Never in my life have I been so scared for someone I don’t even know…
Yesterday, during my 5 hour flight from Vegas back towards the East coast, there was a medical emergency on board, barely halfway through the flight.
And before we found out what was happening, I was a little freaked out because tons of flight attendants rushing around on a plane, when you cannot hear everything, tends to incite a tiny bit of panic, and luckily the woman next to me picked up on my nerves and was helping me understand what was going on.
I’ll be honest – a medical emergency wasn’t my first thought.
The flight attendant made a call for any medical personnel and luckily there was a physicians assistant on board!
A woman three rows away from me was having a heart attack, while we were over “flyover” states. She was complaining of chest pains, upper arm pain, dizziness, an upset stomach and was sweaty and lethargic. (Before we knew what was actually happening, I did ask the PA if she needed insulin, as long a shot as it was.)
I’m sure at first, some people suspected she was hungover… an early morning flight out of a party locale like Vegas, it’s not a stretch, sadly.
But it quickly became apparent this was WAY more than a hangover.
They administered something intravenously and she regained consciousness – she had been drifting in and out.
Luckily our plane had an AED on board, and flight attendants were on the headset being advised what to do – it was determined it was in this woman’s best interests for us to continue towards Baltimore, as medical personnel getting to us based on our flight path if we had to divert was a longer shot (I’m paraphrasing this), so she was monitored steadily and the second we landed she was whisked away by the waiting EMT’s.
I hope that lady is okay – I thought of her a LOT last night, she looked so panicked and terrified (as would any of us!), and I was so scared for her – a heart attack anywhere is never ideal but I would imagine on a plane in the air is definitely a lot scarier.
AED’s save lives, bottom line. That lady was blessed this was a domestic flight, as they are not mandated on international flights, though I CANNOT imagine why.
It made me want to get trained to use one, should the need ever arise (is that just the mom-in-training kickin’ in?)
I hope she is okay and feeling better today. It freaked me out because I think we all have a conception as to what we think a heart attack looks like, and they DON’T always look like what we imagine. Silent heart attacks are a real concept!
Have you ever been on a flight with a medical emergency?
(Years ago, a plane pulling up to a fire truck would have sent me into a heavy panic attack – my fear of fire trucks, as silly as it sounds, was real. as. fuck.)