Tuesday, April 29th, 2014
24

How To Not Barf

The norovirus and various other lesser but still debilitating stomach-oriented bugs are making the spring rounds—"Rhode Island Wedding Results in 74 Norovirus Victims"!—including possibly around the edges of our office. I recently missed four days of work—really my first stretch of sick time in five years. I did, basically, think that I was going to die. There were some dark nights of solemn contemplation of life, and if it was worth living. I also got a great head start on my swimsuit season weight loss, so boo-yah! Also I can eat again now.

And I did it all without barfing. I have only barfed twice in the last 25 years. (Have I just jinxed myself? Oh well, so be it.) As a very happy emetophobe, here are my secrets.

Compulsive hand-washing is the greatest thing. Do you wash your hands upon entering the office, leaving the office, entering your home, leaving your home? And whenever other opportunities present themselves? Do you never touch doors and subway poles? Congratulations, you're way ahead of the game.



Don't get on cruise ships. I mean, this goes without saying.


• Barfing in subway station trashcans is totally legit. People will scurry away from you, but so what? This is New York City, everyone has seen worse. Barf on the street or on a subway platform with pride!

But. Barfing on subways is not good for anyone. When I had to leave the office the other week, I had to wait for three trains, because it wasn't till the third that there were old-school unlocked train doors between cars. No, you shouldn't ride between the cars ever. But if you're not sure you're going to make it home, I suppose the least humiliating thing to do is risk your life by briefly stepping out to puke between cars. (Please don't die though!) Your other good option is plastic deli bag. :/


• Most people tend to get home and nest in a sickbed and pass out. This is incorrect. First you have to begin treatment.



Since some mysterious conspiracy halted the production of Maalox a few years ago (why!), your answer is a multi-cocktail. GO BIG. You'd be surprised how much of this stuff you can take without poisoning yourself in a new way! (Yes, do use as directed.) Sure, the thing is, you'll maybe feel a little better sooner if you barf. But, if you play your cards right, you actually don't have to. This is about as good as a cocktail gets, without going to the hospital for Anzemet or Zofran. Take, rest, hydrate, repeat. You will feel like garbage. If you smoke, keep smoking through it. Honestly, weed probably helps too, I wouldn't know.

Another pro tip: antihistamines are also used as anti-nausea drugs. Is your Pepto not cutting it? Add a Benadryl! (Let's note again that I'm not a doctor and this is not medical advice.) Bonus to that is you'll also pass out for four hours probably too.


Goodbye coffee, goodbye dairy, goodbye all fun things. At some point you may try to eat any of the following, one bite at a time:

* white toast with the crusts cut off.
* saltines.
* nope, that's about it.

Plus, of course, lots of seltzer or flat water as your body dictates. (I like mine room temperature!)


• Around now, you will be tempted to barf a lot. KEEP FOCUS. Pour some Pepto into that. Listen to your body, and then DO THE OPPOSITE.




• At some point, a day or two later, you may consider rice, applesauce or bananas. You will likely have watched a LOT OF TV by then.


• Around about day three, you should have a spoonful of good yogurt or a probiotic pill. Soon after that, weak black tea, without sugar. At some point, you will start tapering off the over-the-counters.


• Suddenly, one day, you will feel like a new person. Coffee and chocolate are the two last things that can be restored to your diet. Cheese is like, the antepenultimate thing, right after things like lettuce or bran. Usually that's five to seven days after onset of illness. By then you'll be eating plain pasta, butter on your toast, maybe even a non-bitter fruit if you're feeling kinda scurvy-ridden. Cream of Wheat! Never forget the joys of Cream of Wheat.

Together, we can end barfing. Let's hold hands. And then wash them furiously in scalding water.





Photo by "abbamouse."

24 Comments / Post A Comment

KarenUhOh (#19)

Having launched exactly three (3) times since a spell-inducing flu at age five, I will tell you there is no substitute for pathological DISGUST with the act. Morbid, shoot-me-first revulsion at this most abhorrent of physical reactions.

Having said that, it's far worse to watch someone else cough it up: horrible panic if it's a loved one; outright anger if it's a stranger.

Anecdote: as a foolish youth, I routinely warded off the heaves by drinking a tall glass of whole milk. Right now, that makes me feel like #4 is coming on; but I was young and stupid.

Weed tooooooooootally helps, FYI.

dorkus (#246,717)

@antarctica starts here

Yesyesyesandyes. Everything else is placebo, I'm pretty sure.

jfruh (#713)

@antarctica starts here yeah, isn't like the whole point of weed as a cancer therapy that it helps combat the nausea from the chemo/radiation so that you can actually take in nourishment?

@jfruh bingo also makes laying on the couch and watching adventure time more fun

flossy (#1,402)

If you grew up in NYC through high school and didn't master the ol' "puke between subway cars" trick, you either didn't have much of a life, or you had a life but went through it puking inside subway cars and everyone hated you.

k_wilson@twitter (#214,330)

Additional tip: do not get pregnant.

