What is a time of joy for many women was my darkest hour.
Nothing makes my upper lip sweat more than some good ol'-fashioned nausea.
Though I often inhabit the calm, collected persona of "the person you'd most like to set your bones in the wilderness," my default is a skin-picking maelstrom of anxiety-induced tummy troubles.
If you catch me with my jaw set and my eyes determined but distant, you might think I'm mentally penning the final chapter of my historical romance, Liberty Cat, but I'm most likely begging myself not to vomit.
"Please don't barf, please don't barf, please don't barf..." is more than an internal monologue; it's a way of life.
Nausea is my nemesis. It has been for as long as I can remember. No party, wedding, or trip to Disneyland has been without the silent wish "I hope I don't feel sick today." As an anxious person, sometimes just thinking about nausea can nauseate me. (That and the smell of Play-Doh — vile stuff.)
But I have a defense. I don't know if there's SCIENCE behind it, or if it's just kind of a "Dumbo's magic feather" thing. I don't care. Whatever it is, it almost immediately stops my nausea in its tracks and dulls my panic.
What is it?
Friends, meet Pak Fah Yeow ("white flower oil") or White Flower Embrocation.
A holdover from my childhood, and my mother's childhood, and my grandmother's childhood, Pak Fah Yeow is like safety in a bottle to me. It smells like my grandmother's sweater, her bedroom in Hong Kong, and cold, rainy days home from school in Seattle.
To you it probably smells more like wintergreen oil, menthol, eucalyptus oil, lavender oil, and camphor.
I never leave home without this pretty little bottle.
When I start to feel the nausea and ensuing panic rise in my throat, a few sniffs or a couple of dabs of the not-greasy oil on my pulse points or nose help me to talk myself down from the vomit ledge. I swear I'm not getting paid by the Pak Fah Yeow people, I JUST LOVE IT SO!
Aside from its nausea-curing powers, Pak Fah Yeow also helps with stuffy noses, muscle aches, headaches, and bug bites among other things. And while folks in Hong Kong can buy it at pretty much any 7-Eleven or drugstore, you all with access to Amazon can buy it there. (Or in your local Chinatown.)
So that's my go-to nausea remedy, what's yours?
If you too are one of the Easily Nauseated in this cruel world, you know that you can never have too many remedies.