Sunday, April 30, 2017

Marcy's Travel Blog- The Personal Journey To Recovery!

Greetings To All!

   When last I left you, I was being released from the hospital with three medications, five pounds lighter, and with a sense of determination.  My stedfast Angel, Daughter-in-law Mia Lawson picked me up from the hospital, picked up my medications, brought me home, helped me grocery shop, and cleaned my house!  I've often said- "Mia is the glue that holds this family together!"  A special THANK YOU to my Angel!

   Now came the time I carefully planned my recovery.  My goal was to regain strength and heal my heart, if that was possible. January was a time of building back a bit of stamina with walking. I also found out during my follow-up visit to Michigan Heart that my thyroid was Way Under active.  The speculation was that the low thyroid levels, coupled with my "pushing on" may have caused my heart to go into A-Fib.  A blood test determined that my thyroid was even less active then when I was in the hospital!  So- now I'm on four medications.

   In February I added Tae Chi.  I've often enjoyed watching the slow motion dance that Tae Chi seemed to be, and had wanted to give it a try. I found a set of teaching videos that gave a step-by-step procedure to Tae Chi--right up my alley, since that's my best way to learn.

   In March I added "Low Impact" aerobics. Another blood test showed my thyroid levels were still not what they should be, so they doubled my dose.  My "belly" was now flat again, and my weight back to normal.

   I will add that it seemed that my body wanted a day of rest after two days of activity.  I was beginning to listen to my body, for once!  Not that I still didn't push a bit, but I was determined to get stronger and healthier- without putting myself back in the hospital!

   This month I added weights to my workouts- every other day.  I'm talking 2 and 3 pound weights- just enough to get my muscles use to a bit more activity.

   I still had good days- and days I wanted to sleep all day!  But more than anything else, my goal of living to 103 is still strong within me!  Now came my second echocardiogram.  I felt better, looked a bit more like myself, and was at a good weight.  But still, I was a bit anxious to see what the Cardiologist would say.

   When the Doctor came into the room, he gave a happy rap on the door, and came in with a beautiful smile on his face and announced "I have Good News"! - No more A-Fib, no damage to the heart- the heart has healed, the blood pressure is good, lungs are good, and the heart rate has stabilized!

   Today is my Birthday- so it seems appropriate to share this good news today!

   To all my Angels out there, to all who said prayers and gave words of encouragement- I say a heart felt THANK YOU!

   Every day is a gift, every experience (Good as well as Bad) is an opportunity to learn!

   Happy Spring to all!  I'm looking forward to a new travel adventure soon, and am anxious to share it with you!

   Until then, dear readers- remember- "Life is an Adventure, even when it's a bumpy ride!"

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Marcy's Travel Blog- A Very Personal Journey

Hello, dear readers.  It's been a very long time since I last wrote. I've thought long and hard about what I'm about to share with you, since it's of a very personal nature.

   This past September I came down with what I thought was a virus- a flue. I didn't feel right, just sluggish, achy, and tired!  For those who know me, I've always had boundless energy, great strength, and good health.  I laid low for a couple of days, then went back to my normal busy routine.  But I didn't feel great. Fast forward to the Holidays, a very busy time for me.  Between watching dogs while folks went on vacation, and my own Holiday plans, I was one busy lady.  But I still felt "not myself". As always, I simply pushed on.

   Thanksgiving day I ran up a flight of stairs when "Bam!"- it felt like someone pulled the stuffing out of me.  My legs went weak, I felt shaky, and couldn't breath!  What the heck!  It passed, but that same thing came back from time to time during the next two months. I couldn't figure it out. Other things were happening as well.  I had been developing deep creases in my face, my hair and skin (though always a bit on the dry side) were now flakey and super dry. And I was putting on weight.  I was developing a tummy, something I had never had. My muscle tone was going fast, which made no sense, because I was exercising! And I was tired- beyond tired! Was this all due to age?

   On January 2nd I got up early to go watch a couple of pets for friends going on vacation.  I felt weak, shaky, out of breath.  I was so weak that getting dressed seemed like a heroic effort!  Once in the car I realized I wasn't going to make the 20 minute trip to my friends home! I had to call them as they reached the airport to let them know I was in medical trouble!  Something was terribly wrong! There's an Urgent Care about 5 minutes from me, so I aimed for that.  Once there my heart sank.  It was 07:30 in the morning, they didn't open until 09:00!  Damn!

