Severe Pain Traumatizes Traveler

December 6, 2011

in Airport Stories

For a few years now I’ve had plantar fasciitis in both feet, and problems with both my Achilles tendons as a result of a running injury. Generally I know how to minimise the problems and they have little effect on my day-to-day life, unless I’ve been on my feet a lot. Earlier this summer, I was on antibiotics which have a known side effect of causing tendon inflammation and exacerbating existing tendon inflammation. After a few days on the antibiotics I was struggling to walk without significant pain.

I live in Edinburgh and my boyfriend lives in Essex. I flew to London Stansted to spend the weekend with my boyfriend and attend a friend’s 40th birthday party. The Sunday I was due to fly back was the first weekend after the English schools broke up for the summer – I hadn’t realised this because the Scottish schools break up at different times, so it hadn’t occurred to me the airport might be very busy.

My boyfriend dropped me at Stansted about 90 minutes before my flight time. I checked in with no problem and limped to security. The queue for security was the longest queue I’ve ever seen in my life, and moving very slowly. As I got further along the queue I could see why – the security staff were scanning all the hand luggage, hand searching it, and then sending it back through the scanner. So everything was taking 3 0r 4 times longer than it should. I waited and waited and waited, with the minutes ticking away, and didn’t get my hand luggage back until 5 minutes before my flight closed. Of course, I was travelling Easyjet, and of course, the gate was as far away from security as it could possibly be – and I couldn’t run. The pain in both of my feet was severe and I couldn’t do anything more than a fast hobble.

Well, I hobbled. I hobbled and hobbled and the antibiotics did their worst and both of my calves cramped at once. And I couldn’t stop. I had to force my body to keep going through cramping in both legs. I was in tears with the pain, the stress triggered my asthma, and I eventually arrived at the gate, crying, covered in snot, and asthmatically coughing so hard that I managed to vomit down myself. I made the flight with seconds to spare.

If you were the woman I was sitting next to, I am very, very sorry about the state I was in. Thank you for offering me your juice to see if that would stop my coughing. I am very grateful for your kindness. And I’m never taking those antibiotics again.

{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

Guest December 8, 2012 at 10:07 pm

I second the get a wheelchair next time. I never travel without a wheelchair in between gates because of orthopaedic problems.


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