Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Hand me that bag!

Today was my first real experience of air sickness. (I know, thanks for sharing. :-))

I mentioned in this post how I had taken to the air for my traffic reporting. Since that day, I've been up twice on my own with the pilot. Each time, the ride has been a bit bumpier than the time before.

The plane didn't go up at all the previous couple days, with crosswinds of over 50 mph thanks to the nor'easter that hung around. So we went up this morning. I have to admit that this experience has gotten me used to turbulence; I hope I won't fear it anymore on an airliner. IOW, I would be scared by how choppy air would come up suddenly. In one sense, it's no longer a big deal.

Today, however, I experienced the other sense.

As the morning went on, the air got progressively worse, with unequal warning leading to updrafts. It got really bad as we headed into Virginia over the Dulles Toll Road and I-66. Now I'm not as familiar with the exits on these roads, so I had to refer to my atlas. And I think that's where the problems started.

The first thing I noticed was how hot and sweaty I was becoming all of a sudden. Then, I could feel the gears start reversing in my digestive system. I'm glad that all it did was back things up into my esophagus; I didn't leave anything in the plane, although I wanted to.

I'm sure the pilot noticed before I did; he asked me if I were doing all right. I said yes and that I was getting used to the turbulence . . . which, as I said above, I was. But soon the imbalances became too much. We had to curtail the flight early. When I arrived at the bathroom at the airfield, I noticed that my face was totally devoid of color.

So the moral of the story is that, if I do this again in a small plane, try to look at maps and such as little as possible, or elevate them to eye level if I can.

How have you fared with air sickness?


Mom2BJM said...

Thankfully, never really had it!

dragonflies said...

me neither. But DD did. It was no fun. Then again, she had seasickness once too. Poor Cyggie and poor DD

Kimberly M., a.k.a. KimberlyKnits said...

I've only been airsick once, and it was completely freaky, because I've never had airsickness before. We were coming in for a landing at BWI under stormy weather, the plane was bumping on the way down, and one bump jostled my inner workings enough to cause the reverse gears inside my digestive tract. Up and out, a second later, and I was thoroughly embarrassed.

I was on one flight where a woman became ill during the flight to the point where the flight attendants called for "anyone with medical training" to come forward. Since I'd had a lot of first aid training at jbex (and unfortunately have a lot of medical experience due to my illnesses), I came forward to find a woman who looked completely out of it, unable to hold her head up, gaze drifting, etc. It took me all of 1 minute looking at her, taking her pulse, watching her pupils, and asking questions of her spouse to figure out what was wrong: Low blood sugar. I turned to the flight attendant and requested a cup of orange juice, then gave it to her and told her husband to help her hold it so she could drink it.

By this time, a paramedic who'd been in the bathroom had come to join me, and I reported my observations and what I'd done. He went and fetched his stethoscope and BP cuff, and by the time he got back to me, the OJ had kicked in and the woman was no longer cross-eyed and was actually able to speak again. He took her blood pressure and agreed that she probably was just hypoglycemic, but requested that the airline have paramedics standing by when the plane landed.

At this point, we began a very rapid descent to BWI, so rapid that the passenger behind the woman developed a bad nose bleed, and I saw several passengers reach for airsickness bags. I attended to the nosebleeder, the paramedic attended to the rapidly-recovering low sugar woman, and we were on the ground probably less than 10 minutes later.

So, I've been airsick and I've treated airsick folk. Lots o' fun.