On the floor for landing

3 October 2008

For the first part of the flight back from Malta, we had fun with Abi as she enjoyed the flight and liked her mini seat just between us as we’d folded up the arm rest.

After we’d had the in-flight meal on the return journey, and after Abi had fallen asleep, my stomach started to feel a bit funny so I got up to stretch my legs and get some water. I got as far as the galley, started to ask for some water and that’s the last thing I remember until the black haze cleared enough to see some blurry shapes that resembled the stewards around me.

Eventually I made out Des’s voice talking to me. I was laying on the floor with my feet rested on a metal box. I was given some water and my head wiped with a cool wet cloth.

Gradually I started to feel better and decided that I wanted to sit up somewhere so I was lifted up onto one of the fold down chairs in the galley. I sat there for a bit and had some water, but then I started to feel cold and shivery. I remember Des saying “He’s going again” and that I was looking pale and I was laid back down on the floor.

I was put on oxygen for the rest of the flight. This made me feel a lot better - pretty much back to normal, but I stayed lying down until the paramedics checked me out. Lying on the floor of the plane for the landing was very strange - I had to be held still from all angles, Des was holding my head, one of the stewards was holding my shoulders and another my feet. The force that was wanting to push me down the plane was incredibly strong - you don’t realise this when sitting strapped into a seat, but on the floor it really felt like I would have gone flying right down the aisle.

When we arrived at Gatwick, paramedics from the airport fire service met us as soon as we’d taxied to the airport. They did some basic checks and everything seemed to be normal. Then the paramedics from the ambulance service arrived and did some more checks, which again seemed to be normal. They got me to get up slowly and took me down to the ambulance to do an ECG and check my blood sugar level, both of which came back fine.

The ambulance crew thought that it was because I have a slightly low blood pressure anyway and with various other factors - the plane being hot and stuffy; the pressurised environment; exhaustion and just having eaten it had been affected more. Apparently they get quite a lot of calls to hot restaurants when people have had similar incidents.

After leaving the ambulance, I was led back into the terminal through the airport by a fantastic BAA medical assistance guy, as I’d originally come down the stairs at the side of the link way to the plane. I was taken to where Laura, Des and Abi were waiting for me and then he ushered us all through the airport and got us through passport control without queuing and led us straight to where our baggage come out.