothing more. In June I took my class (graduated from equivalent of Jr high) and they laughed at my reluctance to do anything where I went upside down.

I relented and went on the mild corkscrew ONCE.

my kids would like to visit the park in Helsinki next week before school goes back. Any reasons you can think of that I can use to say *No thanks*.... it's a 2 hr drive there, that's one reason :)

colleen said...

This post makes me quesy just reading it. I grew up in a town with a roller coaster in it and never rode on it! Merry-go-rounds are about my limit. Once, my son talked me into going down a very steep and long water slide. You can guess what happened.

Not Scott said...

My own coaster story:

I like them, and will ride anything provided the line isn't ludicrously long. Nothing that lasts for 2 minutes is worth a 2 hour wait.

But the ride at one of those twisted zoos/amusement park/brewery in Tampa nearly did me in. The kind where you hang down from the track, legs dangling, formulated, sprawling on a pin, pinned and wriggling on the wall. Worse, the construction prohibited the rider from seeing anything in front but the head rest of the preceding car.

After about thirty seconds, I had given up. I leaned my head against the rest, and meekly turned over body and spirit to the machine. I imagine it was what the rabbit feels in the jaws of the wolf. I just gave up.

When it ended, I literally staggered off on the arm of my wife. We headed straight to the food court where the park, an otherwise abomination of trapped animals and hyper-consumerism, acheived heights of civilization by offering every patron two free beers. I drank them both rather quickly and felt marginally better.