Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Emergency at 35,000 Feet

 This is only a slight exaggeration of what actually happened. No, really.

Every doctor dreams about it - the emergency aboard an airplane, the life-or-death scenario where medical attention is not available and a stranger's life literally rests in your hands. Some doctors fear the responsibility; others wish it would happen to them. Older doctors are the best suited for the job; they stay calm under pressure and softly call out orders to the flight crew, so much so that other passengers don't realise anything is wrong at all. But younger doctors (like a certain ridiculously handsome blogger we all know COUGHCOUGH --Editor) immediately hear the theme song from E.R. blaring in their minds, pull their shirts open to reveal Superman costumes underneath and start shouting out orders to air stewardesses who are busy trying not to fall in love with them.

Okay, so that didn't actually happen.

I boarded a Malaysia Airlines flight out of Heathrow last week. I was really tired and after kicking a little old lady out of my seat (she mistook seat number 56 for 59. Somebody was a naughty girl when she was young. AHAHA geddit geddit?* --Editor) I said hello to the people sitting next to me. My neighbour was a sweet old Scottish lady (let's call her Mrs McHaggis**) and next to her were a British Asian couple (the gentleman was also bald. Such a sexy man. You hear that ladies? BALD IS SEXAY. --Ed.) whose female half kept chatting away to Mrs McHaggis. Shortly afterwards the flight took off and the air stewardess came over to ask for my number give us our headphones, and I fell asleep.

I was woken up in the middle of the night by someone shaking my shoulder. It was dark in the cabin, everyone was asleep, and only the ghostly glow of the nighttime cabin lights illuminated the plane. Everyone was asleep. Then I heard the Asian wife say, "This lady's not well." I turned to see Mrs McHaggis lying limp in her chair, her mouth hanging open and her eyes rolling.

I immediately snapped to attention. My mind was filled with heroic images of me calming Mrs McHaggis down, calling the flight attendant, ordering the Asian couple to vacate their seats and place pillows underneath Mrs McHaggis's feet to elevate her legs, then receiving thunderous applause as Mrs McHaggis came back to life and several starstruck air stewardesses dragged me to their crew bedroom upstairs to reward me.

Then the bald guy sitting to my right brushed past me and did exactly everything in the above paragraph.

I blinked. Wait, this was supposed to be my fantasy! But the bald dude hadn't got the memo. He called the air stewardess (who was REALLY cool under pressure and had already brought an oxygen mask and canister), laid Mrs McHaggis down across all three seats, and asked ME to raise her legs.

I asked him if he was a doctor. He said yes, and that his wife was a first aider. I blinked again.

What were the odds of sitting between TWO doctors AND a first aider on a plane - and then having a medical emergency??

And as if that wasn't enough - the airplane hit turbulence.

Life hates me.

Once again the stewardess came to our rescue and found us seats on the double. Mrs McHaggis's pulse was 40 and she managed to stammer that she was on propranalol and thyroxine. Dr Baldy (the other guy, not me) and I took turns staying with her and giving her oxygen, and we learnt that she had a history of fainting and dizziness - this, coupled with the cabin's unusually warm temperature and Mrs McHaggis's many glasses of wine, probably caused her dizziness.

Two hours later, she was feeling better but was still groggy. I heard her mumble something and decided it was time to wake her. I leaned forward, signaled the air stewardess, and spoke softly in Mrs McHaggis's ear, "Hello madam, don't wor--"

With a nice loud clap that echoed throughout the cabin, her arm whipped around and slapped me straight off the seat.

Seriously. What is it with women and slapping me?!

When I looked up, I saw the air stewardess standing above me, furiously trying to hide a smile. SHE actually helped ME up, almost carrying me at one point. Seriously not macho.

When Mrs McHaggis regained consciousness, she had no idea she had given me an Epic Backhand (and I sure as hell wasn't about to tell her). She thanked me and Dr Baldy profusely, and the flight purser came over to give us first class packages as tokens of appreciation. After the flight landed, the flight crew had all learned my name and thanked us personally as we left. Some of them even applauded (even though I really didn't do as much as Dr Baldy).

And that, kids, is how I met your mo-- uh, how I had my first airplane emergency. Not nearly as heroic as I thought it would be, but when you're a freshly-graduated junior doctor, you're rather glad to have a senior doctor around to run the show. And the Malaysia Airlines air crew was professional, calm, and well-trained. Oh and Mrs McHaggis? We exchanged emails, and even promised to meet up. Hey, maybe Mister McHaggis will turn out to be some rich lord or something. I can dream, can't I?

*She mistook 6 for 9. AHAHA geddit? No? For Pete's sake, ask a teenager. You're slower than I am! (or less perverted)
**Obviously not her real name. Though it would be EFFING AWESOME if it was.


Antimini said...

Good work Mrs McHaggis!

Prickatron said...

Oh well, at least you got moved to first class. See - you give a little, you get a little...

sangeetha said...

Mrs mchaggis? So I take that as license to address u as master briyani or hmm.. Chapati face... Ooh maybe ghee-lord(say it out loud for bet affect). Point made I hope.

Fuddled Medic said...

Fantastic dude, I have 25 hours of flying ahead of me. Hopefully nothing to serious will occur

E M K A S said...

I think you should change this blog's name to The Slapped Medic. :P

Anonymous said...

WTF u got a free upgrade to first class? God damn.

Jing Kit

Anonymous said...

Wow that's hilarious :D literally laughing my socks off. I think I'm gonna read some more posts. It's nice to find someone who loves blogging as much as I do.

Anonymous said...

is a first class package the same thing as upgraded? or what does this actually entail?

Anonymous said...

its not an upgrade.. its a free returned first class ticket to be use next time.. a token of appreciation from airlines..

Medic Wannabe said...

Well done!

drerhumu said...

I also think of, dream of and dread having to take off my Clark Kent costume in a public place, for real, what can i carry around? oxygen tanks? Vials of antidotes? Its enough stress carrying phones around as it is. On a visit to the Uk not too long ago, I faced a dilemna whether to bring out my superman costume in a foreign country with different laws (and litigation) after hearing a man had collapsed. Thankfully a paramedic had handled the job excellently and didn't require any help when i finally summoned courage.

The Angry Medic said...

Antimini: Huh? Why good work to her? All SHE did was slap me and make me extremely embarras-- OHHHHH. *gets it*


Prickatron: I, uh, didn't. By 'first class package' I meant the fancy-looking takeaway bag that they give all first class passengers...

Not that I deliberately worded it vaguely to trick people or anything. Cough.

The Angry Medic said...

Sangeetha: Huh? I don't get it. You calling me that would mean you were making fun of foods associated with me because I was making fun of Scottish peopl-- *gets it* OHHHH.

HAR HAR. I'm glad medicine hasn't dulled that legendary sarcasm of yours :)

Ms-Ellisa said...

you can't even fly without stuff happening to you?!
Oddly enough the point I find most sarcastic and coolest is when you found out the OTHER guy was a doctor too.. :)

..and thumbs up for the
"and that, kids, is hoe i met your mo--"



The Angry Medic said...

Ms-Ellisa: OMG. Someone actually got the How I Met Your Mother joke! I LOVE YOU FOREVER YOUARESOAWESOME DROOOOOOLLL.

Seriously though, thanks :)

Anonymous said...

Epic! I would have continued with the hahas but my hand started aching...