Wake Up Call.
Sydney Travel Blog› entry 15 of 30 › view all entries
@ 32,000 feet, ex-Sydney, now in international airspace.
I'm in that strange place where fatigue and oblivion meet, more like stasis than sleep. I am aboard a plane that is bound for Los Angeles via Bangkok, and its dateline time. The cabin is silent and dark. Just another plane ride. Then, all of a sudden…
Bang! A commotion… Confusion sets in.
I awake with a start – eyes racing to adjust to the darkness. Forms come into focus. Directly across from my window seat, I see a man on top of a seated woman. He is face down, his full weight pressing down on her. She is struggling. Fear spreads through the cabin like contagion. I undo my belt quietly and pick up the pen that sits by my immigration documents. I might need it.
Before I move, I observe them for a moment. Assessing the situation.
I watch the woman continue to struggle with the man. She pushes against him, but he seems unresponsive. She seems too panicked to notice this. I watch as the man seated next to the woman reacts to her emotion, pushing the man away from both of them. In the face of their combined efforts, his weight begins to shift towards the isle. Then I see it… his weight is shifting unnaturally. My gaze shifts to his leg – the fabric of his suit pants betrays rigid, pulsating muscles.
He isn’t attacking the woman, he is having a seizure… He begins to topple backwards into the isle. Helpless. No one going to stop his fall.
I jump onto my seat. Pushing the passenger between me and the isle back into her seat, I wedge one hand against my seat and the other against the seat in front and vault over her. I land in the isle and catch him as he begins to fall backwards. His body is convulsing on one side, as rigid as a board. The other side is weak and loose. He claws at my arm with his unaffected hand, moaning.
“Easy there man. I got you. You’re having a seizure. It will pass. You’re going to be okay.”
His grip loosens… I look up and see his companion running towards me. She appears to be worried, but calm. Her expression tells me that this has happened to him before. Picking him up, I help her move him slowly to a vacant seat. In the glare of the reading light, I can see his features clearly now… a harsh line separates his features, one side expressionless, the other side contorted by involuntary spasms. His eyes are rolling in their sockets. This situation is beyond me.
The flight attendants soon arrive with a doctor seated nearby to take care of him. There is nothing more I can do, so I return to my seat.The flight continues…