Thursday, December 8, 2011

Confessions Of A Road Warrior - Tia

Warning - This story is about vomit. If you are easily grossed out, you should go read something...anything else. 

I call this one: Why I Don't Eat at Subway Anymore 
Remember that time I went full Linda Blair on a plane

So I’m not much of a puker. I can count on one hand how many times I’ve thrown up since I was about 8 years old and would still have fingers left over. To me, vomiting is one of the most traumatic things that your body can inflict on you. You have no control over it. And what are things from the inside of your body doing on the outside? It’s gross and I don’t like it and I certainly don’t understand people who do it for weight control. If that’s my only option I’ll just stay in my big girl jeans. 

As one who does not puke often I’m unfamiliar with the pre-puking warning signs. The sweating. The off feeling in your stomach that you can’t really clarify. The dizziness. But I should have known something was wrong when all of those things ran up on me as I sat in the Houston airport. But I’m a trooper. I’m a flyer. I’m a ROAD WARRIOR! We don’t let little things like feeling sick keep up from making it to our destination. Sickness is for wimps. (Hindsight just backhanded me across the jaw.) 

It had been a long weekend. My brother had graduated from college and I’d spent the better part of 4 days with both of my parents (eek!) and my brother in the Hell-like Houston heat. I was tired and just wanted to go home and sleep in my own bed. So as I sat in the terminal I could almost see the finish line. A short hour and 30 minute flight and I would be home and able to curl up in my pink jersey knit sheets. 

In an effort to expedite my pilgrimage to my bed, I decided to grab dinner at the Subway in the terminal. I figured I would get a ham and turkey sub, stave off the hunger and make it home full so I wouldn’t have to do anything when I walked in the door except get into my PJs and go to sleep. 

I sat chatting with my dad as I finished my sub. Everything seemed fine. He left to catch his flight and I settled in to wait for my flight. No worries, no concerns, just the thought of a queen sized bed with my name on it. 

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Was that my stomach???? No way. No human organ could make a sound like that. Must have been my imagination. Why is so hot in here all of a sudden? Is the terminal spinning? I must be really tired. I can’t wait to get on the plane and take a nap. Just to be safe better go splash some water on my face in the bathroom before I board. Because, you know…that’ll help. 

I made my way to line up for the flight. I was A8 or something like that so I was one of the first people on the plane. Once I boarded and got settled I walked to back galley and asked the very sweet flight attendant for a club soda. I told him I wasn’t feeling well and I needed something to settle my stomach. He assured me that it was fine and that even if I did puke it wouldn’t be the first time that week he’d seen and had to clean up puke. But at that point I was still in denial that I was THAT SICK. There was no way that I was going to throw up…on a plane. I’m not girl. I made my way back to my seat in the middle of the plane and put my head between my knees expecting the nausea to pass. I realized about 10 seconds too late that not only was it not going to pass but I was about to recreated that scene from The Exorcist with shocking similarity. 

The plane of was pretty full at this point. People in the aisles trying to load the carry-ons, dawdling waiting to sit down, basically creating a human obstacle course for me to traverse to get to the get to the rear lavatory. I did not care about anything other than getting to the bathroom. Hand over my mouth I start Heismaning my way down the aisle. (For those unfamiliar with the Heisman Trophy.) A lady I shoved turned around with an attitude presumably to yell at me until she realized that this was an emergency and yelling at me would only result in her delaying me in getting to the bathroom and probably end with her being covered in vomit. Out of the corner of my eye I saw her vault into the nearest seat to get out of my way. Good choice, lady…good choice. 

I made it to the back galley in just enough time literally puke everything I’ve ever eaten EVER onto the floor. I tried to mumble an apology to the flight attendant but the effort proved to be futile because apparently my stomach wasn’t done. I walked into the tiny bathroom, fell to my knees and puked for a good 10 minutes. Absolutely NOT an exaggeration. I began to cry because I honestly thought I was going to die. It wouldn’t stop. All I could think was, “THIS is how I’m going to die. ON A PLANE!!! NO WAY!!!!” 

After what seemed like an eternity my body finally just gave up. I figured it was trying to figure out a way to get me to puke up my pancreas or something and that’s why everything was on pause. My body was just trying to work out the logistics of getting my internal organs out of me through my mouth. 

I had puke in my hair, on my shirt, in my shoes. It was EVERYWHERE! I started crying again because I was sooooo disgusted. The flight attendant knocked on the door and told me that it was going to be okay and that he’d seen people be sicker than I’d been. LIAR!!!!

