Pain of Flying

I am going to narrate a story, funny in parts and of course very important lessons to be learnt too.

Once when I was in Switzerland, a friend of mine arrived from India and we had planned to meet. From the airport the first thing he told me was that he could not walk! He said it was extremely painful and somehow he had made it to the arrival hall and had plumped himself on a sofa there. I asked him if he had banged his foot somewhere, did he slip, did he sprain his ankle and so on.
His response was in the negative every time.
He wanted me to go there and help him out. I grabbed some pain relievers and sprays from my first aid kit and went to the Airport.

When I saw him, he was writhing in pain. I got him a coffee and made him swallow a couple of pills. I noticed that he had removed his shoes and instantly I saw both his feet were swollen. After a while he said he felt better and was ready to move. Well the pain killer had killed the pain … or had it? He was able to walk but painfully. Wait! He could not get his feet into the shoes anymore!

We met the airport doctor. Since he could not decipher what it could be, he suggested we go to a hospital. We went to the hospital and without much discussion my friend was admitted ! No consultation, no tests.. nothing. That was the procedure we were told.

For me it was a painful wait. No information was forthcoming. I was getting a bit jittery. After 6 hours I walked into patients’ area, amidst protests from the hospital staff.

I saw him sitting on a bed in a hospital uniform. What he said was very funny. In the last 6 hours they had conducted all sorts of test for heart problems, while he kept saying the problem was his foot! 😛 The doctor was on phone guiding all and sundry but was invisible till now. Eventually the consultant doctor made his appearance, and said we need to hospitalize you for 3 days. Ooops…

My friend asked what was it and why hospitalization. The doctor said, we have not concluded the diagnosis and would like to conduct a lot more tests. I immediately asked my friend to talk to his doctor in Mumbai. My thought process was that Indian doctors have a lot more experience in diagnosing stuff because of so much experience! Of course, it is better if they know you personally.

My friend’s doctor back home, on hearing everything about the pain and the results of the tests, said “don’t wait a single day in the hospital, it is not needed.”

He then explained that this condition is called flight related DVT (Deep Venous Thrombosis) and said because of long hours of flight (my friend had flown 30 hours in 3 days!) and lack of exercise must have caused it. He asked my friend to keep taking pain killers on need basis and get the next flight out to Mumbai.

That’s what he did. We asked the hospital authorities to release him, gave him all details of insurance. The bill was for Euro 1800!

In a week my friend called me from Mumbai and said all was OK. It took INR 200 for consultation and another INR 100 of medicines and a lot of advice.
Flight related DVT is caused by sitting immobilized for long hours in cramped seats of the aircraft. It enables blood to clot in some people and travels downwards which results in swollen feet and legs. In rare cases the clot could travel upwards and could have disastrous effect too.
Well, non health related pains of flying can be taken care of by Makemytrip India which helps you plan and book flights thru Air India, Jet Airways, Indigo, Spicejet, Goair etc.

If you want to travel places with me, I suggest you to join me on my Facebook travel page.
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