Friday, January 04, 2008

Inauspicious Start to Vacation

So there I was.

Excited to begin my annual vacation to Texas, to ring in the new year and celebrate my birthday with our daughter and family.

After cooling my heels for five hours at the airport, I was finally allowed to board my non stop flight via Express Jet. Yeah, in just over three hours I would be on the ground in San Antonio and ready to be enveloped in the love of my daughter, son-in-law and three little grand-girls.

Flying doesn't make me nervous, I just see it as a means to an end -- a quick and efficient way to get where I'm going

So I settle into my window seat, bringing out the newest Nicholas Sparks novel, and prepared for an uneventful flight.

You see where this is going yet?

About forty-five minutes before landing, I wake from a brief twenty minute nap. My stomach had been a little "off" all day, but I had chalked it up to the excitement of the trip. It was stuffy in the cabin, and I fiddled with the air vents for a few minutes, dabbed some water around my face and back of my neck. I thought if I got up and walked to the ladies's room, I might "shake it off" and feel better.

And therein lay my mistake.

About six rows back I (according to eye witnesses) just crumpled into a guy sitting on the aisle to my left, fell, and landed on my back in the middle of the narrow aisle. I don't think I was out long, suddenly aware of voices around me -- "what happened", "is she OK?", "is she diabetic?" and so on and so on. It quickly became apparent they were talking about ME!

The flight attendant was kneeling behind me, asking what my name was, and if I felt OK. Amazingly, now I did! The queasiness and lightheaded feeling was gone! She asked me if I wanted to sit up, and slowly I did. I brought my hand back around from where it had been cradling my neck, felt something sticky, and realized I had blood all over my hand.

I heard the young flight attendant say " Oh, oh, she's bleeding/" And then I was aware of another person hovering around me. He introduced himself as Brian, a surgical tech in the US Air Force, stationed at Lackland AFB in San Antonio. He pretty much took over. They applied pressure to the top of my head and got me a cold rag for the back of my necck. Brian found the cut and reassured me it wasn't bad, but was bleeding pretty profusely partly because head wounds do that, and partly because of the altitude we were flying at.

They wrapped my head up like a mummy, taped the gauze down, and got me into a seat. The flight attendant told me the pilot wanted to divert to El Paso, which was twenty minutes away (backtracking). We were forty minutes away from San Antonio. I told her I didn't want to divert, but to keep on going. I assured her I had someone waiting for me. Then she announces the clincher "Don't worry, honey, the paramedics are standing by at the gate."

My biggest nightmare -- being the center of attention!

Somehow I get through it all, the paramedics reassure me it doesn't even need stitches, but they would be glad to transport me to the hospital if that was my choice. I reassured them I felt fine, I signed off on all of their forms, denying further treatment, etc.

I was apparently quite a sight, arriving at baggage claim with an airport police escort, clothing rumpled and hair matted in blood, but none the worse for the wear!

Ain't life grand!

And as Forrest Gump says "That's all I have to say about that."