   I thought about calling 911.  But to me, that call is for heart attacks, horrible accident injuries. So- I waited. When 09:00 rolled around, there was already a crowd at the door!  A woman who had pulled in about 30 minutes before told everyone that I had been there for a while, and to let me go in first.  (Angel #1!)  Once inside, the nurse immediately took me in and took my heart rate and blood pressure.  To be honest, I don't know if it was my blood pressure that was 200, or my heart rate, but they immediately told me I was going to the hospital!!  I called my daughter-in-law to pick me up, but the urgent care Doctor said NO! You are going by ambulance! (Angel #2)

   Now, strangely enough, my daughter-in-law's Father was in Saint Je's in Ann Arbor- the Heart Unit! So- that's where I requested to go.   I told my daughter-in-law about the ambulance- hung up- and there was the "First Responder" at my side. Wow!  That was fast!  The gentleman set me up for an IV- he did such a good job it hardly hurt!  He was gracious, calming, and reassuring! (Angel #3)

  Now came the Ambulance- again gracious gentlemen!  Are they trained in how to calm people? Or  is it in their nature?  However it happens, they were another great comfort. (make that Angel's #4 &5!) All I remember of that ride is the attendant telling me that my numbers were coming down, which was a good thing.

   Once in Sait Joe's, I immediately went to the Cardiac Unit- exactly two doors down from my Daughter-In-Law's Father! I was diagnosed with A-Fib, a condition where the bottom of the heart is working, the top of the heart is quivering, not beating as it should!

   Now came my stead fast Angel- my Daughter-In- Law, Mia Lawson! She had actually gotten to the hospital before my ambulance did! She must have driven like a bat out of "you know where"! Mia and Son Steven were my comfort and strength through the next four days of tests, medications, and doctors.  Strangely still, I was diagnosed with the same condition as Mia's Father! What are the odds?
Both he and I had the same "invasive echocardiogram" on the same day! This is where they put you to sleep (thank God!), put a tube with camera down your throat, to see heart and lungs.  He went home two days before me. After the Echocardiogram, they shocked my heart back into rhythm.

   The whole staff at the Cardiac Unit of Saint Joe's was wonderful- Angels all! They struggled to get my heart rate down.  And my heart rate was strange- fast, then slow, then fast again! Then came the "dreaded diagnosis"- possible Congestive Heart Failure! OH MY GOD!

   I HATE feeling fear! For me, fear brings with it ANGER! I wanted to fight down that feeling of panic- that feeling of helplessness!  I got up as soon as possible and started walking.  I walked and walked.  I wanted to see if I could gain a bit of strength back.  I had to move, push aside that feeling of panic! If I was going to collapse . that was the place to do it!  The exercise worked two fold.  It relieved my sense of panic, and my heart rate came down.  Next came a stress test. I passed it with a good report!  Whew!

   Four days after thinking I may not see another day,  I was released from the hospital. My Cardiologist actually apologized for the length of time it took to get things under control! My reaction: "Are you kidding me?  I came in here dying and four days later I'm walking out of here in good order! It's a miracle!"

  So- my next blog will be about the regime I set up to gain back strength, what they finally decided may have caused my heart condition, and the results of my 2nd Echocardiogram!

   As I said at the start of this blog- this has been a most personal journey- but one I've chosen to share with you all.  It is in fact an adventure in itself- one that came as a complete surprise, So- until next time, dear readers. I wish you all a Happy Spring, Good Health, and the Joy of each day's Blessings!


Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Marcy's Travel Blog- A Stewardess Remembers A True Triumph!

We all have perhaps one moment in our lives when something takes over our heads, and we do something "risky" that turns out great!

Mine was a relatively small thing, but causes me to smile when I think of it- so I'll share it with you.

I was on a DC-9/50- heading for Chicago's Ohare field from Detroit.  It was an early morning flight, filled with business men up front, and a full load of passengers in the back.

Since that flight is fairly short, we served coffee and juice, with little time for anything else.  At least, that's the way it normally was!

