Ads 468x60px


Sunday, February 9, 2014

ABU HELL - Auras

- "Mom, mom!"
- "What's up, baby?"
It took a few seconds for Ryan to reply.
- "Look outside!"
- "The clouds?"
- "The... Birds."
- "Where are they, Ryan?"
- "... There... No, th... There..."
- "I can't see anything, honey, are you playing with me?"
She was still in a good mood, although something in the way the kid was talking was a bit unsettling.
- "..."
- "Ryan?"
- "..."
- "Oh my God, Ryan..!!"

At the special training, they were quite specific: treat the stratospheric ascent as a normal take-off, and avoid walking in the cabin, unless extremely necessary. But the attendant calls were sounding like crazy, and a handful of people, especially moms, were also calling outloud. Some directly for help.
After purser and flight deck approval, the crew began walking, not without difficulty, around the cabin, to see what was going on. Many kids were having strange symptoms. Their muscles were extremely tense, breathing was powerful but rare, eyes unblinking, very difficult to move, especially neck and head.

"It looks like a tonic seizure, we can't do much about it, we are contacting medlink for professional counsel. It seems to be quite..." - Katja quickly hit him from the back - "... Quite common in flight... These days. Don't worry, we treated cases like these before with no ill consequences." - She wanted to continue in his stead, he was nearly spilling the beans about the other cases, and mass hysteria was so close you could feel it. And it had to be avoided at all costs.
- "Ma'm, did your son experience some kind of symptoms before the onset of the seizure? We call them "aura" signs, they can include sensory... Malfunctions, like strange smells, sounds, images..."
- "YES! YES! He said he was seeing birds, but there were no birds, I thought he was playing with me, but could those be..."
- "Well, no, visual cues are more like strings of light or blurred patches... But don't worry, our medics on ground and on deck will clear things up. Maybe he described as birds some blurry patches that are commonly associated with these symptoms."

A few moments later in the galley:
- "Ok, we need the doctor NOW!" - Katja was the upset one now.
- "Hey don't worry, that's why we have official company medical staff on this aircraft, everything's gonna be under control."
- "Ok, let me say this outloud, we don't need a doctor, we need an exorcist!"
- "... What?"
- "Come on, do you think it's normal that ALL kids are experiencing the same symptoms at the same time??"
- "Hey, calm down, it's not all the kids, I saw a lot feeling perfectly fine."
- "True, there are entire groups seating all together that are even disturbing others with their excitement. I don't see such a mass hysteria after all. Don't bring it yourself, Katja."
- "But all kids with families are having seizures!!"
- "... No, again, I think I can point you at least three families with kids that are fine."
- "I tell you there's a pattern here, and it's not normal. Call the upper decks, how is the situation there?"
The crew were increasingly worried, not much about the kids, but about Katja. Whispering, they were agreeing she was being a bit too crazy. Dangerously so. And dangers should be dealt with.
The senior reassured her he was going to contact the upper decks, but not to know about the kids. They were going to discuss what to do with her. In the end they decided to call the flight deck, to see if they agreed with a temporary isolation.

No response.

"It's No Contact Period after all. They should answer me as the purser, but still they have the right to refuse the call. Well, for now I will have to take responsibility. And we can't afford any panic here, especially with the medical cases around. Just send her upstairs, from the front, I will deal with her here."

Ruben understood perfectly what was going on, when they told her to go upstairs "help the others". It's not like the Gold or Platinum crew couldn't deal with the situations, they even had more seniors among them. So a Silver crew going up was not for help. It was for disciplinary action. But she was so focused on the problem that she probably didn't think about that. And that was exactly her problem.
But remaining there without her, and going back and forth, trying to maintain a smiling face while dealing with all the medical cases in the critical stage of stratospheric ascent, he started thinking more about her words.
"Well, it is indeed strange, practically all of them are kids as far as I know. And it's true, all of them are with families. But what could the pattern be, or better, what could it be caused by?"
- "Oh so he turns back to the right if you try to move his head. Well, it's normal for a tonic seizure to maintain a certain position..."
"Who knows what would Katja think about this..."
He moved to the next case. This one was always turning to the left. Outboard. "They are all turned outboard. Window seats".

- "Hey Jude, what was the aura symptom for that kid?"
- "He saw birds."
- "He too..."
- "Yes, another too?"
- "Wait, did someone see something else?"
- "Well we actually don't know the aura signs for most of them. It's not like the parents were really paying attention until they saw them stuck towards the window."
- "Hey have you noticed? All of them towards the window."
- "Well, I haven't, actually."
She was dismissing the conversation. And walking away.
- "Go to the right-hand side, I'll go left-hand."
Ruben was starting to think Katja was onto something. But he evidently couldn't speak his mind. He would have been put into isolation just like her.

It seemed like even much more than that, but one hour passed already since take-off, and still in ascent. Still no improvements from the kids. They were medically stable, but medlink agreed that the duration of the symptoms was very unusual. And they agreed the distribution was unusual too. That is to say, Katja was right. Medlink even advised to cancel the flight and begin descent for quick medical intervention. But the flight deck was still in its No-Contact Period, and apparently they took it very seriously, ignoring multiple calls from the purser, who obviously was even more scared of actually trying to enter the flight deck. In theory, they shouldn't even be standing and walking at that point, if not thanks to flight deck approval. Yes, they approved the decision...
- "Hey, babe, don't you think it's strange they answered us a while ago and now they don't? I mean, the No-Contact Period is the same, but I think it should be easier to answer after one hour, compared to twenty minutes after take-off, don't you think?"
- "... True... Or who knows, I mean, they could be having something else to deal with now, I don't know really..."
- "I should go, it's too much time now, I really want to speak with them, or at least see what's going on."
- "Ok, Prya, I will be backing you in case someone complains."

- "Ok, so we have 12 kids on pillows, in the aisles, and onboard medics are as clueless as ground ones. Nice."
- "Yeah, and guess what, seniors seem to be playing hide and seek. They left us to deal with the situation, they're probably having their secret talks while we get our hands dirty."
Attendant calls start ringing again, all over the decks.
- "Ok, let's go. And pray it's only water they want."

No they weren't for water. People were calling to report birds.
"... Yes, I see them too sir... I will inform the flight deck just in case, but everything should be under control, don't worry."