On the plane, a woman collapsed next to my seat on the aisle in row 2. She had already fallen twice, each time insisting she was fine. Now a flight attendant was trying to help her to her seat. As she dropped to the floor, for the third time, her hand reached for the armrest of my chair, slipping off when her weakened body gave way. Slumped in the arms of the flight attendant, she let out a soft whimper, her pale face directly in my line of vision. Her eyes rolled back in her head while muffled cries rang in my ears. Then silence. No sound. No breathing.
Passed out, fainted, lost consciousness, for what seemed like an eternity.
My heart was pounding. My stomach churned. Dread washed over me.
Then finally, miraculously, she raised her head.
“Where am I?” she asked. “Am I in my seat?”
“Please take me there,” she said.
“Are you sure?”
“Yes, I’m fine.”
The flight attendant held tightly as he guided her to row 12. Someone began talking on the loud-speaker.
“Are there any medical personnel on board?” There was a doctor.
They were nearing row 12. I turned my head and glanced toward the back of the plane, just in time to see fall #4. She was not fine.
As soon as we landed, EMT’s boarded the plane. Once I was able to exit the plane, I saw her being pushed away in a wheelchair.
She was awake and breathing. But, definitely not fine.
Now, days later, my mind still replays that scene – her breathless, motionless body, my restless, powerless mind.