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Do you worry about getting seasick on a cruise?

Do you worry about getting seasick on a cruise?

Old Jul 18th, 2007, 08:06 PM
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Do you worry about getting seasick on a cruise?

NEVER SAY NEVER: GETTING MY SEA LEGS OR HOW I CONQUERED MAL DE MER!

NEVER SAY NEVER
GETTING MY SEA LEGS OR HOW I CONQUERED
MAL de MER!

TRAVELBLOG
By
THE SAVVY OLD LADY©

For all of you first time cruisers and even seasoned cruisers I have a little story to tell you that might bring a smile to your faces and a nod of your heads in agreement; or, maybe not. Read on and tell me.

Let me start at the beginning, (Oh no, yawn, yawn) I’m totally convinced that some people are just born with “Sea Legs”. As for me, from day one, that is day one of life, I suffered from motion sickness. Believe me when I tell you there was no cradle rocking for this baby. My poor parents couldn’t even take me for a ride in the car without first making sure the Little Brown Bag was sitting right next to me. Heck, I even got sick on the Merry-Go-Round as a kid. Later as a young adult I once took a ride on the Staten Island Ferry, in calm NY Harbor and – can you imagine – an acute case of mal de mer on a ferry boat ride. Now that’s pathetic, but what could I do?

Years ago, when I was in my early twenties living in New York City, I remember being invited to a friend’s bon voyage party and I happily attended. Those were the blissful days when land-lovers could visit you on ships and before passenger screenings and non-passenger denials were in place. But alas, after only one hour on that harbor-docked ship I found myself walking down the gangway like a drunk on a spree. And no I wasn’t drinking...I swear it (Okay, maybe one glass of champagne as a toast). Yes, the ship hadn’t moved from the dock but guess what, I felt like I had just crossed the Atlantic in the middle of a typhoon...I was weebling and wobbling and feeling mighty uncomfortable for the next half hour. All I could think was that, sadly, cruising the seven seas, or even circling Manhattan Island on a Circle Line Cruise was never going to be for me.

After my marriage to The Crabby Old Guy (hmmm, he wasn’t crabby then) and the arrival of our five little cherubs, annual family vacations (all on dry land) were all looked forward to with great anticipation. The children always enjoyed our New Year’s Day Feast since it was then that we all would sit at the table, (for almost fifteen years), filling ourselves on lamb, ham, roast beef, pasta and the traditional bean soup (for good luck) and whatever else Chef Daddy prepared, and plan our annual family vacation. It was a great tradition and it beat all the resolutions we knew we never would keep.

As the kids reached their teenage years taking trips to places like Disneyworld became a thing of the past - we were told in no uncertain terms by one spokesman for the clan that it just wasn’t “cool” to go there at their age anymore. Yoo-hoo guys, we are not going to take you to Cancun or Cabo San Lucas on spring break and forget Club Med. Anyone else hear this sort of thing or is it just my kids? At any rate we had to come up with new ideas. I remember one year The Crabby Old Guy decided we would all go to Las Vegas for a week (that was at the time when the Vegas folks were promoting their town as a “Family Friendly” environment). Oh, big mistake, we spent more money on the kids for arcade games and rides than the price of the entire trip. Let me give you a little tip here unless you are a glutton for punishment...never ever take five teenagers on a three hour nature trip through the desert. To this very day my stomach still does flip flops when I hear some one of them say that they are “bored”. But that is another Travelblog for another time.

Apparently the kids were working on a plan too. I can remember all too clearly the day our eldest son came home telling me that he and his friends were planning a cruise. I could have predicted his next words. ”Why don’t we all go on a cruise for our family vacation?” That really surprised me because our entire family knew never to speak of anything that could possibly involve motion to Mom. The boy is a natural born schemer and dreamer and all I can remember was thinking to myself...quick thinkin’ son, what better way of traveling first class and not have to pay for it than have Mom and Dad foot the bill for everyone? And still there was that little problem of Mal de Mer. I turned to my son and said absolutely, positively “NO! NEVER! I don’t Cruise! The closest I get to the ocean is standing knee deep in waves at the beach”.

A couple of days later, my butter lips son had spoken, or should I say did a sell-job on all of his siblings about the glories of cruising. Now I was hearing the pathetic chant of whining teenagers who wanted to go on a family cruise. Luckily for Dad, he was away on a business trip and didn’t have to endure the performances that were going on in our home. You see, it doesn’t take all that much to wear down a mother when five teenagers decide to do what they do best and that is Tag Team the parent to get what they want. These kids could fight with each other every hour on the hour and even make a Mohammed Ali title bout look tame until the day came when they all agreed on a specific plan and joined forces; immediately the odds were overwhelmingly stacked in their favor and Mom or Dad ended up the loser.

