Throw Up

March 23, 2010

in random



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.


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.



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

{ 1 trackback }

WTF Wednesday: Here, have an MRI
March 24, 2010 at 5:47 pm

{ 27 comments… read them below or add one }

Vintage Christine March 23, 2010 at 10:39 am

After a particularly wild night of imbibing, I too worshipped quite forcefully at the p-god. Upon getting up from the floor after about the 5th round, I looked into the mirror and saw to my horror that I had BLOWN OUT MY EYEBALL! Blood had replaced all the white! I literally ran screaming to the local ER, knowing I’d be told I’d never see out of that eye again, whereupon the doctor took a look at it and said, “Been drinking alot recently? When you retch hard you can rupture some of those veins in there. It’ll clear up in a day or so.” Lesson learned: drink hard and vomit gently.


subWOW March 23, 2010 at 10:44 am

I “ETA” to include the hard-earned lesson you shared here. I love how 1. you didn’t shun away from this subject, 2. managed to outgross my grossness. I know if we were friends IRL you’d be up for the task of holding my hair when I throw up. For that I *heart* you.


secret agent woman March 23, 2010 at 10:49 am

Do you have vertigo? Because there are treatments for that.

I had all-day morning sickness for months with both kids, but I have never once thrown up over alcohol. Even back in my heavy-drinking days – no vomiting, no hang-over – just an efficient liver.


Jana@Attitude Adjustment March 23, 2010 at 10:58 am

Um, I really thought I could handle this but you weren’t kidding. Reading this made me want to throw up. (Maybe because last week I had a stomach bug and the memory is still too fresh.)

I hope you feel better! Jeez.
.-= Jana@Attitude Adjustment´s last blog…Comparing Your Children =-.


Mrsblogalot March 23, 2010 at 11:59 am

awww my poor girl!!! I never imagined that allergies could cause vomiting but it’s true and it’s horrible! And once you start it’s like your body just wants to throw out everything you put in. The only benefit is weight loss but even that’s not worth it. Feel better!!!!


Kristen @ Motherese March 23, 2010 at 12:55 pm

I would like to introduce you to a term borrowed from an unappealing frat boy I went to college with: “boot and rally.” He applied the phrase to his antics during a night of drinking (sort of like your Taiwanese businessmen), but I think it fits your much more grown-up reality these days.

Sorry to hear that you have been feeling so crummy. Hoping for some medical remedy – traditional or non-traditional – for your sake. xoxo


Jennifer Lynn March 23, 2010 at 1:17 pm

That sucks. Period. This too shall pass, hopefully quicker than the morning sickness………..and Lifesavers may help the gross-mouth-after-flavor that remains after repeat brushing;)
.-= Jennifer Lynn´s last blog…Bones of Dead Things…….in my car. =-.


Merrilymarylee March 23, 2010 at 1:42 pm

I, too, wondered if you had vertigo. Been to the dentist lately? Because sometimes when they tilt the chair, it can cause it. I got it after a hysterectomy. He must have had my vagina at chin level–I was nauseous and dizzy for weeks afterwards and it still returns occasionally.

Your mother just channeled me and says you should go to the doctor.
.-= Merrilymarylee´s last blog…Moving Blues =-.


Elly Lou March 23, 2010 at 1:44 pm

1 – you can’t possibly out drink me. 2 – I only puked once or twice during chemo – you sound WAY worse. 3 – I’m impressed by your restraint! I don’t get that much lead time pre-puke. Ever stuck your thumb over the nozzle of a garden hose to make the stream spray everywhere? Yeah well, that happens when I put my hand over my mouth trying not to hurl. 4 – Enjoy that visual. 5 – feel better. 6 – numbering things is fun. 7 – is lucky, so I can stop now.
.-= Elly Lou´s last blog…A Day Late (But It Still Counts) =-.


March 23, 2010 at 2:01 pm

What a conundrum…having to clean it before christening it. Also, I had a friend in college that did the exact same thing as Vintage Christine only she had two black eyes that she then got sunburned and they turned chrusty. Very nice. I could never rally back after the drunk induced vomit. Time for bed!
.-= A Vapid Blonde´s last blog… =-.


Jessica March 23, 2010 at 2:03 pm

Could it be some kind of vasovagal response? My mom gets something similar.

Have you ever taken Zantac as an H2 blocker? In addition to being an antacid, it can be used for certain kinds of allergic reactions. I take it myself to help with allergies. I’d definitely go to the doctor. Hope you figure that out soon!


Andrea March 23, 2010 at 2:11 pm

Oh, my. For this you are certainly my hero. Can you come show me how to properly puke? I am SO bad at puking! If I have to puke, there are tears, hours of anxiety while trying to talk myself out of it, dramatic moans and groans while the stomach churns, and then finally FINALLY the painful event. I can’t remember the last time I puked — I do it so infrequently because it is very much a big horrific deal to me! This may be another reason to hate myself — I am bad at puking. Boo hoo hoo.

So lessons please? :)
.-= Andrea´s last blog…"We Weren’t Born To Follow" =-.


subWOW March 23, 2010 at 9:07 pm

I will hold your hair when you throw up. 😉


Jack March 23, 2010 at 6:10 pm

if men could get pregnant, we’d have found a cure for morning sickness before we’d sent a man to the moon.

