A week ago today, I was preparing to take off for a girl's weekend in Seattle with Jenny... so excited! I posted that I couldn't wait to just get on the plane and relax without a baby crawling all over me. Included in that, though I didn't specifically mention it, was the relief that I wouldn't have to worry about cleaning up puke or changing diapers for several days! Woohoo!
So we got to the airport in Honolulu in time to enjoy a glass of wine before getting on the overnight flight to Seattle. Cheers!!
I boarded the full plane, found my seat on the aisle next to a nice looking couple and we exchanged pleasantries before closing our eyes and trying to drift off into the most peaceful sleep possible while seated in those horrible seats and flying through the air at 30,000ft.
Somewhere toward the middle/end of the flight, I awoke groggily from my 75% sleep to the feeling of something warm seeping through the cotton of my lightweight sweatpants. As my eyes opened, it occurred to me that my seat neighbor had just spilled her coffee on my legs. Ugh. Then I heard her say, in a complete state of shock, "I'm so sorry."
Then the smell. The unmistakable smell. That was not coffee. Oh. My. Gosh.
Without a word, I stood up and walked back to that little teeny tiny lavatory in the back of the plane. It was the only place I could have the privacy I needed to take off my favorite white sweatpants and do what I could to wash the puke out...
So there I stood, at 2:00 in the morning, in my underwear, scrubbing airline soap onto my now wet pants and trying desperately to remove the stomach acid that was all over both pant legs. Wishing wishing wishing I had another pair of pants or short or something I could put back on instead of these (now wet) white puke-pants.
Unfortunately, wishing doesn't make a new pair of pants magically appear. So I used a bunch of those little paper towels to soak up as much of the excess water as I could and then, yes, put my wet white puke-pants back on. What else was I going to do??
The next question was where I was going to sit for the remainder of the flight. My neighbor hadn't singled my legs out as the only destination for her puke... No, the projectile vomit landed all over the seats in front of us and the floor. And those good-for-nothing- flight attendants did, um, nothing, to help the woman and her husband clean it up.
I was prepared to stand in the back galley for the rest of the flight if I had to. I was NOT going to sit back in that seat. I returned to the row though, and the woman's husband apologized to me. I half-heartedly mentioned that he shouldn't worry about it and then told him I was going to ask the flight attendants if they might possibly make another seat magically appear on this full flight. Luckily for everyone involved, the man told me that their teenage son was sitting alone up toward the front of the plane so I could exchange seats with him. Perfect.
But before I had the chance to go up to my new seat, the agonized woman reappeared after taking some time to clean herself up in the other rear lavatory. She apologized and then right away said, "I'm going through chemotherapy. I don't know where that came from. It just came out of nowhere. I'm so sorry."
Wow. My heart instantly went out to her. I have goosebumps while writing this. I touched her arm and told her whole-heartedly not to worry about it for a second. I told her that I've been there. I've been through chemotherapy. I've been the one puking at 30,000 feet on an airplane and remember it as possibly one of the worst moments of that whole ugly year.
The woman and her husband tried to give me money for my ruined pants. No way. I wouldn't even consider taking that. I just wanted that woman to be able to sit down and relax. I know that years from now, when her treatments are all over, that incident on the plane will still be with her and she'll remember it as one of the lowest moments of her whole ordeal. I didn't want to make it worse for her in any way. So I did what I could to insist that she not worry about it and then took my new seat toward the front of the plane and let their family have some peace together.
So much for the hope that traveling without a baby would mean not cleaning up puke on the plane! In all honesty though, I'm glad that I was the one sitting next to that woman. I'm glad for her, that at least in the low moment, she had someone who truly 100% understood. What are the chances?