Thursday, November 18, 2010

Barf Bag Blues

Torture by Airflight

Flew home yesterday from Michigan with a hop through Atlanta.  The Headache didn't like me backpacking my PC across the airports, didn't like me lugging my luggage to check in, didn't care for the experience of flying at all. 

I had been lucky all through my 20 days working in Michigan because The Headache only flared up a couple of times.  The Legs were not so good but I already knew I was going to suffer on that count so I was prepared for most of the ouchiness.  The flight back to Missouri was pure torture.

I knew The Headache wasn't good when I lost my driver's license twice in 15 minutes by putting it in different pockets of my purse, and then misplaced my boarding pass three or four times. I almost couldn't stand long enough to wait for the hand pat down person at Flint, as apparently someone was "busy taking care of things" and couldn't relieve the female TSA agent to do my pat down. Now they not only checked my waistband (a new item in the pat down) but they checked their gloves for explosive residue.  However they didn't check the bottom of my feet.  Hmmm - changing things up for the holidays!!!

Many people admired my cane Bling, especially other cane users.  It's sorta like driving a fancy car - you look at what every one else has and compare features.  I did get a courtesy pass so I could board early because I was barely hanging on by the time the flight left.

I was in the middle seat on both flights between the window and the aisle.  In the first leg, I was next to a darling older lady who decided to eat some peanut buttery homemade snacks midflight.  I was already in quite a bit of pain and very sick to my stomach (trying desparately not to take pain medication because I had a hour and a half drive waiting for me in Missouri to get home) when she started snacking.  She didn't look well herself and I didn't want to say anything becuase she looked like she really needed the snack.  I covered my face and tried to breath through my mouth, because smells get amplified when the headache gets bad.  She would put away the snack, and just when I thought it was OK to unmuffle she would crack open the peanut butter warehouse and pop in another one.  Auuuugh! 

I got some ginger ale from the flight attendant, and scarfed down some phenergan trying to quell my growing nausea. My neighbor decided that the airplane pretzels were not enough and went for the peanuty goodness again. The smell!  Every crackery crunch flew more peanut butter smell into the air. Finally I just had to quickly grab the barf bag and let go. I hate public hurling, but there was no way I could get up, get past peanut lady and get down the aisle to the bathroom. I didn't need to say anything then about food smells, as no one around me was eating after that!!!

The poor peanut lady told me she had several headache issues including just having had a nerve operation for trigeminal neuralgia.  I knew she didn't look well.  She had on a fentanyl patch and was eating to help with HER nausea.  Her misfortune to be stuck by me, the puking head pounding idiot. 

I was barely able to carry on a conversation with P.P.L. because The Headache was not happy at all. I hate it when I can't actively and thoughtfully listen.  I somehow inspire people to tell me their stories.  I must have been some very innattentive jerk in a former life because now when some strangers see me within two or three minutes I am hearing details of their lives and misfortunes...or maybe I just LOOK like a listener??

I left my neatly closed barf bag in my seat as I deboarded the plane, as I had no opportunity to get rid of it inflight: I kept having to use it.  Hard to have half your mind trying to listen, and half just thinking "don't barf don't barf don't barf" - no wonder The Headache hurt!

I stumbled off the plane in Atlanta from the cattle car cheap seats, caught up with my coworker (who luckily wrangled herself some business class tickets) and unfortunately had to get across the airport to another terminal where the appropriate gate was opposite where we arrived via the tram.  More walking.  I bought some Coca Cola hoping to drown The Headache with caffeine.  They were just starting to board when we got to the gate.  No rest.  I did get to reset my occipital stimulator before my group boarded.  I pushed it as high as I could stand to bear it.

I get on the plane (again in the middle seat) and down some benedryl with the soda. I was still extremely nauseated but the benedryl helps the pain a little. I had a very nice gentleman sitting in the window seat next to me but the lady in the aisle seat next to me smelled like sour liquor - someone who had probably had too much to drink a day or two before.  Probably not noticiable to anyone else, but when the nose goes into superpower mode with The Headache people with a day old drunk are truly nasty smelling.  Ewwwwwww!

Another hour to go in flight, head pounding, nausea rising - I get a wet paper towel from a flight attendant and try to keep my eyes covered and keep my temples cool.  They announce that the nearest bathroom is for business class only (my lucky co-worker!) and that we coach people would have to go to the back of the plane.  I think - just my luck - a bathroom in sight and I would have to run to the back of the plane.  I decided if the need arose I was going to go for the business class toilet and vomit on whoever tried to stop me.  I made sure the barf bag was visible in the seat in front of me - ready for action!

The lady next to me droned on and on and on in coversation with some guy in a row behind and across the aisle.  They didn't stop talking for the entire flight, and loudly (at least it seemed so to my over sensitive ears) discussed totally inappropriate for public conversation personal issues. It was almost hallucinogenic as their conversation wrapped around my echoing head like a stinky fish wrapper from the meat market. I knew way too much about liquored up lady and lonely guy across the aisle by the time we touched down.  Luckily she breathed in his direction instead of mine so BONUS I was able to avoid barfing again.  Yeah!

At the airport, we waited and waited and waited and waited for the luggage to get to the carousel.   I grabbed my luggage once it meandered around and finally got to my car and headed home.  I was able to stay awake driving by once in a while stopping and resting, and then running the air conditioner in the cold autumn air and once in a while just smacking myself in the face.  WAKE UP!  A long drive in the dark and in the rain.

