Southwest Flight 812: Finally feeling it

It’s been 48 hours since I stepped onto the plane that would make me famous, even if just for a few days. After finally getting a full night’s sleep, I expected to feel better. I didn’t expect to feel so much.
Airplane oxygen mask
On the physical front, I’m managing a headache and double earache that Advil does not seem to help. The headache perpetuates the nausea that I’ve felt since we landed in Yuma. I can’t seem to eat* much. Emotionally, I think I am finally feeling the experience.
I’ve used the word “surreal” to describe things thus far and it still fits. Seeing my face on CNN, Good Morning America, Al Jazeera even—bizarre. Talking to NPR and the Associated Press, and tomorrow, the Wall Street Journal—out of this world. Remaining calm through all of this? Still a bit boggling. Up until today, I’ve felt numb.
Now, remembering the events makes my heart pound. I feel edgy. On the verge of tears. Tired but not sleepy. I can’t concentrate on my homework. Overall, I’m just not myself.
Yesterday a reporter asked if I was experiencing post-traumatic stress disorder. According to the National Institutes of Health (see here for description/symptoms), probably a mild case. He also asked if I was going to fly again. Wednesday, as a matter of fact.
I’m not really afraid of what might happen. I know that flying is still incredibly safe, especially on Southwest. (They’re currently inspecting all of their planes and the whole nine yards.) I am, however, afraid of what could have happened.
When I close my eyes, I walk through those few minutes when the plane was pointed toward the ground, when the air pounded my ears, when I wasn’t sure I was going to see my husband, my family, my friends again. That scares me.
I know in time, the memories will fade. Until then, I will keep writing until I get the feelings under control. Hopefully by then, this damn headache will have subsided!
xoxo,
shawna
* As an Italian eating machine, this manifestation is disturbing!

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