Those who read my articles know my most documented phobias involve ants, lip hair, having my vast-supply of flesh exposed, and plane rides. I spent two days churning away from home, convinced that my stomach flu would board the plane back with me to Wisconsin...without a ticket!
How do you actually manage diarrhea on a plane? I was pretty miserable waiting at the gate, thinking the safest seat for me was one with a deep hole beneath it. I wore loose, drawstring-type shorts, tried popping anti-cramping medication, and went to my “happy place.”
I boarded the plane and sat next to a window. It wasn’t 20 minutes into the flight before I crawled over the squirmy man next to me, clutching my purse to my chest and shut the metal door of the restroom.
I pictured a line of cross-legged passengers stretching all the way back to the cockpit, complaining and dancing around. Maybe the First Class facilities would need to go “public.” Were there BAGS like they have for astronauts so at least the MALE passengers could “go”?
The flight attendant knocked on the door:
“Are you o.k.?
“There are people waiting.”
“If you don’t come out soon, the pilot will jettison you.”
“Go ahead, at this point, I welcome death!”
“You’ll have to pay a fine.”
“Fine? I’ll be right out.”
O.k., I added the jettison and fine comments for dramatic effect.
I exited the bathroom clammy and sweaty. The two impatient men in line behind me went WHITE and staggered back from the yellow cloud I’d unintentionally left for them. I hoped the odor wouldn’t cause the oxygen masks to drop.
What would they do if I hadn’t gotten out of the bathroom? They couldn’t MAKE me leave...could they? Back in my seat, delirium taking control of my mind I imagined...
Over the loud speaker: “Captain Ray, we have a situation.”
Fearful nuns would cross themselves. Passengers would twist their heads around to see what was happening and mouth, “What’s going on?” to one another, some of them assuming I’m a newlywed COUPLE in there earning “Mile-High” wings. A stewardess would retrieve the “Jaws of Life” and, while I’m still in the restroom, hunched over, cut a hole in the door.
“You can’t make me get out—I’m sick.” I would scream.
Reaching in with a gloved hand and she would push a button, plunging me down a level to the “Pet Area” into a lion-sized litter box.
Snapping awake, I realized the “Pet Cargo Area” isn’t a bad place for you if you have diarrhea on a plane. You can take your time, lay down and afterwards you’ll likely get a shower (albeit with a hose).