I was on the plane recently and sat in the middle seat in the first row between to two young man. I do not like that seat, because I have to put my purse in the overhead. I don’t know what compelled me to sit there, but never the less that was my seat for the next couple of hours, and it was a full flight.
Halfway through the trip one of the young men, stood up and started pacing back and forth. He said he was short of breathe and felt very anxious and didn’t know what was wrong. I identified myself as a nurse and tried to assist him, by talking to him in a low quiet voice. The stewardess made him several ice packs for his neck and chest, and offered fluids and snacks.
Before the end of the flight he was resting his head on my shoulder, with no mask. The stewardess asked me if I knew him. I said no, and suddenly I was mortified that he may not be vaccinated, and I contemplated my next move.
I had on my regular blue mask, and whispered to him quietly “have you been vaccinated?” He replied “I can’t lie to you, I haven’t”. I though oh, what am I going to do now? I beckoned the stewardess to give me my purse, so I could get my N95. I told her he had not been vaccinated. She said she was wondering that as well. I thought that would be devastating to catch COVID after helping someone on the plane! I asked him to put on his mask, and I put on my N95.
I told him he should get vaccinated, even if he doesn’t get COVID he can pass the virus to his mother or grandmother. I went on to tell him if they have a preexisting condition it can be deadly. As the plane started to descend, he stated he felt better and thanked me. We parted after the plane landed. That was the last time I saw him.
Nurses and others in healthcare assist perfect strangers all the time. At times we put ourselves at risk, but it is part of the job and we do it automatically. Sometimes people are appreciative and sometimes they are not. We all wonder about random encounters that occur in our lives and why they happen. What would you have done?
This is day five and I am feeling fine, but will go get tested this week. I am hoping for the best.
Be careful and stay well! After all, we are all in this together.
Update, I was tested for the COVID virus on day six, and remain negative. What a relief!