Thursday, April 14, 2005


I have a phobia.

I can't have a cool phobia - something like a fear of "white shoes after Labor Day" or the rare fear of "waking up one day with Donald Trump's hair."

Nope. Not me. I got the gross one.

I battle emetophobia - the fear of vomiting.

A lot of people don't think it's a real phobia. I mean, seriously, who really LIKES to barf? Nobody I know. Yet, you know you have crossed the line from "I don't like that" to "phobia" when it turns you into a moron.

Part of my problem is that I'm simply not one to vomit. In 32 years on this planet, I have only thrown up four times, that I recall (my mother begs to differ, seeing how she was spat upon often when I was an infant). The most recent was just last month. I had a Seinfeld streak going (if you're a Seinfeld fan, it was the black-and-white cookie episode). It had been 11 long years since I last "tossed my cookies" (pun TOTALLY intended).

You would think that an 11 year break would be glorious. Unfortunately, because I've crossed into "phobia land," I spent those years always afraid that I MIGHT throw up! My freshman roommate in college had a stomach bug, and I stayed in someone else's room for a week (our suite mates took care of her - I was such a loser!). If someone tells me they've been sick, I start sweating and getting dry mouth. My fear is not so much someone else being sick, but my fear that they might have some sort of germ that will enter my body and make ME sick!

Enter a husband and three children ...

There are therapies available for emetophobes. Some are extensive. Some guarantee results in 24 hours. Yet, I serve a God who is budget conscious AND has a really good sense of humor. He just gave me a family!

My husband doesn't get sick often, but when he does cars actually come to a screeching halt outside our door. There's nothing subtle or quiet about it. Then along comes our daughter, who had reflux. A few more kids later, and the annual virus that floats around ... well, I've had my share of exposure. I've had to just "be the Mommy," give aid to my loved ones and freak out on my own time. If I did catch a bug, I would just lie perfectly still for hours to avoid throwing up. It was tough, especially when your husband is looking at you in hour #8, saying, "Just get it out! You'll feel so much better!"

Which makes no sense to an emetophobe, because then you would be dealing with the even WORSE fear of getting the dry heaves. No thank you. I'll be perfectly fine right here in my quiet ball of misery.

So, it finally happened. Last month I'm at home with our kids and the foster baby. I've been feeling bad all day. Being the dork that I am, I assume it's heartburn and try a vitamin smoothie (whole milk - ugh!!). Just when I think I'm settled, have the baby fed, and think I can wait out the tummy ache ... that dear little angel of a baby poops!!

Needless to say ... eleven years ... down the toilet.

You know what? My husband was right. I did feel better. Hmmmm ... ten years of free real-life therapy. Not too bad!

1 comment:

brittany said...

Ok. I know that you wrote this 5 years ago and you've probably forgotten it, but I just found your blog through Corey and started reading from the beginning, and I have to say: I totally have the opposite of your phobia. I don't so much freak out throwing up myself, but when OTHER people's a problem. I'm actually IN said therapy for it, and I have to take Xanax when I travel after some unfortunate experiences with strangers on planes, and it's a really awful situation, actually. So, I just had to point out how glad I am to hear that a) I'm not the only one, and b) at some point you can just manage to deal. Ha. So, thanks for the inadvertent 5 year old pep talk!