As we got closer to Chicago, we encountered thick fog and cloud coverage.  I could tell we were beginning to circle.  The Captain called me up to the cockpit and told me that Chicago was "socked in"- in other words, it was too foggy to land! We were going to be circling for a while!

I could tell that tensions were mounting, as the business people in First Class were beginning to check their watches every few minutes. Something sort of clicked in my head.  I grabbed a coffee pot and tray with cream and sugar on it and made an announcement at the beginning of First Class.

I said something to the affect that I could tell we were all getting tense, and nothing was better in a tense moment then a joke!  I told a "Pilot" joke. Lo and behold, they all burst out laughing! I poured coffee!

Everyone in Couch was looking, wondering what was so funny! So- I grabbed a full pot of coffee.  Every 5 rows or so- "Tell the joke, pour the coffee"!  When I got to the back of the aircraft I grabbed a fresh pot and went forward. Next was a "Blond Stewardess" joke. Tell the joke, pour the coffee all the way to the back.

Then the Captain made the announcement over the P.A.-- we were heading back to Detroit! Oh My!

I pulled out all the stops and told a "Brunette Stewardess" joke. I believe I followed it with any other joke I could think of until I needed to make the "Landing in Detroit" announcement.

As I sat on my jump seat for landing, I was a bit puzzled.  Usually my jokes are a bit too long and my timing a bit off- so the fact that everyone seemed to enjoy my dialog was a bit surprising!

After parking at the gate the Captain got out of the cockpit to "face the music", as he put it. I remember him saying "Oh God!  This is NOT going to be pretty!"

The First Class passengers deplaned, thanking me for a wonderful flight!  The Captain looked very confused!  All he could say to me was "WHAT?! But…but they didn't go anywhere!"

As the rest of the passengers deplaned, many people expressed their appreciation for the "show". After the last passenger deplanes, the Captain asked me what the heck did I do?

When I told him I simply told jokes and poured coffee, he shook his head and said-  "I guess humor indeed can get you through most anything!  I can't believe there was not one complaint!"

Why I decided to do that, I'll never know.  But that was one time that my instincts were correct.  As my career progressed, I saw many wonderful Stewards and Stewardesses have those instinctual moments- some that required acts of courage or great compassion.  In comparison, my triumph was very small, but one that stays in my memory of a difficult situation that turned out well!

Life is indeed an adventure!  And a bit of Humor can make the foggiest situation more tolerable!

Until next time, find something to make you belly laugh each day!

Friday, December 25, 2015

Marcy's Travel Blog- A Christmas Blessing!

May your travels and adventures- both big and small- become cherished memories!

May your heart be filled with kindness, towards yourself and others!

May you laugh often!

May you savor a sunrise- and a sunset!

May you dance- and do it with the joy of being alive!

And at the end of the day, may you look in the mirror and be able to say "WellDone"!


Friday, December 18, 2015

Marcy's Travel Blog- A Stewardess Remembers A Drunk Who Wanted To Be A Stewardess!

There are many reasons our passengers would be a bit tipsy by the time they boarded. Some would "put it away" at lightening speed before a flight.

 Perhaps there were celebrations, fear of flying, bad habit, or coming from a party where they imbibed too much, who knows!

This is one story of a flight that made 30 minutes seem like an eternity!  For those who have read my past blogs, you know that I came from a very cloistered Bible belt family.  Needless to say, there was no alcohol in the family.  Nor was there any alcohol allowed in any of our acquaintances homes-- at least not that I knew of!  So-- knowing how to handle someone who was inebriated was LOW on my ability scale!

North Central Airlines  had just changed our uniforms from double breasted suits to short dresses, white plastic high boots, and polo hats!  I tell you this because it's an important part of the story!

I was on a Convair 580 turbo prop- heading to somewhere in Wisconsin from Detroit.  As the passengers boarded, one particular passenger stood out.  He was a fairly large man, I'd say over 6 foot and portly.  And his face was reddish with a strange grin. Once at the top of the stairs I smelled the booze. ( Back then we didn't refuse a passenger for being inebriated.  In fact, I'm not sure we could refuse to serve them.  We were suppose to "charm" them into having coffee or something non alcohol- a talent I had not yet acquired. )

The tall man with the red face and silly grin stood at the top of the stairs.  As I greeted him he threw his arms around me in a big bear hug!  Oh My!  His friend was behind him, telling him to let go of the "dolly" and move along.  Dolly??!  LOL!

