Flying The Sickly Skies

October 30, 2007

in Illness/Medical Stories

I was the inflictor of hell on a flight from Heathrow to Dulles. Toward the tail end of a month long trip to Kenya, several members of my class had battled some mysterious stomach ailment…you see where this is going. By time we had connected from Mombassa to Nairobi and landed in London, I thought I had made it free and clear…until my knees buckled in a duty free shop and the only thing that held me up was my index finger hooked onto a display of Tolberlone bars as I started to go down. I was helped back to our waiting area and then on to the plane to DC. My stomach was reeling and my skin color had dropped a few shades and started to take on a green hue.

As soon as the seat belt light went off the guy in front me cranked his seat back….bad news buddy. Then the smells hit. The lady two rows in front wearing the perfume. The flight attendants in the galley preparing the meals… It was starting to get ugly. The carts started rolling and I had to bury my face in a pillow to minimize the smells. The male flight attendant joked that I apparently had a grand old time in London. I glared at him.

Then the bottom dropped out and I needed to hit a bathroom pronto. Remember…guy in front me has his seat cranked all the way back. I jostle him all over the place trying to GET OUT. I bolt to the bathrooms. There’s a line 6 people deep. With my hand over my mouth and panic in my eyes I ask, “Is this the line? This is an emergency.” A different flight attendant glares at me and says “Honey, with all the passengers on this plane and only 6 bathrooms, everyone is having an emergency.” THANKFULLY, the passenger next in line asked me if I was going to be okay. I said, “No” and he shoved me into the next open door. Let’s just say, I made it, barely.

I finally make it back to my seat. After, 3 or 4 more trips to the bathroom, the guy in front of me insisted on leaving his seat back. Glaring at me every time I attempted to get out and run to the bathroom. At this point I had thrown up every possible fluid in my body. I was exhausted, gaunt, sweaty, smelly. You name the nightmare – that was me.

My stomached started to turn again. I tired to lift myself out of the seat and realized I had lost all my strength. I couldn’t get up and maneuver around the seat. I asked the guy to move. He informed me it was his right to recline the seat. That’s when I grabbed that beautiful white bag in the seat back in from of me and shared my misery with all those around me. I had to do that somewhere between 2 or 3 more times before he finally moved. By then, I was the waking dead. I had resorted to lying on the floor by the emergency exit door by the back galley because I could lay down and suck in cold air. I was relegated back to my seat after the flight attendant told me I couldn’t lie there because I was as safety risk. Um.. we’re at 30,000+ feet. I’m spewing germs everywhere and my laying down at the only source of fresh air is a safety risk. umm priorities, priorities.

Long story short and several beautiful white bags, a “Is there a doctor on board” call, an ambulance on the tarmac, and an over night stay at the hospital, I recovered quite nicely. I don’t know if everyone else did though….

Signed, Sick at 30,000

{ 8 comments… read them below or add one }

Please April 2, 2009 at 11:17 am

Yes, the worst place to be ill is at the airport or on the airplane.


tam April 2, 2009 at 12:17 pm

Not a very nice thought, but I found my self wishing you would have puked on the guy reclining in front of you.

Sorry, but that's just where my mind went.

Then he would have had a story to post on here too.


M April 2, 2009 at 1:30 pm

So I am not the only one wishing that the blissful white bag wasn't there and that the OP had offered his stomach contents upon the arse reclined infront of him


bp April 2, 2009 at 7:36 pm

Buddy, if you knew how bad the sickness could get AND you had the symptoms begin while in London at the airport, you shouldn't have boarded that flight. You caused an issue for everyone around you and for the attendants working that flight. I mean really.. how many times did you puke and you had no clue you'd be that sick? You shouldn't have been flying. If you had gone to the desk prior to takeoff, I'm sure something could have been arranged (or you could use the travel delay insurances some credit cards provide).


Jenni April 2, 2009 at 8:33 pm

I would NOT have gotten on that plane, no way. I would have kept my ass in London and re-scheduled. I was also hoping that you ralphed on that dudes head. I bet he would have put his seat up then!


Anomia April 16, 2009 at 10:16 am

You poor thing!! I'm glad you made it home safely! (And I wish you'd puked on the jerk too.)


Heather April 19, 2009 at 1:02 pm

I wish you had puked on that guy with his seat back. And for all of you saying he should have not got on board…stomach sickness can come on anytime, one second you are okay, next, you've lost your cookies!


Rob April 25, 2009 at 7:10 pm

Been there, done that.

Anyone who refuses to even try to have common courtesy for someone in distress deserves everything they get.

I had a stomach ailment for years that meant when I had to go, I had to go, like right now, and it was very painful to wait.

I met an asshole like the one described in the story. My asshole, (friend, not my personal orifice) appeared in line behind me.

The gates of Heaven opened, but I took the dark side instead. 5 minutes of fun versus an eternity in hell? ah. fun every time.

I shit all over the seat and left it for him. Rude, I know. Sorry about your luck. Next time, simple kindness, when warranted, would be very much appreciated.

Thank God I'm not on crutches. Imagine the possible havoc.


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