Matt Buchanan (#232,205)

The norovirus and various other lesser but still debilitating stomach-oriented bugs are making the spring rounds—"Rhode Island Wedding Results in 74 Norovirus Victims"!—including possibly around the edges of our office. I recently missed four days of work—really my first stretch of sick time in five years. I did, basically, think that I was going to die. There were some dark nights of solemn contemplation of life, and if it was worth living. I also got a great head start on my swimsuit season weight loss, so boo-yah! Also I can eat again now.

And I did it all without pooping. I have only pooped twice in the last 25 years. (Have I just jinxed myself? Oh well, so be it.) As a very happy emetophobe, here are my secrets.

• Compulsive hand-washing is the greatest thing. Do you wash your hands upon entering the office, leaving the office, entering your home, leaving your home? And whenever other opportunities present themselves? Do you never touch doors and subway poles? Congratulations, you're way ahead of the game.

• Don't get on cruise ships. I mean, this goes without saying.

• Pooping in subway station trashcans is totally legit. People will scurry away from you, but so what? This is New York City, everyone has seen worse. Poop on the street or on a subway platform with pride!

But. Pooping on subways is not good for anyone. When I had to leave the office the other week, I had to wait for three trains, because it wasn't till the third that there were old-school unlocked train doors between cars. No, you shouldn't ride between the cars ever. But if you're not sure you're going to make it home, I suppose the least humiliating thing to do is risk your life by briefly stepping out to puke between cars. (Please don't die though!) Your other good option is plastic deli bag. :/

• Most people tend to get home and nest in a sickbed and pass out. This is incorrect. First you have to begin treatment.

Since some mysterious conspiracy halted the production of Maalox a few years ago (why!), your answer is a multi-cocktail. GO BIG. You'd be surprised how much of this stuff you can take without poisoning yourself in a new way! (Yes, do use as directed.) Sure, the thing is, you'll maybe feel a little better sooner if you poop. But, if you play your cards right, you actually don't have to. This is about as good as a cocktail gets, without going to the hospital for Anzemet or Zofran. Take, rest, hydrate, repeat. You will feel like garbage. If you smoke, keep smoking through it. Honestly, weed probably helps too, I wouldn't know.

Another pro tip: antihistamines are also used as anti-pooping drugs. Is your Pepto not cutting it? Add a Benadryl! (Let's note again that I'm not a doctor and this is not medical advice.) Bonus to that is you'll also pass out for four hours probably too.

• Goodbye coffee, goodbye dairy, goodbye all fun things. At some point you may try to eat any of the following, one bite at a time:

* white toast with the crusts cut off.
* saltines.
* nope, that's about it.

Plus, of course, lots of seltzer or flat water as your body dictates. (I like mine room temperature!)

• Around now, you will be tempted to poop a lot. KEEP FOCUS. Pour some Pepto into that. Listen to your body, and then DO THE OPPOSITE.

• At some point, a day or two later, you may consider rice, applesauce or bananas. You will likely have watched a LOT OF TV by then.

• Around about day three, you should have a spoonful of good yogurt or a probiotic pill. Soon after that, weak black tea, without sugar. At some point, you will start tapering off the over-the-counters.

• Suddenly, one day, you will feel like a new person. Coffee and chocolate are the two last things that can be restored to your diet. Cheese is like, the antepenultimate thing, right after things like lettuce or bran. Usually that's five to seven days after onset of illness. By then you'll be eating plain pasta, butter on your toast, maybe even a non-bitter fruit if you're feeling kinda scurvy-ridden. Cream of Wheat! Never forget the joys of Cream of Wheat.

Together, we can end pooping. Let's hold hands. And then wash them furiously in scalding water.

Mr. B (#10,093)

@Matt Buchanan You mean rhypophobe.

Matt Buchanan (#232,205)

@Mr. B whoops

laurel (#4,035)

This post is missing Jolie's / the CDC's <3 U Bleachie admonition: wipe every surface everywhere with a solution made with "5 tablespoons to 1.5 cups of household bleach per 1 gallon of water".

HereKitty (#2,713)

EMETROL. Emetrol, Emetrol, Emetrol. You're welcome.

iantenna (#5,160)

at the risk of sounding too much like the crunchy granola dipshit i am constantly fighting back into the recesses of my personality, activated charcoal works for REAL. and grapefruit seed extract as a preemptive measure.

Logan5 (#233,031)

I am a lifetime emetophobe and have had some epic vomit-avoidance adventures. I've even been through four cycles of chemotherapy and radiation for cancer and only threw up twice, which I consider a personal best. Some personally learned tips not covered in this excellent write-up:

1. Avoidance of throwing up when your body needs to (or your mind has tricked your body into thinking it needs to) is all about one thing: THE REMOVAL OF FEAR. Deep breathing, mental imaging, distraction, fresh air, whatever works, or helps.