The flight was pretty full, that much I remember.  All went fairly smoothly until my service began. I had changed from my boots to my heels, took off my hat, put on my serving smock, and proceeded to serve beverages.  The inebriated man got up to go to the bathroom.  By this time his traveling companion was already asleep.

I was about halfway up the isle, serving from the back where the galley was, working my way forward toward the front.  That's when I heard it!!

"Helloooo!  I'm a Stewardess!  Aren't I pretty!!??"

It was the drunk!  He had on my hat, my boots (that obviously didn't fit), and had a cup holder serving tray in his hand!  (Our serving trays looked like artist's palate- shaped to hold cups and fit the hand.)

He proceeded to walk up the isle, imitating me.  "Hello!  Do you want a drink? Cute hat! How are you today? Have a drink!  Have some peanuts!"  He was giggling the whole time.  Some of the passengers were laughing too, thinking this man was pretty funny.  He WAS funny---sort of.  How do I get him out of my things and into his seat?!

I tried the "charm" approach.  I said something like "That's funny!  Thank you!  But I have to serve, so you'll have to take your seat!  Can I get you some coffee?  Can I have my things back, please"  The man turned to the passengers and repeated every word I had just said, in a high squeaky voice!  More laughter from the passengers!  Oh God!  Now what!

I tried the "MOM" approach, telling him to remove my thing and sit down!  "Oh oh!  Isn't she cute when she's mad!! (giggle giggle)" slurred the man.

Next I tried waking his friend to help me.  He opened one eye and told me to "deal" with it.  Drat!  No help there!  By now only half the passengers were served, and the seatbelt sign had just been turned on!  I again, now pleading this time, told him we were getting ready to land so sit down, PLEASE!  I then slid past him and made the seat belt announcement.  The man was still standing, so I called the cockpit.

When I told the First Officer the man was wearing some of my uniform and was vey drunk, I heard a muffled laugh in the background.  Was that the Captain?  Did everyone think this was funny? The First Officer came back to the cabin.

When my drunk saw the first officer he was still standing in my hat and boots, serving tray in hand!  He proceeded to salute the pilot, who in turn started to laugh!  Geeze!  Am I the only one not laughing here?!  It was interesting that one word from the pilot got this man in his seat.  The pilot said "Sit!", and so the drunk did.  The pilot removed the hat and boots from the passenger, handed me my things (grinning as he did so) and returned to the cockpit!

The bugger had tried to zip up my boots when he put them on- thereby tearing the zippers loose at the seam.  Thanks a lot! (Grrr!)  Sigh!

So, landing announcement made, the landing done, and now it was time to say Goodbye to the passengers.  Everyone deplaned----that is, everyone except the drunk and his friend.  Both were fast asleep!  Or were they passed out?!  I couldn't tell!  I had had enough.  In those days the cockpit door was open when we deplaned passengers.  But the pilots were busy. Now what?   I motioned for the agent who was standing at the bottom of the stairs to come up.  I explained the situation.  The agent woke the two men and asked them to deplane.

As the inebriated gentleman passed me by, he stopped, burped, and told me I needed to lighten up!  What could I say?!  Looking back, perhaps I should've just enjoyed the show he put on.  Most of the passengers did.  I was more  concerned with doing my beverage service.

Now the drama/ trauma began.  As the drunk passenger started down the stairs, he slipped or maybe fell forward.   on the top few steps! He grabbed the stair rail, but his momentum and weight caused him to catapulted over the rail, landing on his head on the tarmac!  Oh My God!  I ran back and grabbed the First Aid kit, grabbing a blanket and pillow on the way back to the front door.  I didn't know if he was bleeding- or what his injury might be, so I was prepared for whatever.

The agent who was at the bottom of the stairs when this man fell was now on his microphone, calling for medics.  The mans friend didn't even notice what had happened and had kept walking into the airport!  I ran down the stairs and knelt beside the fallen man.   I tried to check for injuries, asking the man what hurt, etc.   And when he open his eyes he grabbed me, pulled me on top of him and proceeded to give me one LONG kiss!! Here I am, struggling to get away from this man, trying to loosen his grip without causing any further injuries, and secretly wanting to slap the snot out of him!

