Never again. There is no way you will ever get me on an airplane again. I just suffer too much discomfort during the process.
Flying home yesterday from California was actually mostly routine and uncomplicated by mishaps or bad juju. Our shuttle to the airport arrived to pick us up on time and delivered us to the check in and departure desk with plenty of time to spare. We glided through security without a hitch. We found our departure gate easily and obtained a preboarding pass that would allow me to be first in line to get on board (using a cane gets you a lot of sympathy and extra attention). The plane arrived right on schedule and we boarded right on schedule, we got the two aisle seats we wanted across from each other and settled in for the duration. An interesting side note: on the flight out last week I sat next to a young woman (college student?) and only exchanged the briefest of greetings with no other conversation the entire flight. Just the way I like it. On our return flight who should show up but the same young woman who decided to sit next to me again. I guess she liked the lack of conversation, too.
So now you are wondering what, with everything going so smoothly, complaints I could possibly have about flying. Well, first of all my legs cramped up from sitting so long. The flight was full and very crowded so getting up and walking down the aisle to stretch my legs was out of the question. No amount of shifting and flexing my legs seemed to help. I was a very uncomfortable the whole time. On top of that I had gotten a cold the day before and my head was stuffed up. I wasn’t coughing or sneezing or constantly having to blow my nose, but my head throbbed from the cabin pressure all the way. Then when we began our descent for landing my ears refused to pop as they normally would. Consequently the pressure in my head increased with each passing moment until I thought my head would explode. Actually I hoped my head would explode so I would be put out of my misery. I used all the will power I owned to keep from screaming out in pain. Mercifully we finally landed and the ordeal on board was over. The problem was now I couldn’t hear a thing and could barely walk and keep my balance. And the pain didn’t go away. So I’m trying to walk through the airport staggering and stumbling with my ears ringing and not being able to tell Mary what the problem was because I couldn’t get the words out. I was finally able to tell her what was wrong just before she was going to panic and call the paramedics to deal with me. I knew, or thought I knew, that all I needed was to get my ears to pop to relieve the pressure. But they just wouldn’t pop. Too much sinus congestion from that cold I guess. Luckily our friend was there to pick us up and deliver us home. If I’m going to suffer I want to be at home.
I lived through the night and some of the pressure is gone, but my ears are still ringing and I can’t hear very well, but the pain is mostly gone. I know II will forever associate flying with nearly unbearable ear pain from now on. So getting me on another plane to fly anywhere is going to be impossible. I will stay home and be content, thank you very much.