Thursday, March 21, 2013

Rwanda: Amsterdam Emergency

This story is a little embarrassing but I'm going to tell it anyway.  I should have been smarter, but I took an antibiotic and a sleeping pill (which I had never taken before so had no idea how it might affect me) on an almost empty stomach at the beginning of the flight from NYC to Amsterdam.

It was an overnight trip, so I wanted to sleep.  Instead, I just tossed and turned and started feeling more and more miserable.  There was a lot of turbulence, which probably also contributed to the fact that my stomach started feeling awful.  With 2 hours left to fly, I started puking.

Side note: Throwing up on an airplane is not a fun experience for anyone.  I apologize to all the people sitting near me that fateful day.

I could not stop throwing up, and I continued to feel worse and worse.  I also was getting dehydrated and weak.  By the time the place landed, I was in bad shape and scared to death because after a 3 hour layover I was supposed to get on another 8 hour flight to Kigali.  I didn't know if I could physically do that.

The flight attendants requested a wheelchair for me and I hobbled off the plane.  Poor sweet Jackie had to push me to the clinic at the Amsterdam airport.  I figured there was nothing they could do for me, but I was desperate for help.

Thank goodness I went there because it turned out they could do something for me.  I got a shot in the rear that stopped my nausea within 30 minutes.  I started drinking water and nibbling on bread trying to regain my strength.  Jackie wheeled me through security to the next gate and next thing I knew I was on the flight to Kigali.  I slept for a few hours, and when I woke up I felt almost back to normal.

It was a crazy experience!  I felt so grateful and indebted to the rest of the team members who helped me so much.  Jackie was by my side the whole time.  Others were searching the airport for just the right type of bread for me to eat to regain strength.  Everyone was praying.

Jackie has pictures of all this by the way, snapped with her phone.  I was too sick to protest.  And today I find out that Jackie had a torn ACL on the trip and didn't even know it, so maybe I should apologize for the fact that she had to push me for miles through the Amsterdam airport.

On the bright side, the trip home was totally without drama.  And, I actually get to use the travel insurance I purchased to cover my emergency expenses in an Amsterdam clinic.  Cha-ching!

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

I got sick on a trip to Norway and threw up in the barf bags. It was awful! I'm sure it wasn't fun for the people next to me either. I think it was food poisoning. Kari

Costa Ndayisabye said...

I am sorry for that experience. I have the same problem when I was traveling from Rwanda to San Francisco via Amsterdam. I did get a help with the Schiphol Airport. Imagine if you had that stomach trouble on your way from Rwanda. There could be so many assumptions from the foods you ate, I am happy you enjoy our foods especially Sambusa. Costa Ndayisabye www.greenm.org