April 5, 2009 § 1 Comment
Ever since I can remember, I have been terrified of puking.
The last time it happened to me, I believe I was around eight years old, and I was sick with the stomach flu. My family was having lunch at the place next to Diho Market [my mom loves to eat 豆浆油条] but I couldn’t eat anything because my stomach was hurting, and I thought it was just indigestion so I went and sat on a toilet in the dark and dirty bathroom for a long time with no progress, and when we got back home to Downer’s Grove, I threw up the little I had eaten.
I came close a couple of times since then. During high school, all sophomores were required to take swimming for a quarter. The first day, we underwent a sort of test to place us in either the higher or lower level swimming class. My mom put me in swimming classes when I was younger, so I was never bad at swimming, but as I got older I acquired a dislike for the activity, so by sophomore year it had been a few years since I had gone swimming — I wore my swimsuit from middle school — and my stamina had decreased significantly.
After swimming a complete lap as quickly as we could, along with some other things that I forget, we returned to the locker rooms where I sat on a bench and tried to control the nausea that had suddenly sprouted within me. Thankfully, my lunch period was right after PE, so I was free to recover while the rest of my classmates left and the next class started arriving. I honestly thought I was going to vomit, and didn’t want to partly because I knew it would be unpleasant, but also how embarrassing would it be to puke in the school locker room, especially after a mere trial run of PE swimming? I prayed like crazy for my insides to calm down, and eventually I made it out of the locker room okay.
There have also been times where I thoughtlessly gorged on something I would normally never eat, like cheese puffs [the texture definitely pales in comparison to the comparatively dense crunchiness of regular Cheetos], then became filled with regret [as well as empty calories], and literally sat in front of the toilet wishing I had the willpower to stick the back end of my toothbrush into my throat to empty my stomach. I was thisclose to developing a more serious eating disorder, but cowardice got the best of me [I’ll win the battle next time! …kidding].
Last Wednesday, the streak was broken. For dinner at Bible study, we had meatloaf and mashed potatoes, graciously prepared by JF and co., and it was pretty successful. AM for one couldn’t stop raving about how delicious the meatloaf was, and everyone else enjoyed it too. I liked it as well, although my eating was constantly disrupted by the large chunks of dried bay leaf I kept finding in my food; those things are non-chewable and are used for flavor, not ingestion. I noticed that the meatloaf was quite oily, but hunger convinced me to look past the pools of grease. I really should have listened to my brain and not my stomach — although I can consume vast amounts of candy and carbs without dire consequence, I usually take care to avoid greasy food.
I’m not sure if it was the meatloaf that did it [since I was the only one who got sick that night], but I started feeling queasy on my way back from Bible study and blamed it on eating too much. This time, though, the feeling didn’t go away. As I sat at my desk trying to concentrate on the task at hand, my stomach just would not settle.
Really? I thought. Is this REALLY happening, God? The nausea finally sent me to the kitchen sink, where I stood coughing. “Are you alright?” asked Roomie #2 from the living room. “No,” I responded weakly, right before I started retching. When I later told Roomie #1 that I had thrown up in the kitchen sink, she was actually a little upset [to be clear, I DID clean up after myself]. This surprised me, because it seemed like a better location than the toilet. The sink was the perfect height for me, and although I might be comfortable puking into my toilet at home, there was no way I was going to put my face near the toilet of our crusty old apartment. Besides, ever heard of backsplash?! It’s not like the contents of my stomach were exiting at the speed of an old donkey pulling a defective cart.
I don’t think I’ve yet adequately described my aversion to vomiting. I generally have a low pain threshold — I’ve never broken a bone and the last time I had surgery was at two years of age [it probably didn’t hurt but surgery terrifies me too], and so any suggestion of a new kind of pain is avoided like the plague. Puking is not usually regarded as physically painful per se unless blood is involved, but let’s just say that a big reason I would like to avoid pregnancy if at all possible is because of morning sickness. Really, God, really? Being a bloated and grouchy incubator isn’t bad enough — you have to throw vomit in there too?? [It’s funnier if you imagine me as Amy or Seth exclaiming that, because they are always in my head whenever I implement that word as a question of verification.]
Anyhow, I wasn’t pleased to greet my dinner again, but the experience wasn’t as horrible as I thought it would be. Thinking the ordeal was over, I brushed my teeth and went back to business. Half an hour later, my not-quite-yet-empty stomach began churning again. Noooo, I thought morosely. By this time I had noticed that whenever it’s time to say hello to past meals, my mouth salivates like crazy. I stumbled into the kitchen again and emptied more of my stomach. The second time was rather violent — my eyes were leaking, my nose was dripping, and stuff seemed to shoot out of my throat with greater force [I’m really trying to use euphemisms to the best of my abilities here]. Concerned, Roomie #2 suggested that I drink something lest I become dehydrated, so I sipped on liquids and took some Tums. It had to be over now.
The nausea remained, however. By this time it was around 1AM, but I knew I wouldn’t be able to fall asleep with such discomfort swimming around in me. I eventually vomited one last time, which was more painful than the first two because my stomach was mostly hollow by that time and it involved a lot of dry-heaving. Roomie #2 gave me some Pepto-Bismol chewable pills, which I took, and promptly went to bed.
I woke up the next day feeling better [skipping my 930AM class probably had something to do with it] but still a little queasy, and was afraid to eat anything so I stuck to eating only apples and PB&J sandwiches. I guess I’ll never find out for sure what made me vomit that night, but you can be sure that I will never go near meatloaf ever again [too many painful memories]. Thinking about it still agitates my stomach.