Subject: fear of flying?!
Hi Kim and other fearful flyers,

I sometimes fantasize about White Knuckle Airlines, in which each passenger is assigned a personal attendant who helps the passenger relax, transforms turbulence into a fun amusement park ride, and explains all the odd assorted noises. As one who can't stand roller coasters (I'm even squeamish about the simulated roller coasters in which you don't actually go anywhere), I especially loathe turbulence. I know we've all experienced it, but the turbulence that accompanies flights up and down the coast during winter is the worst I've ever had--so I feel for Kim, especially given the nasty weather we've been having lately.

Last summer my family went on a number of plane trips, including our trip to Europe. At the start of each flight, I took a 2mg Ativan/lorazepam--a benzodiazepine that works as a muscle relaxant. It was wonderful--did not make me sleepy or less functional (four kids to manage; needed to continue functioning) though I have only dim memories of the flight itself (a common side effect of large doses). The benzos can be addictive, but if you only take them when you fly, that shouldn't be a problem.

I have not gone anywhere since 9/11, but, like many people, am not that terrified of terrorists. After spending most of winter break with 6 teens in my home, I figure I could take them on.

JoAnne in suddenly sunny Silicon Valley