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» Hatrack River Forum » Active Forums » Books, Films, Food and Culture » So I was refused admittance to my flight two days before Christmas (Page 1)

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Author Topic: So I was refused admittance to my flight two days before Christmas
Shanna
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Quick background info: Two years ago I began having unexplained fainting spells. After three specialists, I was diagnosed last summer with a type of dysautonomia called Neurocardiogenic Syncope. Basically, my autonomic nervous system does a poor job of regulating my heart rate and blood pressure. In general, my heart beats on the slow side and a trigger can quickly send it plummeting. The resulting drop in blood oxygen levels causes me to faint. Thankfully, once I'm on the ground, gravity returns the good blood to my brain and and within minutes my nervous system will begin to stabilize. I can be up and moving again within five minutes.

Six months ago, I began seeing a new dysautonomia specialist and am finally finding a combination of medications and supplements that help limit my most severe symptoms. Unfortunately, it still leaves me with mini-spells. My heart rate and blood pressure won't drop fast enough to put me on the ground, but its occasionally enough to make me dizzy, disoriented, and prone to stuttering. Sitting down for a few minutes and ingesting some fluids is all I need to bounce back. For the most part, I try to avoid known triggers like standing in one spot, sitting and then rushing up, or any unusual stimuli (people talking too fast, flashing lights, extra loud music, etc).

Anyway, for the most part I lead a pretty normal life. My coworkers are all pretty experienced when it comes to my episodes and a full-blown faint is very rare for me these days.

A few days ago, I was flying home for Christmas. Full disclosure, it had been a pretty rough week for me. I work retail and the last minute shoppers had run me ragged. However, I was glad to find the security line was short and made it a point to get a good snack and fluids in me before the flight. Its a quick one-hour flight that I had done twice already since becoming sick so while I wasn't worried, I was taking all the usual precautions.

After sitting at the gate for two hours, we were quickly lined up and sent down to the plane. The narrow hallway and slope of the gangway played with my senses and just before getting on the plane, I began to feel light-headed. I stopped to lean against the wall which quickly attracted the attention of a flight attendant. Even though I was unable to speak without heavy stuttering, they were able to figure out that I needed to sit down and brought me a wheelchair. Within a minute, I was able to explain that I had a chronic fainting condition and was thankful for the help and feeling well enough to stand again.

They insisted that I be cleared by the EMTs before being allowed on the plane. At this point, I was trying to be very patient and understanding. I know my episodes can look scary from the outside and knew that my vitals were already approaching normal. I was assured that EMT clearance was just part of procedure. After a short delay and a broken blood pressure cuff, the EMTs announced that my pulse was 86 and my blood pressure was 120/70, both perfectly normal for a 27 year old woman. I was eager to get on the plane and stop holding things up but when the stewards asked if the EMTs recommended that I go to the hospital, they said that always recommended a trip to the hospital. At this point, I'm starting to get annoyed because I had already made it clear that this was a known medical condition and my body had already properly recovered. After signing a form saying that I was refusing transportation to the hospital, I was ready to get on the plane but was once again refused admittance. They were convinced that I was a liability.

My condition is an annoyance but not life-threatening. I was again explained that I would be perfectly safe sitting on a plane and that I was most likely triggered by the the sudden rush to move after sitting for so long. Headrushes for me are just more extreme than the general public, but again, at no point had I lost consciousness.

During these various exchanges, one worker even remarked that he was surprised that I was allowed to continue driving. Personally, I am incredibly offended when someone questions my medical health choices.

Once they closed the airplane door, I broke down into tears. Christmas is the only time my whole family is together. Its the only time I get to see my dad because he's often working out of the country. Because of my retail job, I was only granted three days to see them and the airlines's promise to put me on the next flight in the morning meant losing 12 hours with my family just two days before Christmas.

I nearly had to throw a fit in order for them to put me up in a hotel room and save me the three hour roundtrip drive home and back again. They refused to even take my luggage off the plane even after I told them I had put my medications in my checked bag so I would have to worry about all of them at security.

Without my sleep aids (chronic use of my main meds reduces melatonin) I only got about 3 hours of sleep before getting back to the airport. I had to make the flight the following morning without any of my medications. When they offered a wheelchair, I took it without arguing because I could barely keep upright. I spent the hour flight ill and permanently attached to my heart monitor.

When I made the return flight today, I was once again saddled with a wheelchair. I hated it but didn't want a single stumble to keep me from getting home. I hate the stares because I look like a fully capable young woman. When the plane landed, I avoided the wheelchair attendant waiting for me in favor of walking. I heard atleast one woman muttering behind me at baggage claim about how I had cheated the system. Maybe I should have tougher skin but I don't like to use accommodations when I don't absolutely need them.

