Medical Emergencies are Scary

A couple of months ago I worked an all-nighter flight to San Jose, which is about a 5hrs flight give and take.  I do not know why, but alot of people have noticed that many times things happen on all-nighter flights.  All-nighter flights are the ones where you get on very very late at night (sometimes even close to midnight) and then get to your destination in the early mornings.  It might be that people are cramped on these flights that are longer and don’t really get up to walk, stretch, or remain hydrated since they are all trying to sleep.

Anyways, so I was working this flight and was in the very back galley of the plane.  Almost towards the end of the flight, this girl comes into the galley, mumbles to us, “I think I feel like I’m going to pass out.”  Within seconds of saying that, she tumbles on the floor.  She was not unconscious but she could not maintain her balance at all.  The other flight attendant leant down and balanced her on her arm, and yelled for me to go grab the oxygen bottle and page for medical assistance.

Now, we are trained to handle and react to certain situations that might happen at 30,000ft on an airplane.  Most of the time, thankfully, we don’t have to use our training.  However, I am happy to say, that it is really true that if something does happen…our training really does kick in.  But that is not to say that it is not scary, stressful, and definitely adrenaline pumping.  I have newfound respect and admiration for professions such as ER nurses and doctors that have to deal with this on a day to day basis.  I do not know how they do it, and how they are able to handle the stress so effectively.

So we ended up giving her some oxygen, as she had difficulty breathing.  We had her drink some orange juice, as alot of times people are dehydrated or not have enough sugars.  When we paged for medical assistance, a nurse came forward, monitored her, and took her blood pressure to make sure she was ok.  After a little while, the colors begin to come back to her face, she looked more alert, and was able to speak more coherently.  We monitored her a little while longer just to make sure she was not going to relapse, and then she went back to her seat and everything was back to normal.

After the incident, we were all left with relief that it turned out ok and did not escalate into something worse.  She never did become unconscious, but if she had, we would have had to begin CPR and more.  I would like to suggest that, even though you’re not in a field that requires it, everyone gets certified in CPR.  It is not hard at all and often offered at a very low rate if not free.  And you never know when you might need it, and be able to save someone’s life.

To end this post I wanted to throw in something else that happened during this whole incident.  So while I was on the way back down the aisle to the back galley with the oxygen bottle to give to this girl, a passenger stopped me.  A passenger that was seated pretty close to the back, so he can see and knew what had happened and was going on.  At first I thought that he had stopped me to offer help or to let me know that he was a medical professional, as we had paged for medical assistance.  What, you asked, did he stopped me for?  While I was trying to deliver this oxygen bottle to someone who very much needed it for her life?

He said, “Can you get me a glass of water?” o_O

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