Friday, July 23, 2010

Sea Sickness

Some people say they never get seasick, but I don’t believe them. If you are one of those people who never get seasick I hereby invite you to come disassemble my toilet, in tropical heat, bent over as the boat launches off 10 foot swells.

One of my favorite sea sickness stories is from the 2001 Around Long Island Race. We were in rough conditions on the south shore of Long Island and I started turning green. A few minutes later I was hugging the leeward winch and depositing my lunch in the Atlantic. My friend Drake was at the helm and he found my misfortune quite funny. He teased me about getting sick and I quietly retired to my bunk. Twenty minutes later I heard “huahhhhh huaggghhhh.” Peaking outside I could see Drake in the same position I had been in and I couldn’t stop laughing. My seasickness was cured.

Seasickness is worst for me when I have an empty stomach, try to focus my attention on a small area like reading or when I am bending over. The worst is when all three are combined. I have only been seasick to the point of throwing up 1 time in the last 20 years of sailing. I can usually cure any nausea I have by taking a nap or taking a Dramamine which makes so tired, I end up taking a nap. There is a “Less drowsy” Dramamine which still makes me very drowsy.

This offshore trip I tried a Transderm Scopolamine patch. It’s about the size of a nickel and it sticks behind your ear. The patch disperses medicine for 3 days. I hadn’t planned on using it. I got a prescription in case someone became violently ill. At that point it is too late to give them Dramamine.

After using Scopolamine I have to say I am hooked. I shouldn’t say hooked, (it’s a drug) but I would definitely use it again if the conditions called for it. I was only drowsy the first night and I was able to complete tasks that make me seasick now, just thinking about them. I was able to read in the unventilated V-berth, temperature around 90 degrees, as the boat hurdled off of waves, leaving me weightless, then crashing into the next. I even cooked dinner and did dishes in those conditions.

As an added bonus, there were times that the Scopolamine made me feel quite nice. Most drugs that can cause confusion, agitation, rambling speech, hallucinations, paranoid behaviors, and delusions should make you feel good. Joking aside, seasickness can be as debilitating as severe pain and keep you from carrying out necessary duties at sea. The Scopolamine patch allowed me to perform tasks I could not have done if I was falling asleep on Dramamine or holding a winch and vomiting over the side. Keep a pack next to the painkillers in the “just in case” category next time you go to sea.

1 comment:

  1. Good info! Thanks, and glad to hear it worked. Guess you're in N.C. by now?