Later one night while this was all going on my husband called home, wanting to hear all of the day’s wonderful events, boy was he in for a surprise. “Well, dear, guess what? The family has finally decided where they want to go on our family vacation this year”, I muttered. “Great, where?” he replied knowing that the previous New Year’s Day the seven of us couldn’t agree on a destination. “Well if it’s okay with you we are all going on a cruise to the Western Caribbean.” Let me tell you explosive laughter filled the airwaves as he sputtered out, “How in the world did they ever convince you to get on a ship?” “Darling, I don’t even want to go there. Suffice it to say, if my head winds up staring at just one toilet bowl I swear I will get off at the very next port of call and fly home alone and then they will be all yours!!!!” Still choking on laughter Hubby, who is a pharmacist, had a plan, “Joan, first thing tomorrow call your doctor and get yourself a prescription for The Patch.” “Okay dear, but what the heck is The Patch?” “It’s a little round medicated disk smaller than the size of a dime that you place behind your ear. It slowly releases very small amounts of medication through the skin that prevents motion sickness. You won’t have to swallow anything and because such small amounts are directly adsorbed into the system the side effects are quite minimal.” “Hmmm, Ok, dear, but that doctor better give me enough patches to cover my entire body.”

Well, needless to say, our first cruise turned out to be one of our best vacations ever! Mom wore her trusty patch from the moment she got to the cruise terminal (Yes, I knew I was on terra firma but the mere sight of the ship was enough to start me worrying) and viola, no sea sickness. That is how The Savvy Old Lady (well, maybe then I was simply The Savvy Lady) finally found her “Sea Legs”. Suddenly overnight I (along with my family) became addicted to cruising.

I know there are so many people like me who would love to cruise but fear getting sea sick and ruining a long awaited vacation. However, if you check with your doctor, she or he will tell you that there are many medications and techniques now that can and will prevent it from happening. While The Patch may not be for everyone, it sure is tops on my and many other cruisers’ list of things to use for worry free cruising. Another little tip to help overcome seasickness that I learned from a friend who was a cargo and tanker water pilot on the St. Laurence Seaway and is now a Captain on a cruise ship is to eat small meals or snacks every few hours. Seasickness usually occurs when the food in your stomach has digested, so keep on snacking – remember, if you are prone to this malady snacking, not gorging. He also told me that one of the many reasons the cruise ships are constantly serving food is to prevent those passengers who are sensitive to motion from getting sick

I will admit after taking many, many cruises I now thoroughly enjoy being rocked to sleep by the ship’s gentle motion and usually have my best night’s sleep when on board. I even enjoy those lovely catnaps on my balcony or at poolside while cruising the beautiful oceans of the world. If only The Savvy Old Lady could figure out a way to transport her own king sized bed aboard the ship...then it would be perfect.

Yes, as you might have guessed, on each and every cruise The Crabby Old Guy turns to me and says, “Didn’t you say you would NEVER EVER take a cruise?” I smile and simply say, “It’s a woman’s prerogative to change her mind.” and I think to myself I will NEVER SAY NEVER AGAIN!

Stay Savvy.

Hugs,
The Savvy Old Lady ©



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Old Jul 19th, 2007, 07:36 AM
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Hi Joan,

Enjoyed your story. We started cruising in 2002 and I did get a prescription for the patch to take with me "as insurance" even though I had never had a queasy moment in my life. I carried those patches with me for 3 years and 6 cruises until I decided they were past their expiration date. Never used one. The potential side effects gave me the heebie-geebies.

Since then I took the advice of many other seasoned cruisers and carry Bonine with me when I travel. In 10 cruises I've taken one tablet --- and that was more of a preventative than curative measure. I sailed from NYC to San Juan on the Crown last year and the waters off the east coast can be pretty rocky at times. At the mere hint of feeling a bit woozy I took the tablet.

Oddly, I have periodic episodes of extreme vertigo on dry land. Never happened at sea (yet).

