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Let's Panic: The Book!

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How to Endure and Possibly Triumph Over the Adorable Tyrant
who Will Ruin Your Body, Destroy Your Life, Liquefy Your Brain,
and Finally Turn You
into a Worthwhile
Human Being.

Written by Alice Bradley and Eden Kennedy

Some Books
I'm In...

Sleep Is
For The Weak

Chicago Review Press

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Let's Panic

The site that inspired the book!

At LET'S PANIC ABOUT BABIES, Eden Kennedy and I share our hard-won wisdom and tell you exactly what to think and feel and do, whether you're about to have a baby or already did and don't know what to do with it. → 

« And when I say “practically,” I mean “forcefully.” | Main | Soon they will be gone, and I will dance upon their eensy graves. »

Mysteries of the mind and body—not explained!

Henry’s formerly rose-colored eyes (now back to their regularly scheduled whiteness) reminded me of this story my brother told many years back, about a friend of a friend who had this disorder wherein if she didn’t take her special medication every few hours, her eyes would pop out of her head. This story is remarkable not just in the fact that he told it, and that I believed it wholly and without the teensiest glimmer-ette of doubt, or that I told it to all kinds of people, none of whom believed me, but that last year I recounted the tale back to my brother, who looked at me like I was criminally insane. What are you talking about? He said. Who? Eyes popping out of what? Why?

I wanted it to be true so bad that I argued with him for a while, but he continued to glare the glare of the angrily sane at me, and I was forced to give it up. So now I’ll never know. Either he made it up or I did, or no one did and I don’t really exist. Or this is a little like when I was eight and told everyone—because I knew with all that was good and pure in my heart—that Olivia Newton-John had once been married to Elton John. Thus the hyphen. Actually this is nothing like the ONJ thing, which I’m still not over because shouldn’t that be true?

Back to the strange maladies: I experience a nightly…experience (fuck it, I’m not checking a thesaurus) that I’m pretty sure is mine and mine alone. Please dissuade me of this notion, or at least explain what’s going on, o you who do not do enough for me already. You know when you’re falling asleep, and suddenly you’re falling but not really falling and you wake up just before your dreaming self hits the dream-ground? I have that, except different! And here’s how different: instead of falling, I’m suddenly overcome by intense nausea. And just as I wake up, lurching out of bed in the hopes of not soiling my sheets, poof, it’s gone.

You’d think this would keep me up the rest of the night—especially because I haven’t thrown up since I was nine and I have a little bitty phobia when it comes to the act. But this pre-sleep faux-vomit been going on for twenty-three years, so by now I’m all casual about it. Puzzled, but casual. And I know it’s been that long because I brought it up in eighth grade health class, right after it first happened, and everyone went ewwww. This was my classmates’ reaction to almost anything I said or did or wore. Or ate.

In their defense, I was partial to deviled ham.

Reader Comments (99)

This just in: YOU'RE STILL FUNNY. Film at 11.
August 27, 2006 | Unregistered Commenterwordgirl
When my uncle was young, he convinced my mom and aunt that he could speak Polish and would curse at them in made up words. My mom didn't find out until much later that he just made that up. Our family still uses those curse words today. It drives my husband nuts.

August 28, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterMegan
When my sister was little she was annoying my brother and I by ringing the doorbell and then hiding so we would come to the door repeatedly. Well, once we figured her out (we were, obviously, young too, hence the falling for it for a little while) we told her that if you rang the doorbell too much the basement would flood. She believed us until she was about 14 and she yelled at someone for ringing the doorbell too much therefore possibly causing the basement to flood. When they looked at her funny, it clicked that maybe we that wasn't exactly possible. But we did still laugh at her for believing it for 7 plus years.

I've had the nausea thing before. It really is weird, isn't it? It just happens to me rarely and very sporadically, but I hate when it does happen.
August 28, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterJessie
You know what is worse than jerking awake with the falling sensation when going to sleep? Being married to someone who does it an average of five times before actually going to sleep. He will be awake one moment and then the next, he violently jerks his entire body and moans. It scares the living hell out of me when I'm falling asleep too but I guess I should be used to it by now. Don't know about the nausea but I can weigh in on the TMJ issue. I do have TMJ, had surgery, wear a splint, etc. but I don't have nausea with it.
August 28, 2006 | Unregistered Commenterkim
I vote for acit reflux or GERD as my doctor called it. I was doing something similar except there were times I'd fall asleep and wake up because I WAS CHOKING. Turns out I was choking on my own stomach juices!!!!

Now I take my Prilosec OTC every day and it's never happened again.
August 28, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterHope
my friend in high school once convinced the kids she babysat that when they grew up, they would be cows.

and they had to practice now (err, back then), when they were little.

imagine that mom coming home to see her kids crawling around the front lawn, lipping grass and mooing.

i have done my share of child brainwashing, however.
August 28, 2006 | Unregistered Commenteramy
OH!I remembered another one.