In regards to the initial incident, here's my problem! I can understand that they were just protecting the company, but I have rights as well. I am furious about the way it was repeatedly stated that a clean bill of health from the EMTs was all that was needed to allow me access to my flight, only to be withdrawn later. I am furious that my attempts to explain that this was a chronic condition were ignored. I am furious that a group of strangers were telling me that my body and my health condition was a danger. I am furious that decisions made between my doctor and I regarding my ability to drive, were called into question. I am furious that I was forced to fly under worse conditions because my medication would not be retrieved, all while listening to a group of airline employees say that they were making this decision for my own safety.

I understand that my illness is not a commonly known one. It doesn't have the visibility of diabetes or epilepsy. But it is a disability and treating it differently because its invisible, really bothers me.

I will probably be flying again in May and so my mother and I are already looking into additional paperwork to prevent this from happening again. We'd talked about med-alert bracelets and wallet cards before but had struggled with the most efficient way to state my condition and recommended course of treatment (which is basically, "let me lie down/sit and don't you dare call an ambulance unless I have a gushing head wound.") My brother is diabetic and most people don't see his dog tags and on the rare times he's gotten sick, most don't look for his wallet card. Until now, especially with full-blown drops becoming so uncommon, it really hasn't been something I thought I needed.

We will also be printing out the part of the Disability Act that handles chronic illness and Air Carrier Access. At no point did anyone ask for a medical certificate before refusing me admittance. My dad is also going to work with me in regards to writing up a formal complaint against Southwest Airlines and New Orleans Int Airport.

In the end, I was able to get most of my time together with my family though I lost a few more hours sleeping and recovering from the most uncomfortable flight experience ever. Despite being more angry that I've been in a long time, it didn't ruin my holiday and I couldn't have been more grateful for the time I spent with my parents and brothers even if it'll be a full year before it happens again.

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Rakeesh
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Ugh, that's awful, Shanna:( I can't stand when people...hmmm...dehumanize?...other people, begin to speak of them in ways that their lives and their choices are something that are to be judged. I have almost never encountered anyone doing so who wasn't horribly suited to that sort of posture, and then when you throw in medical issues to boot and have a pack of ignorant laypeople holding court...

Blegh. I very much hope the May flight goes better!

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AchillesHeel
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I'm happy that you are already getting ready to protect your rights, and to also better ensure that they know that you are safe and will not go into a seizure or something mid-flight. Have you considered getting one of those USB medical bracelets?

Is it at least easier to get through the airport rigamarole in a wheel chair? If I ever have to (and I mean must) get on a plane at a busy airport I might suffer for the time on my foot.

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Uprooted
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I'm sorry you had to go through that, Shanna. I don't know anything about such things, but would a signed letter on a doctor's letterhead stating that it is safe for you to fly be something to consider carrying with you in addition to the other measures you are working on?

Glad you ultimately had some time to spend with your family, but that is a big chunk to take out of a very short vacation.

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rivka
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[Frown] That sucks.

Good luck figuring out methods for preventing future incidents with over-protective airline personnel.

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Orincoro
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quote:
I understand that my illness is not a commonly known one. It doesn't have the visibility of diabetes or epilepsy. But it is a disability and treating it differently because its invisible, really bothers me.
Shanna, I feel for you, but I have to say as a former EMT and the son of a disabled person as well, I am quite convinced that the airline staff acted perfectly appropriately in this case. You should travel with a note from your doctor explaining your condition, and you should advise the airline of the condition before flying. The airline is perfectly aware, as you are, that the chances of something going terribly awry in the air are very slight. But they are also aware of what happens to them, their jobs, and their liability for your safety if you fly with them, and if they are not absolutely sure that it is safe to do so.

Having an illness or a disability is not your fault. But what happened, while annoying and inconvenient for you, is an unfortunate consequence of your condition. To expect people to respond, with perfect aplomb, to a person who faints with no warning and claims this as a normal thing for them, as if it is no big deal, is possibly unreasonable. I wasn't there, but i have to say, depending on how things looked, I might very well have refused to allow you on the plane.

As to your rights: full stop, you do not have a right to board the company's plane unless they are comfortable with you doing so. That is an unfortunate fact of your situation. Were this a public school, or public transport, etc, I would be singing a different tune. But it was a private airline -a company which takes great risk of liability in offering its services. And they have a right, according to the terms of service which you agree to when buying the ticket, to change your travel arrangements or refuse boarding if they are not satisfied that you are fit to fly.

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Rakeesh
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Which would be all well and good, perhaps, except I read at least two rather serious movements of the goalposts in that scenario, with respect to what they were telling her would be needed. Much of that story, as I read it, was as much about hope being close to fulfillment only to be snatched away by unpredicted, unwarned decisions or extra hurdles.