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Old Jul 19th, 2007, 08:28 AM
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Hey Savvy and Sway..........have you heard of Mal du Debarkment?? I LOVE cruising and never get seasick, however several days after the cruise I feel like a drunken sailor. I apparently get "sea legs" but forget to leave them on the ship when I disembark!! With every subsequent cruise it lasts a little longer. (After the two week Panama cruise in March it was six weeks.) We are leaving for a two weeker in the Mediterranean and I am already dreading the after-effects. If anyone has ANY suggestions please post them!!
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Old Jul 19th, 2007, 10:43 AM
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Thank you SOL. Actually I hear often from those who have never cruised worries about seasickness. My better half gets car sick too so cruising for us was never in the picture for quite some time. Then one yr. she just decided to be for taking a cruise. I suppose she had heard to her satisfaction that motion is not usually an issue and that has, with one notable exception, been the case. However last yr. we cruised Tahiti in, at times rough seas on a relatively small boat AND in a cabin all the way forward. Ouch! We really felt the seas and she really felt BAD! We had to actually see the ships MD for help to settle her down. She prescribed phenergan which did a good job, albeit make her sleepy so she took only small doses. What really did the trick was moving to a cabin amidships which became available to us when its occupants had to depart early due to illness. So for those who are afraid of motion sickness do get a cabin amidhips and low, try to sail on a larger ship and hope for calm seas. Actually unless you get caught in some really bad weather having the first two should be enough and meds are usually an effective adjunct if needed. BTW our MD, from England tols us they don't use the patch anymore due to reports of unpleasant SE's. And as always SOL keep em coming. Larry
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Old Jul 19th, 2007, 11:58 AM
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Hi Patmike,
I did a bit of checking around, including The Crabby Old Guy, about your mal de disembarkation question.

There are lots of folks who, after cruising, need a bit of time to get their landlubber legs back when they get off the ship. This also happens when the kids get off of a wild ride. This is normal. The inner-ear, visual and tactile senses on the bottoms of our feet and other body parts that help us stay upright and keep us balanced when we walk, (my husband says “…walking is just controlled falling…” such a cynic) sometimes needs a bit of time to re-compensate. I too remember weebling and wobbling after getting onto land, particularly after a couple of days at sea.

But, I’m told, that this re-compensation should only take a little while; minutes in most cases but probably not anywhere near the amount of time you mention in your note. I think it is also a bit unusual for you to feel that it takes you longer and longer to get your land legs back. So, my advice would be to have it checked out by your physician before your next cruise (for sound piece of mind) or if you like go to an ENT (Ear Nose and Throat) specialist; if you don’t know one of these folks check with your county medical association or go to the ENT folks web site at www.entnet.org. Getting good and qualified medical advice about something that is unusual is the savvy thing to do. Happy Sailing!

Stay Savvy! Hugs,

The Savvy Old Lady ©
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Old Jul 19th, 2007, 12:18 PM
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Hi Larry,

Thanks for the heads up. Guess I'll have to have The Crabby Old Guy do some indepth research for us on the side effects of the Patch.

Stay Savvy! Hugs,

The Savvy Old Lady (c)
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Old Jul 19th, 2007, 12:18 PM
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my husband started getting motion sickness on theme park rides several years ago so, when we started cruising, he wore *the patch*. We never knew if he needed it but he never got sea sick, so he was happy. After several successful cruises without any side effects he woke up on the 3rd day of our most recent cruise with a bright red rash all over his face, neck and upper body. He woke up in the night itching and saw that he was covered with this rash. We already knew about the most common side effects so he got out the bag that the patch came in and read all of the side effects and found toward the bottom was the rash side effect. He immediately took his patch off and the rash started clearing up within hours. He did feel a little queasy later in the cruise so he bought some wrist bands and wore those on the rougest sea days. The remaining patches went into the trash and he'll never take a chance with them again.
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Old Jul 19th, 2007, 03:56 PM
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Hi SOL; Actually you just never know. For some there will never be a SE, for others ther will SE's right away and for still others SE's could come after lots of usage. We have taken lariam as a malarial preventitive several times w/o incident but others get loco from it. I suppose all you can do is stick with what has proven to work for you in the past and even then you just don't know.
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Old Jul 19th, 2007, 06:54 PM
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Thanks for bringing up the matter of side-effects. You are right, not all medications, treatments or techniques work for all people. It is highly individualized. I remember when I took a common pill my blood pressure went through the roof and I became dizzy and really sick. Why me? Tens of millions of other folks around the world took that med and were just fine, but no not me. So I found another way to mange the situation.

The patch, TransdermScope ®, and other types of meds are available only by prescription because they do have side effects and should not be used in some – and that is to protect you and so you can discuss your individual needs with a physician, pharmacist, nurse or PA. The other ways to manage Mal de Mer can also be helpful to folks who can’t or don’t want to use prescription meds. The Savvy Old Lady is not an expert in all of these so I don’t want to give more advice than an old mom should.

Stay Savvy! Wishing you all calm seas and sunny days.
Hugs,

The Savvy Old Lady©

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Old Jul 20th, 2007, 07:05 PM
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Come to the lounge Savvy. I think you would be a great addition to the craziness that happens there. I mean to imply anything negative I love your report and your style is a breath of fresh air. Come on over, as long as youre not political of course. LOL
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Old Jul 21st, 2007, 06:37 AM
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No- not since I discovered sea bands and acupuncture.

Bloom
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