A Doctor’s Experience With Nausea – What the Patient Must be Experiencing?

I come across patients everyday complaining of terrible nausea & vomiting after chemotherapy and I try to console them by saying that it will get better with time. Sometimes, I feel that unless you have experienced something yourself, you cannot explain the feeling to some other person.

I have been fortunate enough not to encounter chemo myself, but my understanding of post chemotherapy nausea and the helplessness which one feels in that situation came during our recent whale watching trip in South Africa. Me, my wife and her sister were in a small boat along with 5 other people searching for whales off the coast of Knysna, South Africa. The three of us suffer from motion sickness but we never anticipated that this boat ride will give us a tough time. The initial 30-40 minutes of the boat ride were quite comfortable, as the water was calm. The problem started when the boat started getting rocked by huge waves in the middle of the ocean. My wife was the first one to get started, followed by her sister. I was sitting in the middle, passing the bucket around from one person to the other. They must have vomited at least 5-6 times during our two hours whale watching trip and there was very little we could do to help them out. In fact, towards the end of the boat ride, I also experienced a terrible pang of nausea, followed by a bout of vomiting. It is at that time I realised what cancer patients must be feeling every time they undergo chemotherapy. It is such a terrible feeling and no amount of medicines or consoling helps at that time.

The only saving grace for us was that we had an excellent whale sighting during our trip and every time someone on the boat vomited (5 out of the 8 members on the boat vomited), the whale used to come out to check on us 🙂 🙂 (attaching some pictures)

Concerned whale checking us out :)

Concerned whale checking us out 🙂

Whale 1