Choking back the Gag #3

Someone once told me that the best response to the gag reflex is to smile. Whoever said it was probably deranged since no one in their right mind would be able to smile while they are gagging, but that is what I heard. Since I would never be able to smile while dealing with situations where vomit is involved, I choose to do it after the fact and cover the whole occurrence with a generous dose of humor…and baking soda.


Due to motion sickness, our second daughter has been able to take us to the next level when it comes to vomiting. She specializes in locations with a high density of people in small areas. Her focus is on small, capsule like rooms such as airplanes, subways, buses, taxi cabs, minivans, and any other enclosed space with a lock on the door. She easily gets motion sickness when traveling, so the idea of traveling makes her nervous. Food helps her cope with that nervousness. You could call this a distressing cycle, and you would be correct.

We had been staying in Arizona for several weeks with family when international borders were shutting down, and all air travel was being affected. COVID19 had entered the scene, and the news was buzzing with this mysterious virus which was flowing out of China.

In case of a full lockdown, we had no intentions of overstaying our already overextended welcome in our relatives’ guest rooms. With news reports blaring, we hastily rescheduled our return flights, and threw everything in bags. In the pre-dawn hours, we pulled our three kids out of their beds, buckled them into the rental car, and drove to the Phoenix airport.

Our family split up to deal with the rental car and the flight check-in. While my wife managed standby procedures, I dropped off the keys for the car. Our second daughter and I stepped into the shuttle bus for the main terminal. And that is when we nearly made headline news.

What observers thought, I have no idea, but I can tell you what they saw.

A shuttle bus of hushed conversations about a killer flu virus spreading around the world.

A small Asian girl speaking Chinese and broken English to her father and then throwing up on her lap.

A desperate father getting his daughter out of the bus before the doors shut, holding her out as she vomits again on the bus floor.

A kind woman handing us our luggage before the bus doors close.

Passengers staring out their windows at us as she pukes again on the terminal floor.

There are not enough wet wipes in the world to eliminate the mess and smell of puke on a child’s clothing. That fact because all too clear when you are just starting out on a very long day of traveling.