Friday, December 29, 2006

Last Day of Vacation

So, today is the last day of my beach vacation and I am trying to make the most of it. Here I am intrepidly driving our rental boat out to the ocean to search for sharks...okay, in reality, I am sitting behind the wheel for the first time, and when I mentioned I was driving, everyone left and took the keys--except for Glenn who stayed to take my picture. I am not much of a sailor and prefer land to water but it is really beautiful here and I wouldn't mind learning to sail--except for the sea sickness part, and the preferring land to water thing and I don't like jellyfish. Oh, never mind, I think a city destination will be on my next vacation agenda. But, I have had a really good time and my winter blues are gone!


Blogger tomcal said...

As an amateur photographer, I have to know. That is 1 shot out of how many in the session?

5:57 PM, December 29, 2006  
Blogger Helen said...


Just one, of course. Actually, about three or four, I am impatient when it comes to getting my picture made. I like being behind the camera, not in front of it.

6:21 PM, December 29, 2006  
Blogger El Duderino said...

Come to Connecticut and visit Mystic Seaport where you may learn to sail in boats that are too small to get sea sick in, you may go for a swim but you probably won't barf. After Key West, Mystic in the spring would be a nice trip.

6:23 PM, December 29, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Great news on the winter blues! Happy New Year!


6:44 PM, December 29, 2006  
Blogger tomcal said...

Just like my wife Janet. But I don't believe you. To achieve such a perfect shot, revealing enough to inspire the imagination, and with exactly the right amount of self-questioning modesty, it's a one in a million shot; there have to be more out-takes. :)

Have a safe trip home and Happy New Year!

8:32 PM, December 29, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Look at that relaxed look on your radiant face. That must have been a good vacation.

8:49 PM, December 29, 2006  
Blogger DADvocate said...

"intrepidly!?" Oh, my.

I like driving boats. There's a lot more space to drive around in before you hit something and no stop signs or traffic lights and usually no speed limits, just no wake in the harbor/dock areas. Which always makes me wonder why people sleep so much in docked boats. :-)

8:56 PM, December 29, 2006  
Blogger tomcal said...

Interesting comment about sea sickness Dr. I can remember being so sea sick as a child that even thinking of going on a boat made me sick.

In college, thinking I wanted a career as a pilot, I went through about 150 hours (actual flight time)of training before going for the coveted INSTRUMENT RATING. During that phase of training, you learn to keep control of the plane by focusing on the instruments and ignoring all of the contradictory information coming from the middle ear and other physical sensations. I puked many times but eventually learned that it was primarily the anxiety about becoming sick that made me sick, and the sickness went away. The primary rule is "if the instruments are wrong, you are dead anyway".

Then I met Janet and her father had a (ominous music) SAILBOAT. I immediately felt sick at the prospect of having to go to sea in order to win the heart of my new love. But I was able shut off the nausea almost instantly by just imagining myself as Pilot-in-Command of an airplane in a thunderstorm. Boats now: No problem.

Subequently, I went through aerobatic training. This made me sick during the first flight, and the rest of that day. But the next day, having meditated on the Pilot-in-Command in a thunderstorm scenario, I did just fine and have never experienced any motion sickness again.

My experience has lead me to believe that motion sickness is primarily Psychological; the result of anxiety produced by conflicting neural inputs to the brain - middle ear, visual, g-forces, etc., and can be overcome by anyone with systematic desensitization.

Am I right?

10:36 PM, December 29, 2006  
Blogger DRJ said...

Dramamine and suntans. Sounds like a great holiday to me.

12:06 AM, December 30, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Cool! Helen in a two-piece!

More cheesecake!

Oh, wait. This is a Serious Blog.

Sorry. Never mind.


1:39 AM, December 30, 2006  
Blogger SFN said...

As a professional photographer, I'll let tomcal in on a little secret that obviously Glenn has already figured out... cheat! Start with a gorgeous model with a strong personality and you're 90% of the way there.

1:50 AM, December 30, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dr. Helen sort of looks like a cross between Andie Mcdowell and someone...not sure who.


7:28 AM, December 30, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Lamont: Dr Helen can be both beautiful and serious. Most of her critics don't seem like they're either. Guess that's why they come across as jealous and not very bright.

7:51 AM, December 30, 2006  
Blogger Helen said...


When did I say this was a serious blog? As long as I am not posing with Clinton, what's the problem?

8:21 AM, December 30, 2006  
Blogger Mark in Texas said...