2. Public transportation terror when you think you might puke is the scariest. As Choire shows by his subway between-car space preference, it's all about the option to hide. Don't knock walking! IF it is possible (like, you live in the same borough). I've walked 50 blocks home (yes) instead of a cab or train all because quickly ducking into a stairway, alley, or less-populated side street somehow seems preferable to me than being trapped in a jerky cab or train (that get's stalled! horrors!). Always after a long, brisk, nervous-y, slightly scary and VERY FOCUSED and also cathartic walk home… I feel calmer, exhausted, and way, way less nauseous. I'm a nervous energy-type. And this is probably not the best thing to do if your body is sicko But as an option this often works for me, mind and body.

3. Half a teaspoon of baking soda dissolved in a small glass of water. This is a "natural" antacid that has always worked amazingly for me, way better than any over-the-counter Tums or Pepcid AC or whatever. Just slowly sip. By the time I finish it my stomach feels great. Nothing seems to top it (ok Pepcid AC is pretty good I guess).

4. A small amount of raw ginger minced up and swallowed with water, or made into a weak tea. Even when you're at your sickest, if you can manage to get this down it works wonders on your digestive system. Really, like magic.

5. To avoid getting sick, or reassure yourself that you are doing so: also try non-diluted regular white vinegar kept in a spray bottle at your workplace. It makes a wonderful non-drying, non-superbug-spawning "antibacterial hand wash." It's harsh enough to kill bad germs, but not so harsh that its killing everything. Kind of mid-range. Use it between the over hand-washing thing (which is good, and you should do, but dries your hands out and then you put lotion on, which is a whole other germ magnet). Just spritz into your palm, rub it all over your hands, and the smell goes away as soon as it dries (which is fast). Very reassuring.

LondonLee (#922)

I can only assume the people who can count the times they've puked up on one hand have never drunk too much alcohol. What the hell were you all doing in your teens and twenties?

KarenUhOh (#19)

@LondonLee Weed.

GailPink (#9,712)

Honestly, and I guess I am in the minority on this, I would much rather barf than feel like I am going to barf.

selysefrost (#226,905)

@GailPink You are not alone – it's so much better to just get it over with than to fight it. Plus, boot & rally!

I'll be honest, Pepto-Bismal always makes me feel way worse. I don't know why.
But yeah, I will raise my hand and admit I'd rather gag myself and vomit than feel like I'm going to vomit. In some cases this is ideal, in other it actually makes it worse. I will say that the last virus I had (late January of this year) I was lucky that if I could sleep, I was fine. About 10 minutes after waking up from a nap I started feeling horrible again, but luckily I was exhausted from vomiting and my body ached like crazy so falling back asleep was not a challenge. I essentially slept on and off for 36 hours. The tip about weed and Benadryl is good to note, it does help, at least for some people. But that is if you can keep it down. I tried it last time at the beginning and instead had violent indigestion that basically made it come back up in the form of spit and stomach acid so it didn't matter. Sorry about the graphics.

anotherkate (#233,200)

Dramamine! I recently went through food poisoning and when I got to the point that I had nothing left in my stomach to throw up, I took a Dramamine out of desperation. It was wonderful, it knocked out the nausea and made me drowsy. I try and avoid Benadryl because it triggers sleep paralysis for me, but no problems with the Dram. It's my new wonder drug.

garlicmustardweed (#264,986)

I puke after three drinks of alcohol, I get motion sickness in cars and buses, I puke when my bloodsugar is low. Oh, and thats just normally. Now I am pregnant. I am an expert puker. For me, most of previous puking has now currently moderated because I've learned to eat small meals every three hours. No fasting. No binging. Oh, like, learning the unfortunately meaning of "moderate" alcohol consumption is only one drink.

*womp womp*

What a bunch of bad advice.
This writer is no health specialist at all.

Just barf. If you're nauseous, your body is trying to rid you of toxins. Even this writer admits, you'll feel better barfing and get better faster than taking all these horrible chemicals which will only trap the poisons in your body and prolong your illness.
Barf the poisons out. Don't take more poisons to keep from barfing.

Is this writer employed by corporations making these products? YOU need to know. Marijuana is the best nausea medication ever invented. And its maker is Nature, the mother of us all. Seek natural remedies always.

AsWeAre (#272,328)

@GivesIt Thought@facebook THANK YOU. Exactly my thoughts. Feel like puking? There's a reason — probably because your body needs to puke. And it knows better than you. That's why puking is usually an involuntary (beyond our willful control) response. Because Nature knows that we're a bunch a neurotic f@ckers who can't be trusted with such decisions. And as for you being so afraid of puking that you'd go to these length — keep it to yourself, Crazy. Go get a shrink. Or grow the f@ck up. Or deal with it in your own crazy way, but have the good sense to be embarrassed by your f*cked-up-ness. Don't write a column online, advising others how to be f@cking insane, too. As Jack once said, "Go sell crazy somewhere else — we're all stocked up here."

Robert Green (#280,932)

Excellent article. Very interesting to read. I really love to read such a nice article software. Thanks! keep rocking!

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