The Challenges of Motion Sickness


This article is part of our Fall 2020 Breaking Barriers. This installment focuses on traveling with a disability. If you'd like to read more stories from this issue, please subscribe to Breaking Barriers

For me, traveling mostly involves managing motion sickness. So whether I ride public transit, take a car, or fly, I have to make sure the solids in my stomach outweigh the liquids. Otherwise, I’ll get sick.

I have to avoid looking at my phone or computer while traveling. Instead, I spend a lot of time looking out the window at well-known sights, whether it’s the regular route I take to get to the mall or the sky over the wing of a plane, because where I sit has a bearing on whether I throw up or not. According to the TV miniseries Mayday, if you want to survive a crash, the safest seat on a plane is at the back, but I usually don’t worry about that. 

For me, getting through a flight without throwing up my lunch is more important than surviving a crash because the worst thing that ever happened to me on a plane is throwing up, and I do that even on solid ground. But it is a nuisance, and I try to avoid it as much as possible. After throwing up all over myself during my first trip by air to Grand Rapids and having to wait until I got to my destination to change, I have also started to take a change of clothes along in my carry-on bag in case that happens again. 

Of course, I take medication along to control this motion sickness, the sort that induces drowsiness because it lasts 12 hours. If you add that to the sedative in my antipsychotic, I get so sleepy that I feel like a zombie. Although all I want is to crash into bed, I still have to get home from the airport before I can do that. Still, I count my blessings, because traveling for many other people living with disabilities is so much more complicated than it is for me.

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This about the motion sickness article.  I, too, have had trouble with motion sickness since a young child.  My father loved to go for Sunday afternoon rides.  I would come back sick.  This is when there were two services that were "required".  He once accused me of getting sick so I couldn't go to church that night.

Well, I discovered something that helps me!  In the medical section of larger grocery chains or your pharmacy, they have packages with two wrist bands.  These strechy bands have a plastic round button inside that you place on your wrist and press!  No kidding! I have no more problem with motion sickness if I wear these.  I have even given them to strangers having trouble and in minutes they are better.  It has no medicine-just pressure points.

Try them - for $ 10 it is worth it!

Esther Korzilius