Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Leaving On a Jet Plane

I'm flying out again today.  These past 3 days I've been so haunted by a sweet little pasgr from the last trip out.  He was an older black gentleman, distinguished, silver hair & mustache, Very handsome with clear, sparkling brown eyes sitting in coach.  I had spoken with him a couple of times on my way back & forth to the aft galley, what a beautiful smile! 

After landing in Lax he couldn't find his carryon suitcase.  I walked back & forth with him checking every over head bin.  No luggage.  I asked what color it was.  "dark."  Was it black, blue, brown I inquired?  "it may be dark green."  Okay I said & countinued searching.  Another FA said maybe he checked it.  He didn't think so.  I asked to see his ticket.  He couldn't remember where it was.  I looked inside his very neat, fastedious blazer & there it was in his breast pocket.  A claim stub was stapled to it!  Look, you have checked a bag, do you have more than one??  "No mam, just one."  Oh great well, you must have forgotten that you checked it, you will find it at baggage claim!  Where is that?  Downstairs, lower level, on carosel 4, just follow the signs.  Oh thank you so very much for your patience, Miss.  No problem sir, God bless you!  Big smile from both of us.

Oh My God.  After talking to another FA it hit me.  I really couldn't tell the whole flight that he was at all disoriented, esp working mainly up front.  She said he had come out of a lav & could not find his seat.  When she helped him, he had thought it was somewhere else.  But another woman said, no you're sitting here, see here's your newspaper.  He had looked baffled. 

Oh My God.  This dear, SO SWEET, neatly dressed, handsome senior citizen must have alzheimers.  Tears fell from my eyes.  It's so unfair.  How sad, how truly, truly horrible.  How can his family send him on a trip alone, & not even warn us to watch after him??  Had we known, we could have had someone meet the plane to help him.  We were in the van on the way to the hotel when we all put the parts of the puzzel together. 

So fucking sad.  I wonder if he knows it is starting.  I just feel wracked with saddness over it.


sassyfemmect said...

Speaking from having gone through this with my dad, the thing about Alz. is that it's very hard to pick up on, at first.  We get very used to "covering" for our loved one, unconsciously doing it.  They get by for quite some time. It's not until something serious happens, or until someone not so close to the situation points it out do we start to notice it.  It's one of the most heart breaking diseases.  They look the same, they sound the same, but they slowly fade away and are no longer the same.  The good part of it, if there is one?  They don't generally know once it progresses to a point, or they forget that they know.

dghtronly said...

That's a really sad story. It drives home the point how we all need to watch over each other. I don't fly-but the situation you describe is evident right here on the ground too. When I'm in the grocery, doctors, or just out and about, I see elderly people who, though very stout and physically well, are somewhat altered, just a tad bit befuddled, ever so slightly. Then of course, there's the other side of the coin where there are folks who are un-well physically and are having the hardest time just getting groceries-out all alone. I think about my own mom, who is slowing down both physically and mentally being out alone.

It takes a village.


zannetoro said...

That was so sad! And such a shame that someone didn't tell you all--although maybe they didn't know! Was touched by your kindness and compassion. (((K)))