The agent was no help!  I heard him say "Oh My God" and then laugh!  Thanks for the help, buster! I was fully aware that my short dress was probably hiking up to my waist line!  Damn this man!  Damn the Jack Daniels- or what ever it was that he was drinking !

What saved me was the ambulance!  It pulled up in the middle of this very uncomfortable embrace and kiss!  The paramedics sort of preyed me loose and stood me back on my feet!  One asked if I was giving mouth to mouth, or did I need to get a room!  Was everyone a comic?!

Evidently there were no injuries-- other than my pride, my torn boots, and a bump on the man's head.

Oh my!  What a day! I vowed to keep inebriated passengers at arms length, ran up the stairs and used mouth wash to kill any germs this guy had just passed along-- and then realized I needed to fill out a very lengthy "incident report"!  Was this day ever going to end??!!

Our flight was delayed coming home.  The passengers on the return flight were worried about their connections in Detroit!  But God Bless the Captain, who got on the P.A mid flight and explained our "not well" passenger had an accident, and we were required to care for him until the paramedics arrived.

Years later this incident seemed funnier than it did at the time.  And I had yet another story to tell.  Meanwhile,  experience lead to my better handling folks who over imbibed- and the Airline industry was better at allowing us to curb the drinking onboard to some degree.  There were some agents that still allowed inebriated passengers to board, just to get rid of them.  But not all.

So that's the story of my crazed and crazy drunk who wanted to be a Stewardess!

Life is indeed an adventure!  And a drunk who wanted to walk a mile in my boots was an adventure indeed!

Until next time,  have a great day!

Saturday, December 12, 2015

Marcy's Travel Blog- A Stewardess Remembers- It Wasn't Always Glamorous!

When I first started flying, uniforms were very different than now. We had pill box hats that were to be worn at all times, even while serving. Struggling to keep the thing on my head, I solved the problem by putting three brush  rollers in my hair, held by pics under the hat, thereby keeping the thing from falling into  my passenger's coffee.

One spring day, while flying up north in a Convair turbo prop, we hit turbulence. Boom! The ceiling seemed to come down on my head. The next thing I knew, I had landed on a sleeping man's lap. The man was startled, but not hurt. I apologized, felt I was o.k.- and went about my business of serving.

Shortly before landing, a passenger came up to me and urged me to sit down!! "You're bleeding!", he said. He had this "Oh My God!" look on his face! I looked my body over.  I didn't feel any pain.  He pointed to my head.  A quick check revealed my hair was matted with blood!

 I called the cockpit, to let them know I was injured. They, in turn, called for paramedics and told me to sit down and remain seated. They'd take care of getting the passengers off the aircraft.

 We landed, the first officer let the passengers off the plane and the paramedics came on board. Only then did I realize I was going to have to take off that darn hat! Oh NO! Rollers!

Clutching my hat, I said "No! I have to keep this on!"The paramedics looked confused, until they took off my hat and my rollers were revealed- then they laughed! I was humiliated! This was NOT suppose to happen!

The pics that held the rollers in place had pierced my scalp! They walked me to the "blue room"- which is what we called the bathroom. They bent me over the sink and started rinsing my hair! Oh God!  There goes my hair-do!

After rinsing my hair and finding the little holes in my scalp, they applied something that stung like crazy,  gave me a gauze bandage to hold against my wounds,  and left the plane, still grinning. (Little buggers!)

Note to self:  Use bobby pins to hold the rollers in place, NOT pics!

 A check in the mirror revealed the worst! My false eyelashes were half off, black eyeliner was running down my face and my makeup was completely gone. I looked like a drowned rat! Worse!  I looked NOT like a glamorous Stewardess!  I looked like something out of a horror movie!  Having curly hair, it started frizzing in all directions while it dried!

I remember telling myself that the whole situation could be a lot worse, like having a broken neck!  I looked in the mirror and started to laugh! (Was I hysterical? It's possible! Ha!)

I did what I could about my appearance. Thank goodness I at least had makeup with me! I greeted the passengers who boarded for the flight back to Detroit (frizzy hair and all),  but gave up on wearing that hat for the rest of that trip.

Now we have no hats to wear while serving, thank goodness. The airlines have in place a more sophisticated way to warn crew members and passengers about turbulence. And I have an amusing if not slightly embarrassing story to tell!

