A 4 AM flight to Kaua'i.
That's a lie. The flight was at 7AM. We had to leave for the airport at 4AM the day after Christmas.
I like to think of myself as a "good flyer." I arrive on time, I don't complain, I pack light.
But this flight? Nightmare. Mostly my fault.
Mistake #1: We went to bed at 1AM and got up at 3AM. Which led to...
Mistake #2: Being disoriented, grumpy, and suddenly very worried about leaving the cat for 12 days... and on top of that...
Mistake #3: I woke up with a HORRIBLE sore throat. Like sandpaper lining my throat and rusty nails gouging my tonsils. So I forgot that...
CRUCIAL MISTAKE #4: If I don't take huge amounts of decongestants before takeoff, I am going to pay for it.
And my, did I pay.
I downed some Advil and drank a hot tea while waiting in the 90 minute security line. I was still so groggy after takeoff (did I mention we had two hours of sleep?) that I laid my head down on my tray table and tried to sleep through the next six hours to Phoenix.
The desert went on and on and on.
Finally we started to descend. And that's when I remembered...
This is why I take the Sudafed.
I don't know if anyone else in the world experiences this, but my ears just don't pop on their own. I've known this since I was ten years old. No amount of swallowing, drinking, gum-chewing, or jaw-stretching helps them along. When timed right, a large dose of pseudoephedrine forces my ears open.
The pain started at the first tiny drop in elevation. It began as a dull throbbing in my ears and quickly turned into the most excruciating pain that I have ever felt in my adult life. I have fallen down steps, broken toes, slammed my fingers in drawers, gotten 2nd degree burns... and they are sprinkles on cupcakes compared to this.
The most accurate way to describe it is this:
Imagine wearing a headband made of steel that suddenly gets tighter and tighter until you're sure your eyeballs are going to pop out. While wearing the headband, take two sharp screwdrivers and stab both of your eardrums simultaneously. Oh and leave the screwdrivers in there.
That's when I started to cry.
It was surreal. I literally had no control over my bodily functions at that point. The pain just forced the tears and snot out of my face.
Even writing this a month later, I can feel phantom pain in my ears. Is this what childbirth is like? At least you're not in a coach seat on an airplane when that happens.
My usual response to stubbing a toe or getting a grease burn is to swear a lot, find an ice pack, and move on with my day. This was a whole different ballgame. When the pilot came on and announced that we'd be landing in, "Only 30 minutes, folks!" I was absolutely sure that I was going die. I could not fathom 30 more minutes of this.
My husband was oblivious, then confused, then embarrassed. For the sake of the other passengers, I had been trying to remain stoic and silent, but after the pilot's helpful announcement I was clutching the sides of my head like some kind of mental patient. And shaking. And crying.
Coming up next: Leg #2 of our flight to Kaua'i, or,
"My Deaf and Infectious Honeymoon."