Had someone with the nerve to be truthful-"I'm sorry Ms. ______, but before we can allow you to board we are going to need some specific and very compelling medical reassurance," or even the less forthright but still truthful, "I'm sorry Ms. ______, but I'm not clear on precisely what sort of safeguards we'll need, but it is possible we won't be able to permit you to fly with us. I can't say with certainty either way until I learn more."-then I suspect, but no one can be sure, that her sense of outrage and injustice would be less sharp.

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Stephan
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Somehow I knew this was southwest before I got to the end. I have heard similar stories about that god awful carrier.
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Stephan
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Somehow I knew this was southwest before I got to the end. I have heard similar stories about that god awful carrier.
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Shanna
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What confused me most about the EMTs was their insistence that I should allow myself to be taken to the hospital. I've had a couple of run-ins with EMTs over the last two years (thankfully none since beginning my new medication regiment) and never have I been pressured to go to the hospital. My last major incident was last summer when a large meal dropped my blood pressure and I began to have convulsions. My friend called 911 and atleast three ambulances responded. I was stuttering and shaking like a leaf when they arrived, more terrified than anything, and after repeatedly checking my vitals they offered a ride to the hospital but said it was entirely my choice and advised me that there was practically nothing an ER doctor would be able to do for me after a seizure-like event. They said it would be best to check in with my own doctor (I already had an appointment scheduled for the following week for the test that confirmed the diagnosis.)

So having gone through this and several full-blown faints, I have NEVER had an EMT recommend a trip to the hospital especially with vitals as good as mine had been.

And if they had decided from the beginning to refuse me admittance, they would have had time to atleast retrieve my bags and not leave me stranded without my medication. They were like, "well, you should have put them in your carry-on." Personally, I'd been trying to make my trip through security as easy as possible. My supplements are a huge part of my regiment as well and I order them in ginormous bottles. I figured I'd throw a few in an ziplock bag and keep them with my prescriptions in my checked bag so I wouldn't have to explain the weird unmarked white capsules in my carry-on. Maybe security wouldn't have cared but I ALWAYS get pulled out for special screening and I try not to test my luck. Besides, I was making a one-hour evening flight and I take my meds in the morning. Even if my bag had gotten lost, I could have gone to the pharmacy in the morning for an emergency supply.

As for the airline and passenger rights, while Southwest is a private company they are still regulated in regards to disabilities. According to the Air Carrier Access Act,

quote:
Under what circumstances may a carrier determine that there is reasonable doubt
that a passenger can complete the flight safely without requiring extraordinary
medical assistance during the flight and thus require the passenger to obtain a
medical clearance as a condition for providing air transportation? How is
“extraordinary medical assistance” defined?

A carrier may determine that there is reasonable doubt that a passenger can
complete the flight safely without requiring extraordinary medical assistance during the
flight when the passenger’s condition does not appear to be medically stable (e.g., the
passenger has apparent significant difficulty in breathing, appears to be in substantial pain,
etc.). Extraordinary medical care is care that may require the use of onboard emergency
medical equipment (e.g., automated external defibrillator or enhanced emergency medical
kit (EEMK)) or voluntary assistance from another medically trained passenger, or a
delay/diversion to obtain the medical assistance necessary to stabilize that passenger.
Extraordinary medical assistance may also be needed when a passenger is unable to self-administer medication or routine medical care necessary to maintain the stability of
his/her condition during a flight (e.g., insulin injection). In instances where the carrier
reasonably concludes that extraordinary medical assistance may be necessary, it may
require a medical certificate. The carrier is also free to offer the passenger the option of
undergoing pre-flight medical clearance.

As I understand that, while it would be helpful to carry extensive documentation, I am not required to show proof of my medical condition unless there is good reason to believe that I would not be able to fly without EXTRAORDINARY assistance. Had I still been stuttering (to the point of being unable to communicate the need for assistance) or unable to walk on my own, then yeah, those would seem like valid reasons to refuse me access to the plane. A dizzy spell would not.

Achilles, you will move quickly through the airport via wheelchair. Both airports offered special shorter security lines for those with medical needs, which I had always thought were just for wheelchairs and very young children, but which I will probably request next time as standing in long lines is my arch-enemy (and why I never buy more items in a store than would allow me to use express checkout.) Wheelchair users also board first. Though personally, I found it incredibly annoying that my wheelchair attendant took possession of my boarding pass at every checkpoint. I felt like a child being wheeled around.

Next time I may utilize the option to use the shorter security line and ask about pre-boarding so I can walk at my own pace without feeling rushed or overwhelmed. I will always prefer walking to standing or sitting as the movement helps keep my blood pressure elevated. Sitting is fine but my doctor always says I'm terrible at taking it slow when I first stand up. He always looks like he wants to bop me on the head with my chart when I go bounding out of my chair at the end of an appointment. I'm still adjusting to the whole "just I feel better doesn't mean I'm cured" mentality.

