Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Fighting Death at 36000ft

On my flight to Hawaii in the middle of the Pacific ocean the in flight movie “Man of Steel”  was over and I was bantering the flight attendants about having  “wayyy too much fun while working” as I returned from the lavatory.  I took my aisle seat 2 rows behind mid cabin.  A few minutes later a lady staggers pass me and hits my shoulder, I really didn't give it a second though.

About 10 minutes later there was a thud coming from within the lavatory.  The flight attendants helped the same woman from there to the jump seat.  They were murmuring to find her husband.  A few minutes later the PA asks if there are any available doctors, nurses or EMT’s on board.

Within a moments 2 doctors and nurse started working on the woman.  Who was once sitting up on one of the flight attendant’s jumper seats was now lying in the mid station.  As I and the other passengers watched the drama unfold things were getting worse.  An IV was given to the women and within the next 10 minutes they were administering CPR.  After about 15 more minutes passed a few others and I volunteered to help with chest compression considering the flight had about 2 more hours.  The next hour seemed like a blur one doctor taking the lead counting manual compression, defib-ing and watching vitals, the other continuously compressed the bag mask, the nurse deal with the IV and the rest of us were taking turns with the compression.   After a blur of over 90 minutes the doctors both agreed to call it.

The rest of the flight was a somber one.  The fight crew did their best to accommodate the husband and 3 year old granddaughter who was unaware of the gravity of the situation.  Some cried with the husband while others kept busy with the landing procedure, and dealt with other passengers.  After we landed, the paramedics boarded, the flight crew curtained up the middle area as the passengers left, we thanked each other as I left the plane.

I was on auto-pilot as I headed to baggage claim.  Deep in thought I walked right past my dad.  He grabbed me and I gave him a great big hug, realizing the lady that we attempted to help was years younger than him.  After telling him the story of, “How was your flight?”  He just said, “When your time comes it comes.”  Spending over a week with my parents seemed like overkill when scheduling the vacation.  But, I am now cherishing every moment with them and to celebrate Thanksgiving as a family.

For all the things we strive for in life, success, goals and values I learned to value not only our time, but how to spend it.  10 complete strangers tried our best to extend the life of one.

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