29 Jan


When is getting sick comical? To the person affected, I am guessing most likely never. For those certain few that get to witness the atrocity, well, it’s not always a black and white situation.

Today, I headed back to New York City. Getting up at 3:30 a.m. wasn’t fun, but it was do-able. I forgot twice to pick up cash at the ATM while my dad drove me to the Des Moines International Airport. Good thing I remembered it at my layover in Chicago for my taxi ride to Newark Penn Station. Anyhoo, after enduring a long security line, I was ready to get on my flight.

It has been stormy the last couple days in the Midwest, so I figured that a turbulent flight was in store. I was correct. At first, I was okay with the whole situation, as I was able to watch the rolling clouds produce a lightning show below. It wasn’t until halfway through the flight when I heard the dreaded sounds of someone getting sick. That was when the flight started to become a bit bumpier than before, and the violent sick sounds started to become much more vocalized. When I saw that the man producing the sounds was sitting in the same row across the plane, I quickly swiveled my body to the airplane window in panic. I am a person with a sensitive stomach and a much more sensitive mind.

Whenever I see someone else get sick, I immediately follow suit. I put my hand over my mouth and tried to think of anything else. Teddy bears. Rainbows. Beaches. The egg sandwich I just ate, oh no! As hard as I tried, I could not think of anything else but getting sick. The thought kept creeping back in my head as the noise continued from behind my turned body.

While the plane tossed and turned as it began its descent, all I wanted was for this nightmare to stop. One of my biggest fears is getting sick in front of a bunch of strangers.

When I was in my early teens, I almost always passed out at church; and in a Catholic mass, it isn’t hard to do. Stand up, sit down, kneel, and repeat. In between the calisthenics, the sand would pile up in my head. My ears started to ring and I would begin to feel very tired. As the black dots appeared in front of my eyes, I would sway. Many times, I was able to run to the back of the church and out the door.

But not that Christmas Eve when I was in the middle school choir smack dab behind the alter. I was standing in the back singing alto when the sensations started to hit me, but I was unable to descend the risers in time. As I crawled underneath the back bar to the floor, I just laid down on the floor while crowds of people came up for communion. So there was the choir singing “Silent Night” with an easy visual of me lying on the ground behind them. Other people knew that I wasn’t in danger after my choir teacher came to check on me, yet, there I lay. It had to look rather amusing to those sitting in the pews.

As I stand in line for coffee at my layover stop, I feel bad for the man who became so sick on my flight. Yet, the only visual I can see is me dry heaving in the next aisle, desperately pressing my face to the plane window – hoping for some escape.

5 Responses to “Mid-Flight”

  1. irishcsred January 29, 2013 at 8:29 pm #

    I am so glad I ran across your blog today! Well done!

  2. Shareen January 29, 2013 at 8:56 pm #

    Oh no! Wish you had a better flight :S

  3. Maurice A. Barry January 29, 2013 at 10:34 pm #

    I hear yuh and a decade ago I could have been that guy. Was in Halifax foe 2 days of meetings and felt kind of queasy on the second day. (And NO, alcohol was not involved in any way.) As the day went on it got worse and I left early to head for the airport. Got worse again. Finally boarded the FULL aircraft feeling rotten but kept saying to myself that it was just mind over matter. I was wrong. Let’s just say that as soon as the pilot hit the thrusters for takeoff, so did I. Dignity—gone. Self respect–gone. Strength—gone. The worst was knowing that the whole aircraft probably figured I’d been drinking or something. Two wretched hours later the thing landed and I got off. Wife met me and I mumbled, ‘get me out of here.’ “What’s wrong with you?” I told her. Turns out the kids (I have four and they would have been between 5 and 12 at the time) had been up all night with the ‘stomach flu’ and she was at the end of her rope too. Miserable all around. But now…and decade later, maybe a bit funny…or not.

    • Carrie Olson January 30, 2013 at 12:11 am #

      Ouch. That sounds absolutely awful … and not funny at all. And I am almost positive the guy on my flight had the stomach flu or some kind of bug, definitely not from drinking too much.

      • Maurice A. Barry January 30, 2013 at 1:10 am #

        Worst possible place to get the bug! Bad for everyone. Anyway ’tis over now and life’s been good! Hey–that was 2000 or 2001 or so.

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