4.28.2009

Learning to read without getting sick

I have canceled my parking pass and purchased a monthly metro pass, resulting in saving money on gas, reducing my carbon footprint, and increasing my free time in the day. A few days ago I posted about how my leisure time has been all off balance and that I would like to restore some activities, particularly reading books and my OT mags. But to do this, I would have to overcome carsickness...

OK, it's embarrassing, but true, I used to get carsick all the time. Honestly, it's probably all related to my sensory processing differences that were not identified as a child, but that's another story. I did progress in my teens to not needing Dramamine-induced sleep to make it through any trip with a curve in the road, and even was able to watch movies on the TV in our van (not a handheld) with great success. In the past few years though, I would say that I have taken a few steps backward. Fewer journeys out to rural locations for school and girl scouting events have put me out of touch with the country roads, but now at least I am able to drive when feeling ill and thus avert crisis. Never at any time was I able to overcome my vestibular problem and be able to read or operate a handheld device in a moving vehicle, and I can't even remember the last time I tried.

It never made sense to try- the risk was not worth the reward, and I could always talk to my companions. But now I have 30+ minutes of unoccupied silent time on the metro. It is a smooth ride in comparison to other transportation options. I thought that in order to make use of this time for my chosen pursuits that it would be worth it. I am not an expert on inner-ear issues or vestibular function, but it just seems that this system should be trainable. So I am trying-

Day 1- I read straight through my trip, with minimal nausea. On my return trip home, I got a nasty headache in addition to the nausea which persisted through the evening.
Day 2- I tried my husband's idea of reading in brief spurts and then looking up in the train. No discomfort during the trip, but afterwards developed low grade nausea and headache that lasted til bedtime and seemed to get worse through the day.

Neither day a success, obviously, and I am reluctant to try again in the morning as it was a very unpleasant day at work.

I have tried most every product and strategy to alleviate motion sickness in the past. I cannot find my Sea Bands. I cannot take Dramamine in the morning as I will fall asleep, can't take Bonine because it doesn't work for me. Club soda and gingerale are also ineffective. I am thoroughly disappointed by the LACK of information on the internet about anyone trying to overcome this problem and learn to read in the car, most information is on preventing motion sickness in general. The most relevant posting I could find was this monstrosity, and there wasn't even anything on metafilter. This reminds me of the internet of 1996, where it was not uncommon to not find anything on the topic you searched... you could just forget about finding obscure lyrics.

One of my new coworkers is a PT who works with people who have BPPV. (I had been informally tested for this in the past by a PTA and it was negative) But, she has a greater understanding of the inner ear than I do and believes that through some adaptation I should be able to achieve my goal. We are planning a consult for when we are not busy (ha. ha. ha.). Until we can meet and determine a plan of action, I am issuing a call for help from the internet.

I know that reading exacerbates the problem, but it is a MAIN occupation of mine. Trust me, I have heard the suggestion to do audiobooks- it is not a viable solution for me. (for 1, I want to read magazines, 2- I don't process auditory information as thoroughly, 3- reading is a treat for me which is why I want to devote more time to it). So I am taking any sensible ideas for how I can read on the metro that don't have the word "audiobook" in them. If I ever do find something that works, I will post it here, so that at least on some little corner of the internet, there will be information. I can't be the only one who wants to overcome the issue.

4 comments:

Garfield said...

I did a search for how to read in a car without getting a headache and came across this blog. I am also searching for a remedy. If I find one, I'll let you know. :-)

Cheryl said...

Updated: http://otnotes.blogspot.com/2009/06/update-on-reading-without-getting-sick.html

Mireya said...

My name is Mireya. I am also going through the exact same thing. I just got on google to see if i too could find a way to read on the train without those horrible headaches that last thoughout the day. Motion sickness is the worst when reading is actually something you enjoy doing. I came across this blog. I cannot find anything, but if I do I will let you know.

Cheryl said...

my best bet has been using the sea-bands in conjunction w/ sitting near the front of the train, not touching the side, and facing front. Good luck!