We were very excited to get to go to Dallas to a large leadership conference. We had been there two other times and we were ready for some training and a time of refreshing. This conference always had a great line-up of speakers and more of a time of ideas and concepts that we could glean some possible things for our own lives. The difference this time was that we got to take our other leaders.
Many of the problems that we ran up against were started with an abscessed tooth. I had gone to the dentist because I had a tooth split and had him pull the inside half of it so that I could make it through the holidays and have a somewhat normal time in terms of eating. The dentist told me that it would abscess at some time, it may be a week or it may be five years. It picked the Tuesday before we left for the conference. We left on Wednesday.
I had never taken prescription drugs before and to be honest didn’t understand their potency. The dentist had written me a couple of prescriptions, one for pain and the other for infection. I was hesitant to get them filled just because I had never done it before. It was a brand new experience for me.
The morning we left I stopped at the drug store and got them filled. I took one pain pill and one penicillin. The bottle read to take one or two every four hours or as needed. They basically didn’t seem to work so I took another one when we got to the airport. Again, they didn’t seem to work. When I got up in the airplane, I took another one. It was a time frame of about three to four hours.
I was sitting in the middle seat between my wife and another lady who turned out to be a nurse. About half way to Dallas I started to feel funny. It is hard to put into words but the closest way to describe it is to say I felt very dizzy. I asked the lady on my right, the nurse, if I could get out to go to the bathroom and she said “sure”. I felt unstable as I walked toward the back of the plane. When I got to the bathroom, I tried to focus on the little sign that says occupied or vacant but my mind wouldn’t allow that information in. That was when I knew I was in trouble. I reached for the door knob…
The next thing I remember is a man standing over me with an oxygen mask asking me if I was ok. I had fallen between the seats. A little lady seated there said that I hit the ground and then sat up, which I don’t remember, then laid back down. They apparently called for any medical personnel to come to the back of the plane, another thing that I don’t remember. That’s when I found out the woman setting beside me was a nurse. She was one of the first ones back there. She said it was probably a combination of the drugs and the altitude that caused me to pass out.
She took my pulse and checked my respiration to which she said. “I don’t think you are in trouble, your vital signs are normal. Then a doctor showed up. He said, “I’m a doctor, my name is Brian.” He looked very young and I remember sarcastically thinking, “Sure you are”. He did the same things that the nurse had done and tried to explain why these things happen. They got me up and sat me in the seat beside the bathroom. The row was empty so they told me I could lie down and I did. My wife came and sat with me.
I wasn’t embarrassed by this as far as I could remember. I was, however thinking that I am usually the one that is standing over people asking them how they are. I had never been put into this position. All the way out of the plane and through the airport I heard people say, “There he is, the guy that passed out on the plane.” That was just a little embarrassing. Even the pilot and the rest of the flight crew saw me outside. They were waiting for transportation I guess. They wished me well after they asked how I was.
What I learned from this is that life is fragile. I in no way was in danger throughout the incident, but it showed me that life is easy to loose. One minute you can be standing and the next you can be on the ground. We simply don’t have time to waste on bad attitudes.
Blog photo provided by: sebastian-unrau