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Orincoro
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quote:
Originally posted by Rakeesh:
Which would be all well and good, perhaps, except I read at least two rather serious movements of the goalposts in that scenario, with respect to what they were telling her would be needed. Much of that story, as I read it, was as much about hope being close to fulfillment only to be snatched away by unpredicted, unwarned decisions or extra hurdles.

I understand that. But such is the way of things with ineffectual low-level people, particularly if you take the drastic step of allowing them to make actual decisions. I am not surprised at the confusion, but the result is, while not assured, certainly not surprising from where I'm sitting.

quote:

Had someone with the nerve to be truthful-"I'm sorry Ms. ______, but before we can allow you to board we are going to need some specific and very compelling medical reassurance," or even the less forthright but still truthful, "I'm sorry Ms. ______, but I'm not clear on precisely what sort of safeguards we'll need, but it is possible we won't be able to permit you to fly with us. I can't say with certainty either way until I learn more."-then I suspect, but no one can be sure, that her sense of outrage and injustice would be less sharp.

Agreed. The approach was the problem. The actual decision was, in my opinion, justified.


quote:
As I understand that, while it would be helpful to carry extensive documentation, I am not required to show proof of my medical condition unless there is good reason to believe that I would not be able to fly without EXTRAORDINARY assistance. Had I still been stuttering (to the point of being unable to communicate the need for assistance) or unable to walk on my own, then yeah, those would seem like valid reasons to refuse me access to the plane. A dizzy spell would not.
Yet you were denied admittance. You, as the lowly Ms. Somebody in this equation, need to be armed with something more potent than an understanding of your own condition. The airline knows and understands none of this, and cannot really be expected to.

quote:
Both airports offered special shorter security lines for those with medical needs, which I had always thought were just for wheelchairs and very young children, but which I will probably request next time as standing in long lines is my arch-enemy (and why I never buy more items in a store than would allow me to use express checkout.) Wheelchair users also board first. Though personally, I found it incredibly annoying that my wheelchair attendant took possession of my boarding pass at every checkpoint. I felt like a child being wheeled around.
Now you're talking. Declare a medical condition, and accept the perks (and humiliations) as a part of life. These people just want everything to go as expected. If you are expected to have a medical condition, they will treat you differently, but they will also accomodate you more willingly.


quote:
I'm still adjusting to the whole "just I feel better doesn't mean I'm cured" mentality.
In your first post, you came off as self-righteous that strangers were not able to grapple with this concept either. But now you seem to make the connection a bit more reasonably. In future, the only thing I would suggest is patience and preparation. Your plan to complain to the airline is unproductive, in my view.
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Rakeesh
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Yeah. Entirely too self-righteous, heheheheh.

I didn't say low-level employee uncertainty was surprising, just that that was probably a good chunk of if not most of the problem-the ground shifting beneath her feet, so to speak. As to the rest, that's some laudable lecturing about how she ought to have made proactive decisions she has already decided to make. Nicely done!

And as for a complaint, the airline will get and consider it a part of doing business a complaint that some flight attendant was disrespectful because they didn't let someone move up to an empty seat in first class or told them to turn off their electronics, I'll bet. This seems a matter where they could use some more precise oversight and guidelines for employees.

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Shigs
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The most interesting part of the story by far was the bit where the woman suffered random faints and thought herself capable of driving a motor vehicle.
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Rakeesh
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She did mention it was a decision arrived at between her and her, you know, trained and licensed medical professional (that is, doctor).

Did you suffer a bout of dizziness while reading that part, Shigs, or did your eagerness to get in a zinger at someone venting about a frustrating, embarrassing experience simply dull your wits to the point that you missed it?

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El JT de Spang
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EMTs, while great, aren't nearly well-trained enough to be much use in a situation like yours.

Side note: I've had very good luck writing emails to customer service reps on carriers that have screwed up travel for me. Usually I'll start by complaining about the carrier publicly (on twitter), and one of them will contact me with an email and offer to help resolve it. Of course, me having a lot of followers might have something to do with that.

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Shigs
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She randomly loses conciousness. If and when this happens as she's driving, she could kill someone. Not necessarily herself.

Also, where does she state that her doctor recommends she drive?

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Rakeesh
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It's in the first post in plain language, 'Shigs', or rather an unknown other Hatrackers using a screen name registered half a year ago now with a current total of two posts-in this thread.

So not only are you unwilling or unable to read attentively, you're almost certainly some other, more well known name who wants to take shots at someone who was venting about a bad experience from the safety of anonymity.

Well, weakness in the mind is no strange bedfellow to weakness in the spine.

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Shigs
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Actually, no, it doesn't. She says that someone questioned her driving, and she was offended by it. That's all. So I'm clarifying for her that the reason they questioned her is because she could faint whilst driving and kill someone.

