Bill Fox on holiday
Mr. and Mrs. Bill Fox both in their 50’s, had a 22 year old daughter Hellen, who lived in Australia. Hellen had just bought an apartment with her husband Tom that needed lots of renovations. As her dad Bill being a master builder, she invited him to come over to have a look. Rita, Bill’s wife, didn’t want to travel with him, because the pet dog Jackie had to be left alone.
‘Are you sure about going on your own Bill? A long way you know, Australia isn’t near,’ said Rita.
‘I have to, haven’t I, my first time on a plane too. The journey will be smooth they say, let’s hope. Are you sure you won’t come? I can get a dog minder you know despite the cost,’ said Bill.
‘Jackie will be lonely. I don’t trust anybody with her after all. You better go on your own for the 3 weeks or so. You will be all right as you will have plenty to do there. I’ll order some extra inhalers, don’t forget to take them!’ replied Rita.
Bill was indeed on inhalers for his asthma. He used nothing else. Ventolin inhaler is for emergency only 2 puffs during a severe attack for a quick relief. And Seretide, a steroid, for a long-term relief, can also carry some possible awful side effects which affect both men and women causing them to develop unusual sexual characteristics such as men having enlarged breasts and women having beard. Bill was aware of the possible side effects, and very cautious of the gender bending phenomena. He avoided the Seretide as much as possible. In fact, he avoided both inhalers as his asthma had not manifested for a while.
Saturday had arrived for Bill’s departure. Birmingham airport was crowded. Bill started to feel the heat of the July month. His suitcase was well packed along with the inhalers which should have been on him, ready for use. But the joy of travelling the exciting journey left him carefree. He seemed as jovial as ever when he got on that plane.
While searching for his seat number, what he encountered was enough to wipe the smile off his face: His seat was in the middle of two large ladies by the window. The ladies were helpful, they gave him space to move in to sit between them. They were both sipping beer from a bottle and started to talk rather jauntily over him. He joined in the conversation at some stage, but didn’t share the drink being offered as he was a teatotaler . Although both ladies were amusing, he reckoned that they stank like a horse. This was what he told Rita over his phone later. The ladies on both side of him sensed his problem of being smothered, decided to give him the window seat which he appreciated:
‘You will be better off by the window dear, at least you can see where you are going!’ said one of them hilariously.
‘Oh thank you, looking forward for some fresh air,’ replied Bill smiling, to the amazement of the ladies, who moved out of their already tight seats to make space.
Sitting by the window was no better for Bill. Smaller in stature, he actually felt being hemmed in by the ladies on the other side of him now. They carried on talking extra loud and seemed to have brought some extra beer with them to keep them going. How was he going to get out of there he wondered!
The plane started to rev like mad while crawling on the runway, then suddenly took off. Nothing to see in mid-air, underneath the foggy cloud as Bill continued to peer through the window, wishing for some more fresh air as he adjusted the air vent on top. The lady on his right was snoring like thunder, but the other one was wide awake. It was a good few hours since that plane torn through the cloud, nearing the stratosphere it seemed. The sound inside was still maddening, and dusk was settling. Bill started to feel the wheeze in his chest. He searched for his inhalers, not on him. His breathlessness was out of proportion, it sounded as if he had swallowed a whistle. He was agitated, desperate for air with severe breathing problems. The claustrophobic environment didn’t help either. Bill wanted to get out for the toilet by all means, but how to, he had to run the gauntlet!
His breathing had gone worse by now. Slumped on his seat with a whistling, rattling chest, he tried to attract the attention of the big lady on other side by pointing out his breathing problem. The lady panicked, kept nudging her snoring companion:
‘ Lucy.. Wake up, Wake up. ..’
‘ What’s happen, what’s happen,’ Lucy finally woke up.
‘That man on your side. He is choking.’
‘What shall I do?’ asked Lucy.
‘Rub his chest,’ said her companion.
‘Do you mind!’ said Lucy, as she pressed the emergency buzzer.’
Two air hostesses arrived suddenly when the buzzer was pressed. The two ladies came out of their seats to allow the hostess dishing out treatment. Bill’s airway was made clear, by sitting him upright. His tie was loosened and his tight shirt collar was undone while the oxygen mask was pulled down all the way to reach his face. The continued flow of oxygen up his nostrils, down his lungs had certainly conjured up a renewed spark of life. He became lively with an elevated mood as he recovered, that looked more likely he had nitrous oxide instead! His choking sensation had gone, the ladies grabbed their beer anon. And Bill wanted none. He was his normal self again amidst the concern of the onlookers.
‘You need to carry your puff with you dear, even when you travel’ said a fellow passenger!’