Nice photo.

To be honest, though, I kind of miss the old blog photo where Dr.Helen looks like Andie McDowell's younger, cuter sister.

12:12 PM, December 30, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

So does that mean we CAN have more cheesecake?


Respecter of Intellect AND Hotness

1:06 PM, December 30, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dear Helen:

Something tells me that if you did pose for a poster opportunity with Bubba, it would be a sure sign of the Apocalypse.

2:35 PM, December 30, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

...insert curse word here...

I meant "...pose for a photo opportunity..."

Senility encroaches....

2:37 PM, December 30, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I remember watching Groundhog Day, over and over, because of its interesting comic Outer Limits theme. But somewhere in the movie I finally noticed how beautiful Andie McDowell was. Its the same with Dr. Helen's blog.


4:19 PM, December 30, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm envious. My husband and I have a dream of starting a tradition of getting the heck out of Dodge to some tropical location every Christmas.

The boating bit wouldn't be my thing, but I could handle some baking on the beach with a trashy novel and a pina colada while the rest of them do their waterskiing or whatever.

5:03 PM, December 30, 2006  
Blogger Helen said...


Do you really think motion sickness is psychological in origin? I have tried very hard to overcome mine--I also did pilot's training at 14 and had no motion sickness until I got older. I now get motion sickness all of the time, no matter what I do. I am woozy just from riding in a car--I would love to overcome it as it limits me from ever taking a cruise or doing other types of traveling.

6:22 PM, December 30, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

From my Naval experience, people who worried about getting seasick (even if they'd never been to sea) got sick.

I know physical symptoms can be passed on by mental worries. For example - I tend to pass out when my blood is drawn. I didn't use to, until I donated blood too often and got sick. Then, anytime I saw my blood, out I went. I have been (with mixed success) working on consciously *NOT* going out when bloodwork is done.

Just my two cents worth. BTW, nice picture!

8:03 PM, December 30, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm with Bruce. You look totally relaxed, now! When he's been working way too hard for way too long with no break, and then we go on vacation, at some point I look at him and say, "Ah, there's the look I've been waiting for." It's when all the stress, all the worry about getting jobs out the door, and the pure physical fatigue are resolved.

Count me in on wanting a cure for motion sickness. I've had far more trouble with Benign Positional Vertigo this year, than ever before. Finally talked to the doc' and spent 5 or 6 months taking Antivert, until the BPS finally backed off. I know that wasn't psychological, because I wasn't thinking about being dizzy, when it started. And I thought, 20 years ago, that I had outgrown the motion sickness, but I haven't. Rats!

8:30 PM, December 30, 2006  
Blogger tomcal said...


Well, you unfortunately have the other problems of your heart medications and defibrillator/pacemaker - whatever it is. I'm completely unqualified to comment on how those might affect the whole dynamic.

I'm not completely unfamiliar with the trauma you have gone through. I have a very close friend and business partner whose heart story is different from yours in that he is a he, the onset was at about age 55 (15 years ago), it was atrial rather than ventricular fibrillation, and no herniation. They had a lot more time to screw around with drugs (with little success) before in the end he had a complete RF ablation of the AV node, a pacemaker, etc., to keep him going. I saw with him almost every day as he struggled through his problems, which for now have stabilized.

But…. One of the things we love to do is sea kayak in the caves long the north side of Santa Cruz Island, California. We were doing it so long ago that people would stop us at the harbor and ask us where we got those “plastic boats”. This activity is, or was (the government took the island from its private owners by an eminent domain action, which included Blackhawk helicopters, so now you have to sign up with a guided tour; but that’s another story) a real adventure in that if you screwed up, you could die. The caves go back as far as a quarter mile, it’s totally dark in there except for your headlamp, and the wave action lifts you up and down 10 feet at a time. With every new med, he would get sick the first few times out, but would eventually overcome it. His feeling was that he just had to “re-train his brain”.

So yes, in my single case study, anecdotal evidence based, humble opinion, you can power your way through and ultimately overcome it.


12:08 AM, December 31, 2006  
Blogger tomcal said...

My link in the above failed, it was:

sea kayak in the caves long
the north side of Santa Cruz Island, California


12:13 AM, December 31, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I can remember getting car sick as a child. We lived in Europe, and it was particularly bad when sitting in the back seat while driving a mountain road. The "cure" back then was a bandaid over the belly button. (I swear!) But it ever worked for us. My guess is that it was done on the assumption that motion sickness was psychological. It's not. My parents would let us take turns riding in the front seat, and that actually did give some relief.