You look very dashing in that sword and armor, Rakeesh.

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rivka
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quote:
Originally posted by Shigs:
She randomly loses conciousness.

Incorrect. Try reading her post again.
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Rakeesh
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Shigs,

quote:
I am furious that decisions made between my doctor and I regarding my ability to drive, were called into question.
After three chances to pay as much attention as a middle-schooler to a reading comprehension essay, color me unsurprised that you failed to come up to scratch. Now, neither of us know Shanna personally or her doctor, I am all but certain, so we cannot either of us speak with real authority. But we can use high-level skill in basic literacy to see that she has plainly indicated that she reached her decision to drive in conversation with her doctor.

As for a sword and armor, naw, don't elevate yourself. I don't think I've even corresponded with Shanna even here on Hatrack more than half a dozen times over the years. She's an amiable Hatrack acquaintance, that's all. It's just fun to call someone out who lacks both the meager guts necessary to criticize in their own *online* name who also manages to fail to even read the material they're being critical about.

I would say ask around, that would be very much in character for me, but there's a good chance you don't need to ask around, given that you're almost certainly a regular.

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Shigs
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She can't even make it to the end of a boarding tunnel for a plane. She'll hurt someone eventually.
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Rakeesh
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quote:
Originally posted by rivka:
quote:
Originally posted by Shigs:
She randomly loses conciousness.

Incorrect. Try reading her post again.
Rivka, there's only room for one knight in shining armor pointing out Shigs is full of crap in this thread, and clearly that's me.

Besides, aren't you like a girl or something? We'll get you a tall pointy hat with some cloth hanging from it, maybe a nice tower, and of course the requisite handkerchief, set you right up, kay?

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Rakeesh
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quote:
Originally posted by Shigs:
She can't even make it to the end of a boarding tunnel for a plane. She'll hurt someone eventually.

So now, with a careful study of medical history provided by this thread along with a lengthy analysis of her current health, you know better what will happen than her physician, Shigs.

That must be one HELL of a medical/prophecy/remote viewing college you attended.

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Shigs
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Hey, now.

I spent a lot of time in school to figure out that an unconcious person will crash the vehicle they're operating. Please don't belittle my hard work.

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El JT de Spang
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Go back and spend some time on reading comprehension. See how adding the word 'randomly' where it doesn't belong can change the meaning of sentences.

You, for instance, spend a large portion of your day unconscious. By your reasoning, that means you can't safely operate a vehicle without it crashing, since you randomly pass out. IT'S A QUANDARY!

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scholarette
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quote:
Originally posted by Shigs:
Hey, now.

I spent a lot of time in school to figure out that an unconcious person will crash the vehicle they're operating. Please don't belittle my hard work.

And if driving was a trigger that would be valid. I am hoping in your time learning to drive you also learned not to do a lot of standing up quickly (her main trigger) because that seems like a very dangerous thing to do while driving even without a medical problem.
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rivka
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quote:
Originally posted by Rakeesh:
We'll get you a tall pointy hat with some cloth hanging from it

I prefer cloches.
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Shanna
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Shigs, let me try to allay your misplaced fears. You're missing not only a general understanding of my condition (which was clarified repeatedly to the EMTs in simple language they should know) but my past medical history as well.

The way NCS is diagnosed is by observing changes in orthostatics. Every doctor's visit I have begins with a nurse who takes my heart rate and blood pressure while lying down and then again while I'm standing. There is a atleast a 20 point drop in either when you move me to a standing position. A normal person's body is much better at counteracting the change in gravity as it pulls all your blood down to your feet. My nervous system sucks at this and either doesn't react fast enough or overreacts in the wrong direction (dropping my heart rate instead of raising it.) The actual test used to diagnose me involved strapping me to an upright board and seeing how long I can stay conscious if I am unable to move. I lasted about 13 minutes and even then, they stopped the test before I blacked out. You can get my heartrate down to 30 bpm and drop my oxygen saturation down to 80% and I'll still be awake, just fuzzy. As such, I am a minor case.

With medication, I can now stand through entire concerts. I will do things like bounce on my toes or shift my weight in order to elevate my blood pressure. I also consume about 5x more sodium on a daily than recommended for a healthy person in order to keep my blood pressure and blood volume high.

In two years, I have only had one "faint" (which for me is a loss in muscle tone, not a lose of consciousness) while sitting and it was after eating a large meal. Now that we know food is a trigger for me, I do not eat less than an hour before I drive. When I was sicker, if I felt too weak to drive, I called out at work. I do not get into a vehicle if I do not feel healthy. Interestingly enough, my friends and coworkers who have witnessed some of my worst episodes from my early days do not worry about getting into a car with me. Driving is comfortable for me. I'm sitting so I don't have to worry about an orthostatic reaction and I'm using my feet to push the peddles so the constant lower leg tension keeps my blood pressure at a nice high number. I've had so many tests on my heart that atleast in some areas, I'm safer than some man or woman who hasn't had a check-up in years and is a heart-attack waiting to happen.

