Friday, December 23, 2005

Should We Divert the Airplane?

This is the question asked of me somewhere over Columbia or Bolivia or maybe the Brazilian reinforced by a flight attendant. The rest of the story is...
I had been given a sleep aid so get me through the ten hour overnight plane ride. So about 12:00 am I took one half a pill. It seems that was just enough sleep aid for me to drift off for about an hour and half and make me really mad when I woke up at 1:30. I sat and tried every method I could possibly think of to lull my brain back into sleep but by 4:00 am it became obvious that I was not going to sleep on that plane. I also realized that my stomach was a little queasy so I thought a trip to the tiny, tiny lavatory was in order. My seat was on the aisle about 7 rows from the back of the plane so I began the short walk to the galley and lavatory. I began to feel a little light headed just about the time I reached the lavatory door and the next thing I knew I was on the floor of the airplane with a panicked flight attendant asking me if I knew my name and the date. Then she asked if I was sweaty my heart racing. I knew that she was trying to decide if I had experienced either a stroke or a heart attach. I had all the right answers but what I did not have was a detectable blood pressure.
[Occasionally in my lifetime I have experienced a fainting spell. My blood pressure falls to some undetectable level and I fall to the ground. I always recover in a relative short period of 15 minutes.]
The flight attendant first called the pilot to tell him there was an emergency...I kept saying that I was fine and would be completely ok in a matter of minutes. Then the flight attendant called on the plane intercom for a physician. A physician shows up but the flight attendant has to see his credentials before she will let him use the blood pressure cuff on me. All this time I am still on the floor and doing some better. The physician finds his credentials and tries to find my blood is still too low to register on the cuff. He went to the first class cabin where his things were and got his wrist blood pressure cuff and by that time I had enough pressure to be measured. They let me sit up and drink water and more importantly I gained the medicinal values of a Diet Coke.
In the middle of the Diet Coke consumption the very kind and very, very concerned flight attendant called the pilot again and leaned over to me and said..."we are about 2 hours away from any airport where we can land. Do you want the pilot to divert the plane and land so you can get medical help?"
Who knew that all it really takes to change the plans of 300 people was to faint?

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

What a Trip!

My experience in Uruguay and Argentina was great! They are two beautiful countries with great people. My travel companions were funny and easy to travel with. Here is a very nice and relaxing plaza where we enjoyed Coca Cola Light a couple of afternoons.

We visited a beautiful resort city on the Atlantic coast, we toured the Congresso, visited the incredible cemeteries in both Montevideo and Buenos Aries, attended half a ballet, shopped, and so much more. I will probably have to use several more posts just to describe a small part of the week.

Here is a blurry photo of a guard at the Congresso in Montevideo. It is blurry because I was trying to take the picture without a flash or the sound of the shutter disturbing his peaceful sleep. He was actually swaying in slumber. I was about to laugh out loud.

Uruguaians (or maybe it is Uruguayans) and Argentines LOVE to eat grilled meat and lots of it. They know how to grill. It was so very good and not nearly as expensive as steak here in the U.S. I did my very best to comsume my share every day.

The grills at the restrauants are bigger than a VW bug and filled with all manner of meat.

You have to love a country where they have beautiful flower cart on the downtown streets.

Here is a preview of future postings about this trip: fainting at 40,000 ft. somewhere over Columbia, getting lost in the rain with the ferry getting ready to leave without me, a one and half hour suttle bus ride to travel about a mile and half, shuttle bus driver stopping in the middle of ten lanes of moving traffic to ask a taxi driver how to find a hotel, racing to the ballet and arguing with the ushers to get seated about 30 seconds before the intermission, and taking a dive at the soccer stadium.

Saturday, December 10, 2005

Do They Care?

Do students know that creating a test is just as hard as studying for one? Do they know that most teachers agonize over grades that are not indictative of a student's real abilities? Do they know that grading an essay is harder than writing it? Do they know that I had rather have three root canals than write multiple choice questions?
Do they care that I care?

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

Cozy Night

They reported on the news/weather all day today that there is a chance of an inch or so of snow tonight. In this southern state everyone panics when the word snow is mentioned as even a remote possibility. There is no real infra-structure to deal with snow but more importantly, most drivers have no idea how to drive in snow and ice. I try to avoid driving during winter storms because I am scared of the other drivers.

At our house we deal with winter storms by renting a couple of DVDs and building a fire in the fireplace. We are snug and warm and ready for what ever falls from the sky. However, if I were taking bets I am laying odds that nothing but some rain falls from the sky.

Have I mentioned that I am leaving for Uruguay on Sunday and the predicted temperature range is from the low 60s to the high 70s.