I always enjoy these comments because they are funny. Ok, I suspect that women don’t find them to be as funny as men do, but…

Anyhoo, as someone who has spent more than a few moments closing business deals at bars/restaurants I have a simple trick that works well. I tip the bartender to pour drinks that are watered down. Works beautifully.
.-= Jack´s last blog…Grandma’s Dying & Grandpa Has Cancer =-.


subWOW March 23, 2010 at 9:07 pm

Thank you for the great tip! :-)


Diane Laney Fitzpatrick March 23, 2010 at 6:14 pm


Just kidding. I can take it. I threw up during all three of my labors, from start to finish. It runs in my family. My older sister told me that’s how I’d know I was in labor – I would throw up. She wasn’t kidding.

I think Secret Agent Woman is right – you most certainly have vertigo. Go to the doc, she’ll give you a pill and you’ll be better in a few days. My husband had it for weeks once. Not fun!


Velva March 23, 2010 at 7:06 pm

Allergies are causing your nausea, really? Do you think it might be vertigo? Have you seen your doctor?

btw, I am a complete pansy drinker. I can’t hold my liquor. Once in a buzz mode, I move quickly to visiting the porcelain goddess. I could drink noone under the table. Very sad.
.-= Velva´s last blog…Sunday Sauce =-.


Kate March 23, 2010 at 7:32 pm

You’re the first and only person I know who (obviously felt the need to) provide relevant credentials in order to talk about throwing up.

I’m with Elly: you sound much worse than how I was during chemo. And you sound worse than how I was when I was having “food poisoning”-like symptoms in the second trimester.
Finally, since I rarely throw up when I drink, I’m sure you can “out-puke” me on that one too.

Now I hope you feel better, you over-achiever you 😀

p.s., I’m very impressed with how calm the kids were when their mom announced that she was going to throw up in the middle of a meal. “OK, mom” they said nonchalantly. So did they finish dinner like you asked them to?
.-= Kate´s last blog… =-.


subWOW March 23, 2010 at 9:06 pm

They are used to it. My oldest definitely since he was almost 5 when I had my youngest and he listened to me every day. I did make it very clear to them that it’s not an eating disorder. For one thing: I am not losing any weight! Thank goodness they are not traumatized.


subWOW March 23, 2010 at 9:17 pm

Oh, and they did finish dinner because I bribed them with cookies. Bribery works. And it’s been sanctioned by my mother-in-law so I am golden. 😉


subWOW March 23, 2010 at 9:08 pm

Dear all, thank you for giving it to me straight: I AM seeing a doctor tomorrow.

And I AM going to bed now.



Miss B March 23, 2010 at 9:41 pm

I almost envy you — not the puking, of course, but the ease of it. The nonchalance. I am rather extremely vomit-phobic. I rarely throw up — when hungover, is about the only time, and that is rare enough these days — and I have never, ever been able to even come close to forcing myself to do it, even when it would be obviously preferable to feeling nauseated for hours. The very idea makes me shudder.
.-= Miss B´s last blog…Background Noise =-.


Amber March 23, 2010 at 9:47 pm

I can relate. I have the horrible morning sickness as well. oh, you want gross details? Let’s see…pee comes out when I’m puking. Thus, I peed on the toilet while puking in a bowl. Yeah. It was great fun. Puking 20+ times a day. Thank goodness for IV’s.
.-= Amber´s last blog…Guest Post: Natalie =-.


TheKitchenWitch March 24, 2010 at 6:53 am

Man, I I had serious barfs with Miss D.

I can’t believe you can actually go back to the table and drink again after you throw up! You are a Woman of Substance!!!

I had to laugh (and gag) and the Trainspotting visual.
.-= TheKitchenWitch´s last blog…Better Burger with Green Olives =-.


Robin March 24, 2010 at 7:19 am

I haven’t read this but after what you said on twitter just wanted to mention again you might have what my SIL has. If you want to talk to her I can mention it to her. She had the same problems and it turned out to be something in regular beer so she can’t drink it anymore and can only drink Guinness. Just thought I’d throw it out there.
.-= Robin´s last blog…I’m A Tattletale =-.


Unknown Mami March 24, 2010 at 1:24 pm

I don’t remember much of Train Spotting, but I will never forget the toilet scene, it resembles my recurring nightmares. Now I have to go re-read Nausea.
.-= Unknown Mami´s last blog…I Comment Therefore I Am =-.


Jen @ NathanRising March 31, 2010 at 8:34 pm

Oh girl, I feel for you! I, too, had severe morning sickness (scratch that, ALL-day-and-ALL-night-long sickness.) Except I never mastered the art of holding it. Everything made me puke. The smell of cigarette smoke. The sight of any food other than saltines. The sound of someone farting. My own farts. (OMG did I just admit that!?) And I hated throwing up because I’d puke and puke until I had completely evacuated my stomach of all contents, then I’d dry heave. Not fun. I hope you can find some relief soon!!!
.-= Jen @ NathanRising´s last blog…Uniquely Nathan =-.


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