And so my journey in Australia came to an end and it was time to go back home. Well rested and ready for the ultra-long-haul flight with two amazing colleagues. I remember talking to one of them and saying that I would love to work with her in the aft galley. She looked at me and smiled, saying that she would like it as well but hopefully, the other girl will not be working with us in the aft. I was a bit confused at that time and asked her: “Why don’t u want to work with her? Did something happen?”. She started laughing and said: “No the thing is, she likes to work a lot during the flight and I don’t”. At that moment we started laughing like crazy.
Shortly after takeoff to our home base, a customer collapsed in front of us. For a brief moment I was shocked and didn’t know what to do. I had to react and give first-aid for sure. But what do we do? Where should I start? What did they even teach in class? CPR? During these seconds, you start asking why the customer had to collapse and just not sleep in his seat. Well, I think it was time to my put training to use. My colleagues and I sprung into action and started to administer first-aid to the passenger. She wasn’t feeling well and couldn’t breathe normally. We gave her oxygen through one of the bottles we carry onboard. We immediately called Medlink as well. Medlink is a hospital in the United States which can be contacted from the flight deck during every flight at any time. The commander/captain will speak to a doctor from the hospital and we will be advised what to do with the customer. Well luckily everything was ok after some time and Medlink advised us to continue the flight home. Other than that, it was a nice and quiet flight
We finally arrived in the home state after a long flight and passing three time zones. I went to bed but couldn’t fall asleep right away. I looked out the window and realized it was already morning. I didn’t even know which date it was, which is very common among flight attendants with hectic schedules. As I stared out the window I started to think about certain things in my life. The amazing life I’d given up for this new opportunity. An opportunity which allowed me to travel the whole world but without my close family and friends. A new life where I’m constantly away and a life where contact is hard to maintain. Why would people choose a job where they’re always tired and never really get to see their loved once? Yes, of course not everyone has the chance to travel the world, but is it all worth it under these circumstances? That’s a question I couldn’t answer at that time.
Several hours later I was still awake and couldn’t figure out why, because usually I’d fall asleep within an hour. It began to irritate me and I remembered that the doctor had given me cough syrup, when I was sick between my flights. She told me to stop using it when my fever was over because it makes u drowsy. I knew I wasn’t supposed to use it anymore but, I just couldn’t take the sleepless hours anymore. After about 10 minutes I felt this peaceful rush through my body as it ‘shut down’. That day I slept for 15 hours straight and I didn’t regret it as I was really tired. The sad thing about this job and the schedules is that a lot of crew use medication to fall asleep.
I started drinking the medicine regularly. At some point it’s also a mind game, which means your mind will tell you that you can ONLY sleep when using the medicine. I wasn’t bothered at that time since I still had about half of the bottle left. A couple days and flights went by and I carried my medicine with me, due to the crazy schedule and lack of sleep. Again I had this empty feeling as I laid in my bed. Again I asked myself if it was all really worth it. Seeing the most amazing and beautiful places on this earth. But on the other side; often being awake for 24+ hours, entertaining people during the flight, different time zones each day and a constant feeling of tiredness during the day.
It was then time for Beijing, China. Finally, I’d get to see the great wall, which was a dream to come through. I prepared myself for the flight and went to the briefing room. A nice set of crew and the supervisor talked about the flight and country details. And then it came..”Crew, please note! You are not allowed to carry any medicines into the country”. “if you do..please have a letter from the company, which you need to arrange in advance”. These words rendered me speechless and lots of thoughts ran through my mind. I had my medicine bottle in my trolley and no letter at all. I knew that I had to throw it away, which meant I could never use it again because you can only get it with a doctor’s prescription. Shit…How would I fall asleep? But is it worth it to get caught in China? Do they really check cabin crew at the airport? Should is just throw the bottle out and go back to my natural sleeping? And so the briefing came to an end, which meant the decision had to be made. I slowly walked out of the room, passed 4 trash bins and the last one was in sight.. A mind full of questions and thoughts, but the most important at that moment.. Throw it or not..