I waited as the HAZMAT team came and began powerwashing the floor outside the bathroom. Mortified doesn’t begin to cover how I felt. As I sat there trying to figure out if I could deploy the escape slide and run away, the pilot came over the loudspeaker to inform the COMPLETLEY FULL flight that the reason the flight hasn’t left was because there was a sick passenger on the flight. Thanks! Just when I didn’t think it couldn’t get any worse, it did. Oh, then it got worser. Yes…WORSER!! The next knock on the door a few minutes later was the pilot himself.  He explained that because of how sick I’d been they weren’t allowed to let me fly. I. WANTED. TO. DIE!!!!!!!!!! While I completely understood the rationale behind not letting an ill person fly, the fact that the pilot himself had to tell me to basically, “Get off my plane” (In my head that last sentence is said like Harrison Ford from Air Force One) was the equivalent of DEFCON 1 embarrassment. At least I thought it was until I realized that I had to walk off of the place, IN FRONT OF EVERYONE…WITH PUKE IN MY HAIR. I had never in my life prayed so fervently for Jesus to crack the sky and make his glorious return. 

With as much dignity as a person who smells like vomit can muster, I gathered my things and walked off of the plane. The flight attendant came out with me and tried his very best to comfort me. This is why I fly Southwest. Their flight attendants either really care or are really great actors. Either way…they rock. The gate agents heard what happened and went into overdrive to get me rebooked. Again, WAY TO GO SOUTHWEST. And after one last assurance the flight attendant got back on the plane and everyone was on their way…Everyone but me. 

The next flight out was not until the next morning. Awesome! I called my mother and told her that I was coming back home. Covered in puke, stomach sore, and reeking of embarrassment (among other things), I drove to Target to get new clothes (my checked bag never made it off of the plane.), went to my mom’s, showered and went to bed. When I woke up the next morning all I could do was moan and pray that I never had to face ANYONE on the plane again…But that would be too easy. 

Dear Nashville, your ½ degree of separation is annoying as crap. As if the whole experience wasn’t enough, one of my close friend’s roommates was on the plane that day. Several days later while at said friend’s house, the roommate came downstairs and asked, “How are you feeling?” He then began to give an account of what it looked like from a passengers’ prospective. He said for the most part, the people around him were completely sympathetic and just happy that they weren’t the ones who were projectile vomiting on the plane. Whether he was lying or not, I’ll never know. 

Needless to say I haven’t eaten Subway since. I did call and speak with the airport manager. While they accepted no culpability, he expressed his sincere remorse about the situation and sent me a gift card to the coffee shop at the airport, with a note, “I was going to send you a Subway gift card, but then realized that probably wouldn’t work. ) Good thinking Sir. I still can’t walk past a Subway without cringing. Maybe one day I’ll go back and face my fears. But for now, they’re on the list with Denny’s, Olive Garden and Captain D’s as places that I’d rather go hungry than eat at their establishments. You try puking up your pancreas and tell me you wouldn’t feel the same way. 


ChristinaM said...

I have puked on a plane once. I was an adult and traveling to LA with my mom to visit relatives. I get migraines and used to vomit all the time with them as a kid. Luckily this has gotten better as an adult and with taking meds. But this particular flight was before anyone including myself figured out that my periodic vomiting was from migraines. So my mom and I get on the plane. Funny cause we were flying Southwest too. I started feeling very hot and then sweating. Then the nausea started and I new the inevitable was going to happen. I grabbed a vomit bag and puked twice and then felt a lot better. The flight attendant took my vomit bag and brought me a ginger ale to settle my stomach. I slept that rest of the flight and felt much better when we landed. So though my story wasn't quite as bad as yours, don't feel alone. You are not the only one who has vomited on a plane.

AptLife said...

I'm laughing and mortified at the same time. This story is hilarious, but I put myself in your shoes and feel your pain. You're a trooper because I would have told them to lend me a blanket so I can cover my head and cry as I walked off the plane. Minus the friend's roommate, at least you'll never see those people and a Subway sandwich again. Better a plane than work, church, the mall, gym, etc.

Christine said...

my Lord and my God...

Anne Marie said...

Remember that time you vowed not to open emails from me at work becaused you laughed so hard in your silent office after my Mariah Carey/Nick Cannon photo? Yeeeeaaahhhhh payback upon me just happened with this post. Still in tears over it.