In WA state, they have bumps on the road on top of the dotted lines separating the lanes. So if you change lanes, you'll often hit the little bumps and it makes a noise. We would call them 'turtles', or 'braille'.

Well, my brother had a friend visit from another state, and she heard him call the bumps 'braille' and her eyes got all wide, and she asked, "braille??"

And of course, that was when my brother told her with a straight face, "Yes, braille. So blind people can drive." I keep reading the comments waiting to hear how someone believed that blind people can drive in WA because of the braille on the road.

August 28, 2006 | Unregistered Commenteramy
I had that same strange nausea thing for three straight months when I was pregnant. Maybe some hormonal weirdness??

August 28, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterNancy
I have that exact same experience whenever I'm about to listen to Dr. Laura.

So weird.
August 28, 2006 | Unregistered Commenterdorothy
Glad the little guy is back to a non-crusty eye!

Maybe you are secretly dreaming about scary visions of PopCulture Past, like wardrobe malfunctions, side ponytails, and Tom Cruise?
August 30, 2006 | Unregistered Commenterkerrianne
No nighty-night nausea here, but I LOVE the idea of Olivia Newton as a beard.
August 31, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterVaguely Urban
I have a dream that the door to my room has slammed shut and it literally wakes me up. But the door is always open.
August 31, 2006 | Unregistered Commenterangharad
I have the jerky thing once in a while, but not the nausea thing.

Come with me on one of my open-water swim competitions and be in wavy ocean water for 6 hours straight, and trust me, you'll end that streak of not puking.

Um... anyone else believe until they were embarrassingly old that the Hall of Presidents at Disney World consisted of real actors? I live near Disney, so we weren't exactly infrequent visitors, and even my 10-year-old sister knew at the time that they were mannequins. My parents STILL bring that up (with much hysterical laughter).
August 31, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterJess
Dear Ms. Slippy, Is something terribly wrong? I didn't know what it was, but I knew I liked it, and now I don't know what to think because it is so mercurial I can practically see right through it. Perhaps you are busy with your new comedic writing? Could we see some of that?
September 1, 2006 | Unregistered Commentersirgirl
Yeah, I've had that same feeling when going to sleep, then the lurching awake with nausea. It's commonly called vertigo.
September 1, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterAmy
Hey! That faux-vomiting thing happens to me, but when i get out of bed scared shitless because i'm going to puke (it's kind of a phobia for me too), i open my mouth and... i burp. Loud. Like a sailor.

Charming, right?

September 1, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterAji Dulce
I bet none of you are aware that the summer I was 10 I single-handedly saved you all from certain annihilation by feeding the monster that lurked in the sewers one pez per day, through the little hole in the manhole covers. It was just enough to placate him, and thus he didn't eat you all.

You're welcome.
September 1, 2006 | Unregistered Commentergrudge girl
Yeah, this must be acid reflux, as someone else mentioned. This has been going on for 23 years and you've never mentioned it to a doctor? I guess you've gotten used to it, but obviously it still freaks you out or you wouldn't have mentioned it. I'd try eating wierd different foods before going to bed and seeing if any of them cause the faux-vomit to dissapear.
September 2, 2006 | Unregistered Commenteremmak
Miss you.
September 4, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterValorie
Might want to check out inner-ear workings. I had a vicious and violent case of vertigo in my 20s -- curiously at the same time Nick Esasky, recently traded to the Red Sox, came down with the same affliction. But I digress.

All kinds of brain testing ruled out insanity, life-threatening tumors, etc., and the experts chalked it up to an inner ear infection. It has come back periodically, often when I'm really exhausted. One symptom is falling asleep and the world whirling like I'm on a bad drunk (I don't drink), to the point where I have to sit up to stop it. Usually I'm lying down on one side. If this only happens to you if you're lying on your side, this might very well be the culprit.Kren (from Brooklyn, NJ and now the woods of Pennsylvania. I kept going west...)
September 4, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterKren
As a new reader I think your blog is FAN-TASTIC. I've read Mightygirl, Dooce, etc, etc, but your blog is by far the most phenominal I've come across! Your writing ... fantastic! The honesty ... awesome! Keep up the good work. I really look foward to reading more.
September 4, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterAmy
You mean Olivia Newton-John *wasn't* married to Elton John? But aren't they both Australian?

I used to think the words to Steve Miller's "Big old jet airliner" were: "Jingo jag & a rhino." I was in college when I got one of those angrily sane stares from a friend, who mocked me mercilessly & still does.
September 5, 2006 | Unregistered Commenternate
Dear Alice,

Where the heck are you?


Your readership
September 5, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterMynah
Alice? Everything ok?Hoping you haven't choked on your faux-vomit...

September 6, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterAlexa

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