Posts tagged as:

i am not well

Throw Up

March 23, 2010

in random

Preamble

If you have a very sensitive gag reflex you probably should skip this post. Or read it with a bucket nearby.

To the warriors I know and love, Kate and Elly, nobody could know what you and your loved ones went through. Chemo-induced nausea is no laughing matter. And I hope my not-so-amusing musings on throw-up does not offend.

We all know that eating disorder is debilitating and sometimes life-threatening. If you or your loved ones suffer from bulimia, I hope you are not offended by this post either.

Oh, by the way, just to save you from disappointment: I am NOT pregnant.

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If I feel compelled to include a long preamble before I feel comfortable talking about a subject, why do I even do it?

Because I am sick and tired of throwing up. I am sick of feeling sick. And I need to purge some knots and bolts inside my cranium shaken loose undoubtedly when my body was rejecting whatever was inside me, with brutal force. This is my mental throw-up. Again.

Let’s start from the beginning, and I’ll share a secret with you. I can hold my liquor really well, and I believe that I can drink most people under the table. Two tricks: will power is Number One. If you are determined to get drunk, you will behave like a fool after downing a non-alcoholic beer. When I feel the buzz, the glittery invitation to Happy Land, “Just let go!” I tell myself, “Do not get drunk. If you feel like screaming, just smile. If you feel like howling, just cry.” The second trick, the Secret, is GO THROW UP. I am a champion at throwing up. No shit. Any businessman (I used the gender-specific term for a reason) worth his weight in Taiwan (and I suspect in many Asian countries) knows how to force himself to throw up when he finds himself no longer able to hold the liquor. You go throw up, you come back, you keep up the good fight at the table. Drinking and deal-making (or whatever it is that you are going after) come hand in hand. Whoever lasts the longest wins.

As a woman you soon learn the trick. You drink them under the table. You beat them at their own game.

So I have that history with vomiting. To some extent, I see it is a way for your body to help you clear the mental department, get rid of whatever doesn’t jive with your insides. At the very least, your hangover won’t be as bad the next day.

With both of my children, I suffered from what they would call “severe Morning sickness” only that my morning seemed to last the entire fucking day.

I am sorry if I am not writing in paragraphs. I am just spewing out sentences now. A period makes a sentence, you see.

I actually lost weight during both of my pregnancies. More than 15 lbs. in the first two weeks. Big boobs, thin waist. What I had dreamed of having all along. Whoever is up there does have a wicked sense of humor. For my second pregnancy, I threw up from the first month until the day of delivery. So combined, I’ve had more than one year of daily practice, practice for feeling the urge, for keeping it down, for letting it go.

By the end, I was a master of it. It’s almost banal.

My husband called it, Worshiping at the porcelain throne.

By the end of the violent retching, I was literally hugging the bowl. I sometimes invoked the deity in the midst of tears, “What do you want? What else do you want? There is nothing. Nothing left. Can’t you see?” Still, the mythical force inside me tugged at the innards so I dry heaved, gagged, my mouth opened, my rib cage lifted and compressed, air rushed out along with one of the most dreadful, despairing sounds. I imagine I sounded like a banshee. Probably looked like one too.

And surprise, surprise, I have a theory for this too: if men could get pregnant, we’d have found a cure for morning sickness before we’d sent a man to the moon.

Lately my head is constantly inside a toilet bowl. After every meal. I am suffering from perpetual motion sickness as if I could sense the movement made by the Earth.

Somehow my current condition reminds me of the toilet scene from Train Spotting a lot. You know the scene I was talking about. The one when he fell into the absolutely disgusting, beyond description, you have to see it to understand the magnitude of what it means to earn the label “The Worst Toilet in Scotland”, toilet bowl.

My permanent nausea is caused by something decidedly unpoetic: allergy. The chain of reactions goes like this:

Allergy. Sinus. Ears. The little hair in your ears that I always imagine to look like Nemo’s anemone swaying in a vacuum. Dizziness. Motion sickness. Puke.

I walk around all day going about my daily routines, feeling transparent. I could tell the specific locations of my digestive track: Here is my stomach. Here my esophagus. Here my throat. Here my mouth.

Unlike the main character in Sartre’s Nausea who soon started questioning his own existence, the urge forces me to come to terms with my physicality. The whole lot of meatiness. The anatomy. There is no getting away from it. I feel my existence. And it is not really a good feeling to be acutely aware of yourself at all times. I am the red person under a special “Oh no she’s going to puke” detector.

I keep my mouth pressed tightly so nothing would come out by accident. I go about my business: making the kids dinner. Doing the dishes. Gesturing for them to eat their dinner otherwise there’ll be price to pay. Giving them “the look”. At the same time I sense the stuff being squeezed all the way into my brain. Through my cheekbone, the veins, into the temple areas. Behind my eyes.

“Sorry, kids. Mommy has to go throw up.”

“Ok, mom.”

I walk calmly upstairs, change out of my good clothes, turn on the radio, turn on the fan, spray Clorox cleaner on the floor and the rim and the bowl of the toilet, scrub the toilet, flush the toilet. And I get ready for the wave.

The toilet bowls are sparkling clean in my house lately. Because staring at a dirty bowl when I am throwing up makes me nauseous.

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ETA: Wisdom gleaned from Christine‘s Comment: “Lesson learned: drink hard and vomit gently.”

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“Having been struck by a 150-ton meteorite, Henry has to adapt to living precisely ninety-one centimeters from himself.”

Once in a while, you come across something that so resonates with you to the point of altering your reality. Or your perception of reality. It’s like, all of a sudden, you can see yourself more clearly. You understand what is going on inside your head. You see what the root of your problem is. Yet to explain that something, or how or why, is completely beyond your command with words. Haunting. That is all you can think of.

Tautology: using something incomprehensible to explain something incomprehensible.

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Exactly 91 cm away from himself...

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I came across something yesterday.  The Bloggess mentioned it as “Painfully poignant: you should watch this”.  So I did. And I have not been able to stop thinking about it. Have not been able to stop crying actually.

If you have ever questioned who you are, where you are, what you are, why you are. If you live with the haunting that you may not be yourself. Or that if you are, then who is this other person. If you ever feel/fear that if you lie still long enough, you will for sure float outside of your body and look down back on yourself lying in bed, and you are scared that you may not recognize yourself. If you could almost precisely predict when you will have an existential breakdown.

If you wonder what it is like to have such chaotic thoughts inside your being. Watch this.

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