A few days ago, I had made a post on my personal Facebook page that I had a new inspiration for a blog. I was looking at my coffee mug and it say’s on it, ‘Do What You Love’. I felt inspired at that time but as the days went on, I never wrote that blog. I didn’t know why but as the events for Friday unfolded, it all made sense to me. It just wasn’t the time.
Grounded is a word that no flight attendant wants to hear. It is like someone punching you in the chest. You can’t breathe, you feel numb and you feel like life has just taken flight without you.
In my last blog post, I had written about the problems I had with my ears and how sick I was the last trip I flew. Four months after I began flying I developed a bad ear infection. At the age of 40, I had never had an ear infection in my life. Now I know why babies cry like they do…it’s pretty painful and especially if you are flying with multiple ascend and descends a day, with a four day block period. For me, it resulted in tubes in my ears. I can’t do my job without them.
Wednesday I was to start a four day trip. I had another flight attendant pickup my early morning showtime (when we report for duty at the gate) and I was going to commute in later in the day and meet up with my crew to begin the rest of my trip. I go to the airport and I get a call from the airlines that my flight to commute in on, has been delayed. No big deal, I was still going to make it in on time so I felt good about it. As I approached the airport, I seen that my flight was delayed again with a new departure time. I was not going to make my showtime. As flight crew, if we don’t make it for our showtime, we get written up for it…so you want to do all you can to avoid that. The flight attendant who took my original first turn of the day coordinated with me and he ended up taking my overnight and now I had a new showtime for Thursday. He saved me a lot of trouble and I am so grateful for his sacrifice. In this industry, we look out for each other. We truly are a family united by wings.
As I make the drive back home, I was just feeling yucky. I could not understand why my day was feeling so jacked, why did my flight have to be delayed and then delayed again. What was the reasoning here? I was so annoyed. As soon as I arrived home, in classic humor, my two girls were like ‘Oh hey mom! That really was a quick turn!’…..hahaha! They get it, God bless ’em! I was in no mood to talk so I left my bags sitting in the kitchen floor and I made a b-line to put on my pajamas. I just wanted to sulk for awhile. My ears were hurting but I have been dealing with it for so long that I am sort of use to the pain and not being able to hear well, especially out of my left ear. So yeah, if you want to talk to me and make me keep saying, ‘huh?’ then stand on my left side….Lol.
As the evening went on, the pain got worse. After being in what I call ‘mind combat’ with myself about calling off my trip, I finally made the call to crew scheduling and called off. I really don’t like doing that because I know it takes a lot to keep the operations of our airline going. I have a very strong work ethic so for me to call off is a really difficult process for me but sometimes, we just have no choice. As I have said before, we need to be 100% for the safety of the crew and the passengers. I was not 100%……not with my ears anyway.
Friday. This should be a fun day, it kicks off the weekend but as a flight attendant, I don’t really know what a weekend is anymore. I just go day to day because I have become conditioned like that. I made my way to go see the ENT and get some relief. I was certainly not prepared for what he had to tell me but I sort of already could feel it in the pit of my stomach. He grounded me from flying until further notice. I have what is called severe eustachian tube dysfunction and barotrauma which causes the vertigo. The current tubes I have in my ears are now extruding themselves and I need to replace them with a new kind. Until the ear surgery is done and a new MRI (to see if I have fluid behind the mastoids) , I risk further barotrauma which can cause me to burst my ear drum. The results may be that I can go back to flying and the results may be that I can never be a flight attendant again. It’s all in God’s hands at this point.
I was crushed. Tears streamed down my face as I sat there and listened to the doctor go over all this with me. My biggest question was this, ‘Will I ever be able to fly again and am I damaging my hearing by having to keep going through all this?’. His answer was simple. He told me for now I need to stay on the ground and lets handle this one day at a time, one procedure at a time and pray about it. I really love how I get doctors who are believers in the power of prayer. It makes that level of comfort a little more sweeter. So, I accepted his answers because after all, they were as simple as one could get. We made a plan.
I did cry most of the way home. My thoughts were heavy. How am I going to provide for my family? I don’t have all my plans fully together because I am still in the transition of moving our lives from the city to a small town. So my first step was to call my base supervisor who was nothing short of caring, loving and supportive. I went through the rest of the day feeling a bit numb. Not really knowing what to think, say or do but as always, my personality pushes me through and I begin to pray. Someone recently told me that every day I have to wake up and ask God, ‘Fight for me’. I never looked at it in that way but I do now. It gave me new perspective.
This morning I woke up feeling renewed, at peace and with a greater understanding of what this is all about. I felt alive…like really alive. I felt like nothing could keep me from doing what I love. I felt fierce! As I look out my back door, I see the most fierce sunrise I have ever seen. It was if God was saying to me, ‘I HEAR YOU CHRISTIAN AND I AM FIGHTING FOR YOU!!!’.
You see, for those who read my blog and don’t realize, I am also a hairstylist. It has been my talent and my craft for almost 26 years now. When we moved back to my hometown, I started the project of opening my salon here. I may not can fly and make a difference in peoples lives at 36,000 feet right now, but I can make a difference here on the ground. My vision to have a salon that helps women of domestic violence, rape, homelessness and recovering addicts, enter back into the world and the work force with a new look is my dream. I am a survivor of domestic violence and rape. I have come a long way in the last several years and so as I tried to make sense of all this life has to offer us, I woke up knowing that I am not only grounded because of my medical situation with my ears, but I am grounded in my spirit. I am grounded in my love for Jesus Christ, grounded in my calling to be a mom, to be the leader of my family and to be a light to those who need love, support and understanding. Grounded. It is more than just a word that no flight attendant wants to hear in the course of their career…it’s a word that really defines me after all the hardships and circumstances I have been exposed to. Despite the punches that may come my way, I am grounded.
Life is so unpredictable. It is so full of many emotions but I ask you this….What keeps you grounded? Are you just going through the motions of life or are you really taking the moments, the situations, the circumstances that surround you and finding your ground? It is more than standing solid. It is believing in yourself, believing that you have a greater calling and never letting life’s unpredictable moments keep you from being grounded.
Peace, Love & Happiness