There are a lot of directions that I can go with this story. I have a pretty vast and multifaceted history with vomit…I have three children after all. I was going to go into the less humorous, sort of sad personal history that I have with throwing up and not throwing up. Don’t worry, this is something that I live with every day, and I have found a way to come to terms with it, and even to make light of my situation. I reached out to my sister in law yesterday, because aside from my father, she is the only person I know who can really understand my relationship with nausea and vomiting. She knows lots and lots of people who understand it though, because she works with kids who are fighting cancer and other terrible diseases, and those courageous kiddos endure a whole lot more nausea and vomiting along with countless other pains, than most of us can even imagine.
My frequent bouts of nausea and vomiting aren’t caused by anything life threatening. I am gluten intolerant, but I did not limit gluten from my diet entirely until I was around thirty years old, so I am living with thirty years of damage that has been done to my stomach, and only a handful of years of recovery. My stomach is recovering. I feel so much better than I did in my twenties and each year my condition improves. The fragile state of my stomach however, combined with the food allergies that I still have due to ragweed cross-pollinating with fruits and vegetables, makes it easy for an episode to set off. I also have a sensitivity to processed foods and additives, so although I try to be extra careful, and eat very clean homemade foods, sometimes I get sick not even knowing what caused it.
Normally I get dyspeptic, which means that my stomach starts producing mass amounts of gas and I bloat severely. This causes a tight sharp pain that can only be relieved by burping. Sometimes these episodes go on for several hours with me lying nauseous and in pain on the bathroom floor. Sometimes I am nauseous for longer than that, occasionally I have acid reflux, but that can usually be avoided as long as I get some carbohydrates into my stomach. Sometimes the episodes end in throwing up, and I am usually grateful at those times because if I throw up, the pain ends afterwards. I was jokingly telling my sister in law yesterday, that I am always just really thrilled when I don’t throw up so hard that I break the little blood vessels around my eyes.
Nausea is something that a great number of people do not understand, because when it comes to constant unyielding nausea, many people have not experienced it. In my life today, I am rarely nauseous for more than a few hours at a time without relief; that is how I get through it, because I know that there will be an end. Twice in my life however, during my two pregnancies I experienced the unending nausea for three months straight. Even then, I knew that there would be an end to the pain; and yes I do call it pain, because being severely nauseous for days upon days can barely be described to someone who has not experienced it, but it is hellish. What breaks my heart is that I know how many people live with it day after day after day. Some of these people are elderly, many of them suffer from serious diseases, and a great number of them are kids. From knowing about the disease that my sister in law suffered, and the nearly three years that she suffered from unrelenting nausea, I know that although there are drugs available that are supposed to ease or eliminate nausea, many of them are ineffective and often they just aren’t administered because they are dangerous for patients suffering from certain conditions. There was never a drug that the doctors were able to administer that eased her constant nausea…not for three years.
Of all of the arguments that you have probably heard about marijuana, you may not have heard this one before. It is one of the absolute most effective treatments for nausea in existence, it is natural, and it is safer than any other dangerous anti-nausea medication available. It is not something that I wished I had yesterday when something set me off and I laid on the bathroom floor in agony for fifteen minutes before throwing up, but if I had a child who was suffering from nausea for an extended period of time, I would absolutely want to have it available to give to them. At this point mild types of the drug have been isolated that can be administered orally, so I am definitely not talking about anyone smoking anything in a hospital bed, and I won’t even go into the pain-relieving qualities that the drug has as well. My only point is that as compassionate human beings, we need to make sure that it is available to the people who are suffering. Marijuana desperately needs to be available in hospitals in every state, and to people with chronic illnesses; it is the only right thing to do.