My head hurts tonight because I haven't given The Headache its allotted rest time.  I worked a little this afternoon, but called it quits before long because The Legs and The Headache and The Belly were all ganging up on me.  Hoping for a better day tomorrow!


  1. I'm sorry you had such a miserable trip! Just reading about the barf bag incident makes me nauseous...I can't imagine going through it! I hope you feel better tomorrow too. :)

  2. Heather: I think the poor peanut lady had a gallon freezer bag of those things! I kept thinking - she's ate them all, but NO there were MORE!

    Nothing like puking in a crowd. Keeps you humble!

  3. Winny, this was a terrible adventure. But your sense of humor about it all is pretty kickass.

    Glad you made it home, rest up and feel better soon!

  4. Girl! I'm sorry you had such a perfectly miserable trip. Just awful. I don't know how you do the travel with these unbearable symptoms. You give an entirely new meaning to the term road warrior. Sleep well.

  5. Oh no dear one! I am sorry about your trip and that barf bag story. OH MY!!! Please feel better soon dear one! Blessings.

  6. This may inspire you to stay grounded for a while! Again, I'm really glad your home. Feel better and have a belated b-day dinner with your mom! (I apologize for the mention of food!!!)

  7. Man, I am tired just reading that, don't know how ya do it. Ya, same for me, when the monster is around I seem to not be able to handle any smell, its like my nose is on hyper drive. Hang in there...:)

  8. Steph: I'm so past caring that my public nausea is a spectacle. Gotta have a sense of humor. I keep a personal list of "Places I have puked", my favorite being a formal (as in formal dress) Christmas business celebration. My best dressed puking all around.

    Diana Lee: Once the pain starts its like you are a prisoner in manacles - there is NO WAY to escape. Guess it doesn't matter where you are at!

    JBR: Home and some better, thanks! Hoping your headache is better this week.

    Kristin: we are going to do something this weekend!! My feet are on the ground and the world is no longer stinky and turning today. woohoo!!!

    Fighter: It's like having a superpower like XRAY vision - I call it "Dog Nose" because you can smell EVERYTHING - even soap people think they washed off their hands. Makes me feel sorry for my dogs...But I guess they have a pretty high puke point (being dogs)!

  9. Sorry the trip was so difficult for you. The holidays are going to test your nausea factor. they always do for me. Even smells I like can be overpowering.

  10. Andy: Yep - too many yuletide scents - luck for me cinnamon doesn't trigger my nausea, but cedar/evergreen does. Wish they could come up with a way to stop the "smell" issues. I can control the light but its so difficult to control my nose!!! Glad I don't have a job like wine taster where you have to stick you schnozz in your work. whew!!!

  11. I am the same way. I can't handle any soap smell, or candles, air fresheners, perfume, lotions, even some makeup smells. I really could go on. Its like I woke up one day with the nose of a blood hound. gggggrrrrr

  12. OH Winny, I'm sorry you had such a miserable trip back home. You are such a trooper to travel like you do feeling like you do.

    And as an aside - you are traveling from Michigan to Missouri and the layover is in Georgia?!?! This is just one of many things I hate about flying. You poor thing. I'm so glad you're back home safe and sound.

  13. Fighter - I never knew until I started having bad migrines in my teens how stinky the world really is!!!

    Migainista: The trouble with travel, is that once you ARE somewhere (like Michigan) you have no choice but to suffer through whatever to get back home!!!

  14. I am so sorry you had such a bad time on the flight home. I have been reaaly sick the last few weeks. Doc thought I had shingles, but I never broke out. I took the week of the meds for the shingles. I am just in such pain around my ribs under my breasts, Horrible. I am so glad I am on disability, I could never work. You inspire me that you can still work. I have company coming tomorrow for thanksgiving and I have not even grocery shopped yet. Tell me your indurance secret!! I have always prided myself in my high pain tolerance, but lately, I feel like a wimp. What a wonderful lady you are!! I sure hope you feel better and do not have any flights for a while. God bless you, Winny!!!

    God Bless~
    Debbie Jean

  15. Debbie: Jean so sorry to hear about the pain.

    Once I was diagnosed with costochondritis after viral pnuemonia - it causes the same kind of pain. It's an inflammation of the ribs and can happen after a viral infection:

    Hoping it gets better soon. shingles sometimes take a long time!

    My endurance secret is I keep getting myself trapped in situations where there is no way out but to endure!!! :( I sometimes feel like knawing my foot off to get out of the trap. It's like being stuck in a blizzard - you either wait it out, or you walk back to civilization.

    I am sure you have a high pain tolerance, but I have found once my pain cup is FULL, it only takes a drop more of pain to overflow. So its not only the severity of pain but the AMOUNT of pain if that makes sense. Or a LOT of lower level pain = a little of higher intensity pain. Kinda like the drip from a faucet fills a cup the same way the faucet full on fills a cup - it just takes longer. Relief from pain empties the cup to fill up again at whatever pace. If the cup fills up faster than the relief works you are overflowing again!!!

    I am not so wonderful, I am a wounded warrior just like the rest of us!!!

    I have no flights planned for awhile but where I work I never know!!! Hoping you are able to get your shopping done. Sometimes my family just gets a coldcut tray and store bought pumpkin pie for thanksgiving if I'm not feeling well. It helps that I am not known as a very good cook!!! ;)