Monday, 26 January 2015

Airplane bathrooms, complete mortification and overcoming escalators.

There are a few things that you need to know about me before I share my own personal hell.

1. The last time I used an airplane bathroom was 5 years ago flying from London to Brisbane. I only did this as I had to vomit. Otherwise I am terrified by airplane bathrooms and can last 14 hours on a plane without requiring one.

2. I am a control freak.

3. I get very stressed when I let someone down.

4. I am embarassed very easily.

5. I find taking cabs to be stressful and I am likely the most awkward cab passenger. 

Now to the heart of it all. It was a beautiful warm night, the ocean breeze was palpable as we took one last wak along the wharf. Reality had set in and I had to head back to the hotel to grab my bags and go to the airport. We said goodbye and I took a cab, alone, to the airport. I felt the usual stress of getting there late as traffic only seemed to grow. And then I focused on the exorbitant cost of cab rides and finally we arrived.

No lines. I got my boarding pass immediately. I walked through security. It was like the world knew I needed a relaxing trip home.

Then it began. My stomach started aching but this was still in the realm of normal. So I pulled out some sweat pants and changed, reminding myself it was a red eye so it didn't matter how ghetto I looked. 

I boarded and a kind man helped me shove my bag in the overhead bin and I sat down, prepared for a nap. The girl in the seat next to me debated for awhile and then finally asked if I would switch seats so she could sit with her partner. Of course. We have all been there. I awkwardly moved and met the man sitting next to me. This seems like it's about when it all turned for the worst.

He opened some food which normally would have been a glorious sensation to my nostrils but this time it seemed to only increase the nausea. I felt warm. The hoodie came off. I sipped water. I changed positions a dozen times. Then I knew.

I awkwardly got up and was grateful to be near the back of the plane. I knew we were to take off any minute but it couldn't wait. And at least at this time the bathroom would be free. It wasn't. One of the flight attendants had it occupied which lead to me vomiting three times on the floor. Loudly. Messily. Everywhere. 

The other flight attendant was calm, reassuring and relaxed. She found me tissues. She helped me into the bathroom when it was free and got me water. She called someone to clean and got me gingerale before I went back to my seat. Face red, feeling of vomit, and tears welling. The passengers did not look happy.

The flight was delayed as they cleaned up, meanwhile the nice flight attendant was subtly verifying that I didn't have Ebola. The man next to me made Ebola jokes and kindly tried to take away my embarrassment with stories and banter.

Then it came back. At least this time I made it to the dreaded bathroom to face my fears again. It kept coming. I cried. She knocked softly and I told her I would leave. She helped me find my bag as my seat neighbor pulled it down and wished me luck and I walked past the whole plane, smelling of vomit with a face of tears. Sorry guys, I delayed your flight and hour and then left after I vomited enough to ruin your flight.

The cab ride back to the hotel was long and stressful but I was grateful my husband was still there. The ensuing 5 hours of living in the bathroom with the dreaded seat lid that attacked both my hands and face was almost better than the pure embarrassment I was still feeling. Sleep was rare. My poor husband went out for gravol and kindly offered words of support.

The next morning I had to try it all again. A third cab, alone, to the airport. I sat in silence. I silently waited for the plane an avoided all eye contact. It was as if they would all know I was that girl. No one knew. Except for me. I safely made it home where I was so grateful to be alone.

The moral of this story is that your biggest fears will nearly kill you. Nearly. And that I am now the worst person to fly with. Thank you stomach flu.

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