Some fainters (including myself) also usually feel warning signs called pre-syncope. What happened on the gangway was exactly that. I began to feel the beginning of a drop and instead of ignoring it and pushing on, I found a solid surface to rest at. And in the end, did not faint with or without a loss of consciousness.

Ideally, the laws and protections for those who are sick and/or disabled are there to protect them from the ignorance of people in positions of authority or power. I don't expect them to be medical expert, though I do hope the EMTs are atleast trained enough to know about "orthostatics" so that they can give sound advice. But "it makes me uncomfortable" is not enough of a reason to prohibit me from making my own medical decisions. That kind of logic was once used against people in wheelchairs or people who are deaf which is why we now have these laws and guidelines. We live in an ever evolving medical world and people with lesser known illnesses and chronic conditions need to be the final voices for their own limitations and abilities, not some medically unknowledgable gate attendant.

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scholarette
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I think you should complain because I think airlines need to be aware. I don't know what good it will do but I think making the complaint is still worth the time.
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Belle
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quote:
EMTs, while great, aren't nearly well-trained enough to be much use in a situation like yours.

Depends on whether they were basic EMT's or EMT-Paramedics. Paramedics are highly trained and usually very, very good at patient assessment - much better than most doctors and nurses, in fact. They work independently under medical protocols, unlike nurses, and I'd much rather be evaluated by one in a public place, than I would be evaluated by a doctor or nurse who is away from the usual trappings and equipment he/she is used to working with.

Standards for paramedics have risen sharply over the years, and it's now as difficult, and in some places probably more difficult to get a paramedic license than it is to get an RN. With the national registry movement, attaining a license is difficult now, and keeping it even more so with the required continuing education hours. Whenever you have time and are bored, try looking at the education standards for paramedics. Keep in mind, they do most of the same types of medical education classes nurses do, and then they have to learn the protocols they work under. Those protocols are updated every two years and re-certification is necessary.

I'm not knocking nurses, who are wonderful and work hard, but many people have the attitude that paramedics are wanna-bes who couldn't hack nursing school. So not true. In fact, my husband has taught many a nurse in paramedic school who has come back to get their paramedic certification because many of the premier jobs they want (flight nurses for critical care transport, etc.) require a paramedic license because of the need to act independently. Many of them have remarked that attaining that paramedic license was much harder than nursing school.

Sorry for the rant, but my hubby spends his life now as an educator teaching the next generation of paramedics, and one thing that he always complains about is we have to fight public perception, too. People unfortunately don't see paramedics as the professionals they truly are, and it's disappointing. It's changing, though - slowly. One thing that has picked up in the last few years is paramedics being employed outside traditional fire/rescue. Doctors offices are figuring it out and hiring them over RN's because they can do more with less supervision. Emergency rooms area doing the same. It's a slow process, but we'll get there. [Smile]

I'm not surprised they pressured you to go to the hospital, because they would also be thinking of the liability and their own duty to act. Had they cleared you, and you collapsed of a heart condition (and many of your symptoms can definitely be symptoms of an underlying heart condition) on the plane and died, they would have faced loss of their license at the best. Once you were in their care, they cannot abandon the care of you until you either sign away your consent to treatment (which you did, with the refusal of transport) or they turn you over to the care of a physician.

tl;dr - paramedics are more competent than most people think, and probably acted accordingly

Regardless, the whole thing sucked for you Shannna and I'm sorry it happened. [Frown]

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Shigs
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Shanna - That's fair enough. But Belle is right on the liability stuff.
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Dan_Frank
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quote:
Originally posted by Rakeesh:
Besides, aren't you like a girl or something? We'll get you a tall pointy hat with some cloth hanging from it, maybe a nice tower, and of course the requisite handkerchief, set you right up, kay?

It wasn't until I got to the handkerchief that I realized you were saying she could be a damsel in distress, as opposed to a wizard.
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AchillesHeel
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Damsels can be wizards, and even damsel-wizards need a little help now and then.
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El JT de Spang
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quote:
Originally posted by Belle:
quote:
EMTs, while great, aren't nearly well-trained enough to be much use in a situation like yours.

Depends on whether they were basic EMT's or EMT-Paramedics. Paramedics are highly trained and usually very, very good at patient assessment - much better than most doctors and nurses, in fact. They work independently under medical protocols, unlike nurses, and I'd much rather be evaluated by one in a public place, than I would be evaluated by a doctor or nurse who is away from the usual trappings and equipment he/she is used to working with.