Life is truly an adventure, even when it's a bumpy ride and less than perfect appearance!

Friday, December 4, 2015

Marcy's Travel Blog- A Stewardess Remembers- The Day I Almost Quit!

Have you ever heard the expression "Everything comes in three's"?  Well... let me start at the beginning.

It was a beautiful day, clear skies and the sun was shinning.  I was the Lead Flight Attendant on a DC-9 going from Detroit to Tucson, Arizona with a stop first in Kansas City.

Shortly after take-off I had turned on the front galley ovens to warm some sandwiches, and Blam Blam!! Sparks flew out of the grill of the oven and the circuit breakers popped! I definitely smelled a "singe" smell!  I informed the cockpit that we had a problem with the ovens. (We were suppose to be serving a hot meal from Kansas City to Tucson!)  I explained in detail what had happened.  The First Officer looked at the Captain and both looked surprised, like that wasn't suppose to happen!   (I will add that I was married to the First Officer at the time.)

Now the First Officer came back to the galley, pushes in the circuit breakers and turns the ovens on. BANG- BANG!  More sparks flew out than the last time!  I swear his mustache was singed!  He walked back into the cockpit a bit dazed!  They then called the company about the problem.  How were we going to feed all these people without ovens? We were suppose to have a full flight out of Kansas!

Once in Kansas City, the caterers boarded the most beautiful fruit and cold cuts plate that I had ever seen!  How they were able to switch menus and do this on so little notice,  I'll never know!

So- off we go to Tuscan. Another half an hour or so and into the service,  I was humming my happy little "Fruit plate for the passengers" tune, glad the little catering emergency was behind us!

 I had placed my hand on the coffee pot, thinking the coffee wasn't as hot as it should be. At the same moment a "sting" ran through that hand, down my body, and out through my ankle! Plus, my hair felt like it was standing on end.  At that very same moment a Big ball of fire flew past the galley window on the right of the aircraft! This all happened all at once- along with a "Bang" sound!

 NOW what!! I couldn't help but think that the faulty ovens,  the electric shock I had received, and that ball of fire out the galley window may be all related!

The Captain came on the P.A. "Congratulations, folks!" He continued-  "You've just joined the We've Been Hit By Lightening club!  You may have seen that ball of fire off to the right of the aircraft. Let me assure you that all is well! No damage done!"

 I actually had a mark on my hand where electricity had entered my body, and on my ankle where it had exited! They later told me that they saw the ball of fire coming from their left ! It rolled over the nose of the aircraft and past along the right side of the aircraft. No instruments were damaged,

Now my mind is going double time! We had two small sons at home. ..What the heck were we doing flying together!..What the heck was I doing flying at all!!??…When was the #3 shoe going to drop (keeping in mind that everything comes in 3's),  and what would it be?!  I went to the cockpit and informed my husband the First Officer and the Captain that if we made it to Tucson, I was getting off and going home.  I was done!  Someone had to survive in order to raise the kids!  This seemed to be a warning!"

The Captain replied "Whoa!  We'll call you in sick!  Don't quit yet! "  After a moment of rethinking my motherly impulse to get home to my kids and not take any chances,  I let them know that "Okay, I'll stay with the flight. But if one more thing happens, I'm outa here!"

#3 shoe NEVER dropped.  We were not cursed after all!  Whew!

Strange, I've been in many more dangerous situations than what happened on that flight, and never felt that "urge" to quit since. Perhaps it was because my sons were so small.  Perhaps it was  just one of those days, when emotions were a bit raw.

Since that day I had so many wonderful experiences, I'm thankful I indeed didn't quit!  I think of the people I have met since, and the places I have been- and the fun, crazy,  and sometimes heartbreaking experiences I had.  I would have missed all that!

Of course, many times I had wished that I could be two people at once,  one to be a stay at home mother, and the other flying the skies.  But that wasn't a choice I had.

I am grateful for each and every adventure,  even the ones that scared me a bit! And isn't it those unusual circumstances that stay in our memories, and become more humorous as the years pass?
You can't quit life, just because it sometimes scares you!

Life is truly an adventure, even when it's a bumpy ride!

May you all savor and enjoy every adventure your life has to offer!