It seems I can’t travel uneventfully anymore. So… this is what happens when you pass out on a plane.
If you follow us on social media, you know I visited my families on the east coast last week. Although I was careful, I managed to catch a cold during my trip which was not surprising given that I was feeling stressed at work for a month or so before the trip.
On the day of traveling back home, I wasn’t feeling great but I wasn’t feeling awful either when the plane took off. During the 6-hour nonstop flight, the condition got worse gradually.
There was about an hour left until landing when I started to feel lightheaded and nauseous. I made the nice lady, who sat on the aisle seat and kindly endured my cough attacks during the flight, get up so I can walk to the back of the plane for some breathing room. While I was walking toward the back, my vision started to get blurry and dark; I knew I was going to pass out. This wasn’t my first panic attack in a crowded place.
I tried my best not to make a scene. I barely made to the back of the plane when I finally collapsed. Two flight attendants caught me in time and helped me on their bench (or chair? I don’t remember really). I heard one of them said, ‘Oh my gosh, you are burning!’ then I felt a couple of people fanning me. It wasn’t until later I noticed that someone put a wet paper towel on the back of my neck too. That helped. Thank you whoever it was!
I was in and out. I heard part of the announcement one of the flight attendants made over the speaker asking if there were any medical personnel traveling on the plane. Next time I was aware of my surroundings, there was three medical personnel evaluating the situation. The oldest gentleman of the three did the most of the talking and asking while helping me breathe into a paper bag. The second person helped me sip water first then orange juice and checking my blood pressure. But collectively, the three men were trying to get me to stop hyperventilating.
Eventually, I began breathing normally and my blood pressure and pulse went up to a normal range. I knew I was feeling better when my fingers stop deforming into a knot and the tingling and numbness in the arms and around the mouth started to diminish.
It was heartwarming to find out how efficient and caring the Southwest Airline flight crew were. And the three strangers who came to help and the passengers who gave up their seats so Dr. Ayobami Olufadeji and I can sit together for the descent. Just in case.
EMT was waiting for me and the doc when the plane finally stopped. Doc brought them up to speed while they wheeled me out to the gate to run some tests. Everything was in the normal range by then. Of course! I was no longer in a crowded airplane. After signing some forms electronically, I was released.
I really want to travel uneventfully but it seems that’s not the card I am holding. 😏
Do you know the symptoms of hyperventilation? The list below is from the National Institute of Health(NIH) website. If you or anyone else is showing these symptoms, help the person breathe into a bag slowly until the symptoms subside. Hyperventilation usually lasts 20-30 minutes.
- Feeling lightheaded, dizzy, weak, or not able to think straight
- Feeling as if you can’t catch your breath
- Chest pain or fast and pounding heartbeat
- Belching or bloating
- Dry mouth
- Muscle spasms in the hands and feet
- Numbness and tingling in the arms or around the mouth
- Problems sleeping