Standards for paramedics have risen sharply over the years, and it's now as difficult, and in some places probably more difficult to get a paramedic license than it is to get an RN. With the national registry movement, attaining a license is difficult now, and keeping it even more so with the required continuing education hours. Whenever you have time and are bored, try looking at the education standards for paramedics. Keep in mind, they do most of the same types of medical education classes nurses do, and then they have to learn the protocols they work under. Those protocols are updated every two years and re-certification is necessary.

I'm not knocking nurses, who are wonderful and work hard, but many people have the attitude that paramedics are wanna-bes who couldn't hack nursing school. So not true. In fact, my husband has taught many a nurse in paramedic school who has come back to get their paramedic certification because many of the premier jobs they want (flight nurses for critical care transport, etc.) require a paramedic license because of the need to act independently. Many of them have remarked that attaining that paramedic license was much harder than nursing school.

Sorry for the rant, but my hubby spends his life now as an educator teaching the next generation of paramedics, and one thing that he always complains about is we have to fight public perception, too. People unfortunately don't see paramedics as the professionals they truly are, and it's disappointing. It's changing, though - slowly. One thing that has picked up in the last few years is paramedics being employed outside traditional fire/rescue. Doctors offices are figuring it out and hiring them over RN's because they can do more with less supervision. Emergency rooms area doing the same. It's a slow process, but we'll get there. [Smile]

I'm not surprised they pressured you to go to the hospital, because they would also be thinking of the liability and their own duty to act. Had they cleared you, and you collapsed of a heart condition (and many of your symptoms can definitely be symptoms of an underlying heart condition) on the plane and died, they would have faced loss of their license at the best. Once you were in their care, they cannot abandon the care of you until you either sign away your consent to treatment (which you did, with the refusal of transport) or they turn you over to the care of a physician.

tl;dr - paramedics are more competent than most people think, and probably acted accordingly

Thanks for posting -- I am aware of the difference between EMTs and Paramedics, but you're right to point out that they are often lumped together. I've said for years that, if I were in a medical emergency, the only person I'd prefer to a paramedic is an ER doc.
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Samprimary
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quote:
Originally posted by Shigs:
She can't even make it to the end of a boarding tunnel for a plane. She'll hurt someone eventually.

Why would you look at this a courageous new poster speaking cold hard confrontational truths right out of the gate without introductions, truly a patriot
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Shigs
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Thank you for the kind words, Samp. They are appreciated. I am indeed patriotic.
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Samprimary
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Please just cut to the expected reveal and let us know what your primary posting account identity is
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Orincoro
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quote:
Originally posted by Rakeesh:
Yeah. Entirely too self-righteous, heheheheh.

I didn't say low-level employee uncertainty was surprising, just that that was probably a good chunk of if not most of the problem-the ground shifting beneath her feet, so to speak. As to the rest, that's some laudable lecturing about how she ought to have made proactive decisions she has already decided to make. Nicely done!

You don't really have a call to be such a dick. I'm not trying to be an asshole here. You apparently are.
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Shigs
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I'm afraid that I don't have another name on this board. Never have.
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Orincoro
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And yet you referred to Samp by the preferred short form of his username. Not something you might expect from someone who never posted her before today. Interesting that.
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Dan_Frank
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quote:
Originally posted by Orincoro:
And yet you referred to Samp by the preferred short form of his username. Not something you might expect from someone who never posted her before today. Interesting that.

Actually, "Samp" is the assumption virtually everyone makes. Even though it's actually two words, Sam Primary. If I remember right, the preferred choice, inasmuch as he cares at all, which I don't think he really does, is actually "Sam."

Since, you know, that's his name.

Also, if the guy's been lurking for 6 months, that's plenty of time to see everyone call him "Samp."

Speaking of... having a 6 month period of non-posting isn't that surprising to me. I had an account for years and years before I posted.

Do we have some actual cause to think he's an alt? Maybe he's just a new guy who's a bit of a prat. I can't think of any jerks on Hatrack who would be ashamed or reluctant to be straightforwardly a jerk in this way, if they felt it was warranted.

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Dan_Frank
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(Samp Rimary is his Star Wars name)
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Samprimary
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He's definitely an alt; we can just know these things.

Sincerely, parkour

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Orincoro
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quote:
Originally posted by Dan_Frank:

Do we have some actual cause to think he's an alt? Maybe he's just a new guy who's a bit of a prat. I can't think of any jerks on Hatrack who would be ashamed or reluctant to be straightforwardly a jerk in this way, if they felt it was warranted.

I realize your role is often as resident naysayer, but don't naysay this merely out of habit. He's posted a handful of posts, one of the first of which was a note of praise for Ron about keeping the faith alive (or to that effect).

