Basically, the main reason for writing this post is to publicly thank the most incredibly kind, gentle and knowledgeable air host on flight AA78 from Dallas Fort Worth to London with American Airlines. If you are ever caught in a horrendous, debilitating, desperate situation, he’s the man you want to have on your flight. He totally went above and beyond his call of duty, and I was blessed to have his wisdom to almost-wholly cure my ailment.
After spending an incredible weekend doing the most random activities from mountain biking to canoeing and kayaking in sunny Texas, all I wanted to do was relax and sleep all the way home to England, and kick off my week back into reality with a smile on my face whilst being as productive as possible.
As is often the case – insert feeling sorry for myself emoticon – my plan did not get off to a flying start!
After an hour or so of travel, having completed the mini tale in my hand (Animal Farm by George Orwell…next will be 1984 by the same author!), I thought I’d treat myself to a film to put myself to sleep – Jurassic World! But what’s that? Why is my vision blurring? Why is the light hurting my eyes? Oh, it’s just another headache or small migraine coming on, I naïvely reason. When the light coming in from all directions continues to bother me to the point where even a squint isn’t enough to ease the pain, I close my eyes. About 10 minutes later, the light is so overwhelming I am forced to throw a cover over my head to shield my eyes, but the throbbing only worsens.
Another hour passes, I’ve pressed the ‘call’ button for the third time, I’ve been handed a cold compress of ice, but of course I’m unable to obtain the main thing I desire (paracetamol, co-codamol or an equivalent pain killer). I’m sure that’s all I need.
10 minutes later surely the ice pack on my face should have numbed the pain by now?
5 minutes pass and the offer to ‘call for a doctor’, a.k.a. land the plane at the nearest airport seems really agreeable right now. I’m not usually one for extremes, but my head is going through all the worst-case scenarios, and I’m thinking, ‘what’s going on? I asked God to heal me like over an hour ago and I actually think the pain has gotten WORSE!’ Is that possible?
5 minutes later, ‘call’ button number 564,375 (sorry American Airlines hostesses & hosts).
I’m in floods of tears. (Silent crying, of course.) The incessant thudding on my temple on the left hand side of my face runs all the way down past my cheek to my chin. I think, ‘I’m going to be forced to endure this for the next 5 hours of flight, aren’t I?’ Queue: fear, panic and more tears. ‘I can’t go through this pain for another 5 hours. There’s just no way I’ll make it! There is no way I can make it off the plane and walk to the nearest Boots pharmacy.’ At the time I couldn’t stand up let alone walk in a straight line off the plane, through customs, pick up my bag and go through all the other malarkey involved with air travel before reaching pain killers.
I can only explain it as a hammer being pounded across one side of my face for 3 hours.
I’ve never had a hammer hit my face, but I’ve also never experienced any pain like it, and I’ve suffered through migraines before. But none like this. So for everybody who suffers with migraines on a regular basis – or even if you’ve only been through it once or twice – if it’s anything like that, you’re in my prayers!
I was close to losing my sanity. From a migraine!
I remember another thought that ran through my mind – shame. I thought: there is no way women are supposed to be the member of this species who endure pain best. And if they are, I’m failing all women. I questioned the idea of child birth and any other activity that meant I was willingly putting myself through pain.
Two severe muscle ruptures and two surgeries, and yet this in that moment, seemed worse than them both put together.
Thankfully, back to the wonderful air host who saved my life.
All he did was hand me a can of coke, calm me down with soothing words, and massage certain pressure points on my neck to alleviate the pain. Crazy, huh?
Saint Air Host kindly explained there are a few key ingredients in coke that match with the ingredients in pain killers (placebo or truth?!), so as much as I dislike coke, I drank the entire can! However, I think the main thing that helped was the pressure point therapy, which I continued to self-administer for the remainder of the flight. No more pain! Hallelujah!
So, if you’re ever in a sticky situation like that without pain medication, remember: COKE, PRESSURE POINTS, & CALM WORDS. You’re welcome 😉