Thursday, 4 June 2009

Flight AF447 - 2/6/2009

Horrible, horrible horrible.....

I walked into Terminal 1 Rio airport and looked for the Air France check-in desk for flight AF447. You couldn't miss it. It was sectioned off at the far end and surrounded by camera men, photographers and journalists. As I slowly made my way towards it they all turned towards me filming and shouting questions - in Portuguese or French. This was the first AF447 since the tragedy. It all seemed so ghoulish and made me feel very uncomfortable - and more than a little afraid.

The Air France staff were quiet and subdued - in fact everyone was. At the departure gate we all sat in near silence. It was pretty obvious what we were all thinking. A mere 48 hours ago another set of passengers had sat here waiting for the same flight - and never reached their destination.

I'm pretty sure I was the only English person there - I craved for someone to talk to - anyone. I craved to hear the comforting sound of my mother tongue spoken. But when I got on the plane I found I was sitting alone. The plane was less than half full. Apparently there had been a lot of cancellations on what is normally a very busy flight.

The crew were wonderful - how could they be so cheerful and smiling when they had just lost 12 colleagues? But they were. I couldn't eat the food, it tasted of plastic. I knocked back a couple of brandy's hoping this would help - but it didn't. I couldn't concentrate on any of the films on offer - my eyes kept creeping back to glimpse at my watch - waiting for the time that, 4 hours into the flight, when the other plane disappeared off the radar.

The slightest bit of turbulence made me jump and grip tight onto my seat - I was afraid to go to the loo so just sat there with my legs crossed.

In the end I thought this is silly, get a grip Jane. I'm sure being on my own made it doubly worse. So I took 2 sleeping tablets and fortunately passed out for a few hours. We landed in Paris bang on time, I caught my connection and was soon back in Birmingham. Martin was waiting for me and I just flew into his arms.

Since I have been home I've found myself brooding about it. Thinking about what a lucky escape I had - how I had, oh so nearly, taken that flight. I only changed my mind at the last moment when booking it and decided to come home a day later. I've also been sleeping a lot - even for me. I think I've been a bit traumatised by it all to be honest. Hopefully writing it down will exorcise it for me.

I saw Dr. P. today and had the results of my CT scan - my disease still stable. Sutent is still working. Which is wonderful news. Something I need to concentrate on and try to dispel thoughts of the tragic events of Monday.

8 comments:

Heather said...

Incredible. It's simply unbelievable that a plane can just fall out of the sky. These sort of tragedies remind us that despite our technological advances, that we're still at the mercy of machines and that we're still mortal. Glad you made it safe!

Sybil said...

Dearest Jane, Welcome home. I thank God that you are, and that after a few days you will start to concentrate on all the good things that happened whilst you were away and tuck the horrors away where they belong...
Take a good rest and come back to us soon. We do so much miss you when you are not popping in to give us an update. I am so very thankful that the results from the Dr. were GOOD....
God Bless Love Sybil xx

Deb said...

Soooooo glad to hear you are back home safe and sound. I can imagine that it was a very difficult flight back home.
Congrats on the great results from Sutent!!! Yes, take some time now to rest and enjoy time with family and friends.
Deb

LYN said...

WELCOME HOME...HOPE YOU HAVE A NICE WEEKEND AND CAN GET OVER EVERYTHING...

Ally Lifewithally said...

It must have been very hard boarding that flight ~ It was such a tradgedy I do hope they find the "Blackbox" so at least they will know what happened ~ Ally x

ADB said...

Jane,
It's good to hear you're safely back home. I can fully understand how you feel; back in 1987, people asked me why I wanted to cross the North Sea in a ferry, weeks after the disaster with the Herald of Free Enterprise at Zeebrugge. Remember those that did not make it on the previous AF447, remember that airtravel is safer than road travel.
Very glad to hear your disease is stable.

Guido

Dennis Pyritz, RN said...

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Take care, Dennis

Emma said...

Good that the sutent is still working. I found your blog just before my partner started taking sutent, and reading what you've said about the drug has been a huge help (so far, side effects are minimal). Take care. Even though I don't know you, I was worried you were on that flight.