It is a look of sheer terror.
Now that I have safely reached Bangkok, I can laugh at that picture.
My trip was not easy. First, I got to the airport and the ticket agent asked me for an onward ticket which I absolutely did not have. But as I stuttered something about a bus ticket that I didn’t have proof of, the man took pity on me. Or, he just didn’t have the energy to deal with my nonsense. He gave me my boarding pass and urged me away from his counter.
Then, just as I settled into the waiting area at my gate, my body started to turn on me. My stomach started churning and I started to shake. I tried to curl myself into a ball. I tried to take a nap. I tried to drink some water to see if the feeling would pass.
It got worse. I could barely stand up. Right as they began boarding my flight, I decided I would try to make myself throw up. I stood up slowly. I gingerly picked up my backpack. I figured if I moved super slow, I wouldn’t disrupt my stomach’s wavering equilibrium too much. But as soon as I had my backpack on, I was forced to run for the toilet.
Yup, I was sick. So sick. But the feeling subsided as I washed my face and headed back to the gate just in time to board.
Thank goodness the worst has passed.
But, just as the plane was pulling out of the gate, the feeling came back with a vengeance. I felt like I was going to puke up my intestines. The woman sitting next to me looked on horrified as I pulled out the vomit bag out of the back of the seat. I had chills all over my body and I broke out in a cold sweat. I rocked back and forth like a crazy person. I felt like a crazy person.
What was I going to do? If I made the pilot turn around, could I get on another flight the next day? Would I be quarantined? Would I be able to convince someone to come pick me up from the airport and take me back to my old apartment?
My whole trip flashed before my eyes.
The only thing that stopped me from calling the flight attendant and forcing the plane to turn back around was the fact that I no longer had health insurance in the US. If I was forced to go to the hospital or doctor, I would be charged thousands of dollars. No, thank you.
This was not an easy decision, since at this point I had convinced myself that I was dying. Certainly, no one could feel this bad and live, right?
I did what any person who thought she was dying, but didn’t have health insurance, would do–I put my head between my knees and prayed for sleep.
And so, I slept through takeoff and through dinner. I slept until the woman next to me (accidentally?) kicked me. She may have been trying to figure out if I was still alive.
When I woke up, I realized I missed saying goodbye to the New York City skyline. I missed saying one last “I love you” to my home. This made me sad.
But, physically at least, I felt infinitely better.
For the rest of the flight, I barely ate. Even when I got to Bangkok, horribly dehydrated and hungry, I was too scared to eat. I wasn’t until dinner that I made my successful eating attempt. (Thank you, green curry!)
Now, I am safely in my hostel, tired but functioning.
Today I will rest, try not to puke, attempt to get my phone fixed (I cracked the screen in St. Thomas), and begin to plan the next couple of weeks.