8 January 2005

A guide to throwing up on aeroplanes

sea-bandsNot many people enjoy flying, especially in aircraft. By the time I was 9 I had already been around the world more than 6 times based on air miles, and every one of them was spent clutching the barf bag like a comforter. I can’t remember a single flight on which I didn’t have occasion to use it on take-off, but the culmination was that famous school flight to Whyalla in northern South Australia during which I threw up on my friend Martin. That my friendship with him survived that incident is a great testimony to, well, something or other. Ironically, the plane was a Focker Friendship.

Flying was ever thus for me. As an adult I began to commute around Australia with terrifying regularity, and each flight left me greener than the last. I tried every pharmaceutical remedy known to humanity. Most left me spaced out or completely dehydrated. That seems to be a good outcome at a party, but not on a flight.

Finally, a pharmacist put me on to Sea-Bands and my life was changed forever. These little elasticated wristbands look like they’ve fallen off a 1/3 scale John McEnroe doll, and have a hard plastic ‘button’ in them which presses on an acupressure point on each wrist.

Frankly, I am the world’s biggest sceptic when it comes to his sort of thing. I am no fan of accubabble, and have no credible scientific explanation for their operation, but dammit, Sea-Bands work! From the first moment I flew with them, I have thrown up not once, and almost every flight has been pleasurable. After a lifetime of air-vomit, what a surprise it is to find myself coming off flights feeling fresher than when I went on.

I’ll try to describe the difference I experience without too much intimate detail about diced carrots. I have always had that sensation of my stomach rising as the plane begins its first major ascent. Previously my stomach would start to rise, then keep rising until it had come out of my mouth into the sick bag or onto the poor wretch beside me. With the Sea-Bands, that rising sensation just seems to stop a moment after it begins. In practice it’s pretty dramatic, and works even in the car. When I have car sick passengers I point out to them firstly where the electric window controls are, then where the acupressure point is, and tell them to press down there with their thumbs. In several years my upholstery has not been soiled by spew on a single occasion.

And I’m happy to report that Sea-Bands acquitted themselves with great aplomb on their first major overseas assignment. Despite a great deal of turbulence, especially from Singapore to Frankfurt, I flew well.

For me, Sea-Bands really have been life changing, and I recommend them without hesitation. There are competitors out there which may work just as well, but Sea-Bands are subtler-looking than other brands I’ve seen, and no-one want to advertise being a ‘bad flyer’.Go to eebahgum!

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