I write and read and parse words for a living. As Samp said, you can just tell when it's an alt, and you'd be a chump not to come down on the side of trusting your instincts. I think we've been through a few people who used alts consistently, but it was more or less always the same approximate M.O. I can't remember if Bean Counter used alts, but I do seem to remember a fall off of a particular kind of rare poster when he was sent to Iraq (and regrettably, was killed there).

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Shigs
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I hereby give your mod permission to compare and contrast my IP address to other screennames. I promise you, this is not an alt. Dan is a lot closer then anyone else has been.

Of course, I could be using a proxy. And ya'll are not at all likely to take my word on this. And I promise that tonight I will be crying bitter, bitter tears into my pillow over that.

Seriously.

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Samprimary
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quote:
Originally posted by Orincoro:
I can't remember if Bean Counter used alts,

he did, including open flaunting ones post-ban
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Samprimary
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quote:
Originally posted by Shigs:
Dan is a lot closer then anyone else has been.

Well he did correctly note that you are a prat, so
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TomDavidson
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Yeah, "Shigs" is pretty clearly an alt -- and a troll, at that. Let it go, please, before it becomes a thing.
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Shanna
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Personally, I don't care if Shigs is a newbie or an alt. Either way, I found his comments very insensitive and purposefully rude. It doesn't matter to me if these are judgments coming from a regular who is feeling hurtful and decided to pick on a lurker or from a new member who thinks they can make a splash by being offensive and willfully ignorant.

If nothing else, either motivation just serves to prove the larger point that atleast some segment of the population associates physical illness with personal weakness. There is this idea that I am sick and therefore unable to be trusted to make informed and rational decisions regarding my life and how it affects others.

Part of this original post was inspired by the conversation happening over in the thread about the 50's themed party. Because while I've had a few eye-roll moments when dealing with social justice bloggers, I do have friends who have been incredibly aided and emotionally comforted by the awareness aspect of social justice and its terminology which can seem unusual to outsiders but can be quite powerful for individuals who have been searching for words to express how different they feel inside.

When it began to become apparent to my boss that I was not going to suddenly be cured, I had to go through this very stressful process of sitting down and making formal accommodations requests in order to protect my job, which in turn protects my health as it is what allows me to keep paying my medical bills. For someone like myself who is very independent, it was quite difficult to formalize the idea that "I am disabled and therefore need help with these x-tasks and will need to have y-tasks removed from my responsibility."

Talking with people in the disability and invisible illness communities about ableism has been a great way for me to deal with my frustrations and resulting depression. My coworkers are like my second family and I have a great relationship with my boss. But for weeks, I had to deal with questions that were constantly blurring our professional/personal relationship. I was questioned as to whether it was wise for me to live alone. I was asked why I didn't take a friend to my doctor appointments to make sure I didn't miss anything. It was repeatedly mentioned that maybe I should go on disability leave so that I could really focus on getting better, that maybe I just wasn't trying hard enough.

There are things that I do in my own personal life on the advice of my doctor (who actually has a variation of my condition) that even my friends aren't aware of. I don't broadcast alot of what I do and how I feel because I'm trying to build this idea of my "new normal." Spontaneous recovery does happen but its just as likely that I will be dealing with this for the rest of my life. I try to be grateful because for some people this becomes a degenerative condition or the true underlying cause rears its head and they find themselves battling a much more difficult illness.

I've actually talked with a few people who have Ehler-Danlos Syndrome (a connective tissue disorder that some are diagnosed with after years of fainting) about whether or not life was easier before or after they began using a wheelchair as their primary locomotion. While its not an opinion shared by all, some said that while they hate the confining nature of being in a wheelchair, they find that people are compassionate after than they were when they were still walking. There is a stigma against invisible illnesses which includes nonsense like, "you don't look sick" or "you'd get better if you really tried."

So for me, the airport is part of this larger issue of me getting tired of being treated differently or not having my rights protected because "I don't look sick" or because I don't want to conform to excessive accommodations for a non-life threatening chronic illness. There's also the secondary issue of non-medical experts relying on their own limited knowledge rather than allowing me and those who are knowledgeable to make decisions. When strangers get involved the results are at best inconvenient and discriminating, at worst dangerous.

The second part actually refers to an incident a few months ago when I accompanied a friend to a bar because she needed cheering up. The late hour and large noisy crowd brought on a full-blown episode. My friend nearly assaulted a group of strangers who blocked her attempts to help me (by bringing me salt and water) and instead decided to treat me like a sloppy drunk and attempt to prematurely get me to my feet. Every lift of my head knocked me unconscious and when I would come around, they continued to ignore my sobbing pleas to stop touching me.

Sorry for the excessively long post, but yeah, I have a personal sore spot when it comes to people telling me what's best for me.

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Shigs
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How much money do you think it costs your employer to have to keep you over someone who isn't disabled?
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