Fair warning, this is a pretty 'triggering' post for those with sickness related OCDs, hypochondria, fear of V*, and such. I'm not sick, myself, but witnessed it and it has me pretty rattled. So if you don't want to read my somewhat graphic rant, you better stop right now.
The end of the cruise went great. No serious problems, and then we even found a half day excursion around Puerto Rico to fill in time before going to the airport. I was liberally patting myself on the back for making it through all the hard parts while only freaking out a few times during the entire week.
Never, never say that.
I was doing a good job of keeping my mind off of the upcoming flight. But eventually we got to the airport, and through aggie inspection (called USDA of course, but that just makes me think they are scanning for steak). And then into the excruciatingly but not totally unexpectedly long line to get through security.
I have a very tough time with lines. People get antsy. Stand too close to me. Fail to control their children. Cough or sneeze on me. Try to jump in front. You name it. A lot of people simply don't leave enough time to deal with airport issues. This is San Juan airport, not someplace really on the ball. You have to expect you can run into an hour long line. I didn't want to, but there it was. Not surprisingly, after an already stressful week, I was totally on edge. Shaking, rocking, and working hard not to dissociate. As the hour wore on, it got hotter in the line, and tougher to stay mentally present. But I kept it together, if only just, until we got into the area that was roped like Disneyland. Normally, I don't like the roped off lines, but at least they do let you know exactly where to go and do stop the line jumpers, for the most part. If you don't mind the trapped feeling ....
Now what is it that makes someone sick, and I mean really sick, try to fly? Nothing, and I mean nothing, is going to be worth not only the risk to your health, but that of everyone around you. These people are morons. Did they get the whole flu season and H1N1 epidemic news? Do they enjoy endangering other people? I suppose I should say I have sympathy for the sick person who is sick and all that, but I don't have any sympathy for needlessly being put in a position where I'll be in OCD hell for the next two weeks, waiting to come down with the incredible wretched crud that had infected the woman two people away from me.
Because right there in line - three people away from the boarding pass screening - she puked all over the floor. You know that sound of that splatter? She had barely bent, and so it cascaded everywhere. People were bolting. We were forced against the ropes as far as we could get from her, but couldn't get out of line.
After about two seconds I dissociated almost completely. Feeling terrified and numb, staring around and seeing almost nothing. Except hyper sensitive to this new, horrifying contagious threat. Of course I have no idea if she had anything catching, or simply couldn't hold on to her hamburgers. Or whatever.
But she didn't stop. One puke. Then two. And then she stood there. And then puked some more. And would you calmly be standing in line casually puking your guts out, showering the nearby patrons with viruses? She didn't try to leave the line or run for a restroom or anything. Just stood there and puked yet a fourth time. By then, my spouse and I had made it around the situation, more or less, and gotten to the main entrance to the security screening. I was so out of it I had tunnel vision, was shaking, and could only fixate on one thing at a time. All I could think of was that statistically speaking, I and my luggage were now covered in micro-droplets of God only knew what. Simple food poisoning? Bird Flu? Who even f*cking knows.
I was too far gone to hear the exchange behind me, and only put it together from conversation with spouse afterward. Believe it or not, puker and her SO were going to try to get in line behind me and spouse to go through scanning. My spouse blocked them and said, 'No'. And she tried two more times, and he simply pointed to the other line, 'You go there. You will not go here.'
Fortunately by then the idiots at San Juan airport stepped in and put puker and SO through a special line. But I can't believe they let them through security at all. There was a woman on a flight to Hawaii taken off just because the crew had an idea she might be sick. And there this woman threw up four times in line, and they let her through security. I do not f*cking get it.
So not only did I get to fly for 4.5 hours with possibly puked on shoes, I got to spend that time doing every cognitive trick in the book trying to get myself to keep from having a full blown panic attack. And trying to reassociate my mind and body so I wouldn't build up any more new trauma from this than necessary.
And now here I am. Finally, finally at home. But scarred. I'm scared. The world is so scary. Everyone on the plane was coughing and sneezing and I'd been nearly barfed on. Probably had been in a microscopic fashion. It'll be two weeks before I can be sure I didn't pick anything up from that unbelievable episode. And it might be a lot longer than that before the terrible backlash from this finally works its way through depressive rebound and all the rest.
I'm throwing out my suitcase. By the way.
Any advice? Kind words? Whatever ... I could use it.
Your Hostess With Neuroses
Saturday, December 12, 2009
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