The ancient cure for sailors was to face the direction in which the boat is travelling and to focus on the horizon. That seems to fit with the relief we used to get by sitting in the front seat.

I still can't read or do close work such as embroidery while riding in the car.

I'm also a migraine sufferer. I wonder if there's a connection there? My youngest brother also suffered from motion sickness, and as an adult has migraines. The middle brother had neither motion sickness as a child nor migraines as an adult.

12:20 AM, December 31, 2006  
Blogger tomcal said...


12:21 AM, December 31, 2006  
Blogger tomcal said...

anon 12:20: As I said, I am no expert, my experience is anecdotal.

Those scopalomine patches seem to work well for people. You put one on under your ear, every day I think.

I have a Dr. friend who prescribed them for an older paient going on a cruise. The patient ended up suffering from hallucinations and other because he followed the directions precisely, he put one on every day. After 7 days, he had 7 patches on, 4 on one side and 3 on the other

12:29 AM, December 31, 2006  
Blogger tomcal said...

How is it that everything comes back around to overly-intrusive government, no matter how hard I try to stay away from the subject?

The following link tells the story of the National Park Service takeover of Santa Cruz Island by military force:

Santa Cruz Raid

1:05 AM, December 31, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

When I first was attached to a Navy squadron, I got my "select passenger" authorization, and took advantage of every empty back seat in our fighters I could get, approximately one per week. Now, I get car sick very easily, and my first tactical hops predictably generated about one bag full per hop, but once I heaved, I was good for the rest of the hop. Then somewhere around the twenty hour mark, the airsickness just disappeared. Completely. I actually became a useful addition in the backseat. I am certain that were I to resume flying that way, I'd get sick again, but it's possible to speculate that I got adapted enough to the dogfighting environment that I didn't fixate on my nausea.

12:49 PM, December 31, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dear Dr. Helen:

This sounds weird, but it has worked for several friends of mine: eat some of that pink pickled ginger you normally see in Japanese restaurants. I have no explanation why it might stave off motion sickness, but it seems to work for some people.

12:51 PM, December 31, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi Dr.

I don't know how much is psychological and how much not, but motion sickness can be trained out. For awhile our astronauts were getting motion sickness, until someone realized that training had been cut back. So back up went the training and the motion sickness went back down. Maybe you'll have to go to the amusement park every day for a week before your next cruise or flight (:-))

12:52 PM, December 31, 2006  
Blogger DRJ said...

Dr. Helen,

I'm no expert but I've had experience with motion sickness in several family members. As Eric Blair notes, ginger helps some people and that's probably because it's a powerful anti-nausea agent. Most people who get airsick or seasick are actually struggling with nausea and related symptoms from the disruption of their inner ear and equilibrium. That's also why it helps to ride in the front seat of car, because it helps you focus on looking ahead and avoids the onset of nausea from this vertigo-like condition. And this probably isn't a new condition because the words nausea and nautical come from the same root.

Here's one of several good websites that discuss motion sickness, including its causes, symptoms, and treatments. I heartily endorse the advice to take an antihistimine like Dramamine, which is designed for motion sickness, or the old reliable Benadryl. It's just my opinion but motion sickness is probably related to an immune abnomality - people who suffer from motion sickness also frequently have allergies - and that's why it may seem like a psychological disorder. Just as our allergies can wax and wane depending on the seasons and climate, the symptoms of motion sickness can also come and go. But it helps most people to premedicate and keep the symptoms from starting in the first place.

3:07 PM, December 31, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Just looking at your picture has helped cure my winter blues.

9:25 PM, December 31, 2006  
Blogger Helen said...

Thanks to everyone for the tips on motion sickness! I am back at home and my ears are still ringing from the long car ride but now that I am out of moving vehicles, the motion sickness is subsiding.

Darth Versluys:

Helen Pundit--I like it and it is certainly more original than my name, Helen Smith.

6:36 AM, January 01, 2007  
Blogger LoafingOaf said...

Nice picture!

You look sort of like Andie MacDowell in it.

11:31 PM, January 01, 2007  
Blogger Serket said...

I don't like that outfit on you, probably because I am about half your age. However, I think it is admirable that you are comfortable enough with yourself to wear it.

4:02 PM, March 21, 2007  
Blogger Helen said...


Thanks for weighing in on the bitchfest side.

8:25 AM, March 27, 2007  
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