True story! Waiting at gate A17 for my flight to Houston there were 15 wheelchairs and one gate attendant. Only three of the wheelchairs seemed to be part of a group so that meant 12 others needed to be boarded separately. The early flight to Denver was delayed till 9am, so my 6:14am flight to Houston was packed to the gills. I boarded early (what's new) and sat in my aisle seat 3 rows from the back. A nice lady sat herself in the window seat and we chatted about how there is no way we will get off on time seeing as the wheelchairs had used up most of our boarding window. Just before the doors closed a largish, not too young man showed up and sat in the middle seat. I thought it strange that he had no book, or phone, tablet or paper. He sat down, mumbled something affirmative when the pilot announced that we would get in on time due to favorable tail winds. He sat there staring into space as we took off.
I worked on putting together the perfect flight play list on my ipod (yes I still have an iPod). I was zoning on Keith Jarrett's Köln Concert Part 1 and dozing when the drinks cart came around. I felt something strange against my leg and my arm was pushed off the arm rest.The guy in the middle had started to seriously encroach on my space. I looked over at him and it was clear he was having a seizure of some kind. The window woman leaned over and tried to speak with him, but he just stared blankly ahead mumbling. We flagged a flight attendant who was nearby serving drinks, he took one look at the guy muttered "he's having a stroke" under his breath and rushed off to the back where he called for a doctor over the PA. Within 30 seconds there was two doctors in the dude's face.I moved out of my seat to let the senior doctor sit down. He examine the guy who seemed to have stopped convulsing but was still pretty much out of it. I stood in the toilet area and watched while the flight attendants brought oxygen, a blood pressure monitor and various other devices to help the doc. I have to say they were extremely efficient and on the ball.
Eventually, after about a half hour, the dude seemed to have stabilized somewhat and I overheard the conversation with the captain in the cockpit where it was decided that we would not have to reroute for an medical emergency landing. The doctor needed to stay in my seat and at some point we hit some turbulence and the seat belt sign came on. Now the plane was completely full, and the doctor's seat, while now empty was a window seat in a row where one of the wheelchair people mentioned above was placed. Business class was completely full, but they found me a "premium" middle seat in one of the exit rows. There was tons of leg room. Sitting on the aisle was a United pilot on his way to Houston for a four day hop flying one of the commuter jets around the Southern US. On the window was a woman on her way to San Antonio to meet her future in-laws. She was quite the talker and after an hour or so I got to know her whole family history including the children's divorce issues and first husband's workaholic nature. She was annoyed that her original flight to Denver was delayed and she needed to reroute through Houston. She did show some concern for the poor guy in the back, but mostly was annoyed at United. The pilot was cool. Seems he flew the squint corporate jet for a while. The same one I took on Tuesday from San Jose to Sacramento. He lives in Sacramento and commutes to Houston for his flights each week. I learned all about the life of a commercial pilot.
On landing, the Houston Medical Emergency Team rushed onto the plane and took the sick dude off in a hurry. We all waited patiently and exited calmly. My case was first off the baggage carousel. All in all an eventful flight.
I'm here in Houston with my lovely family.
Glasshouses at The Palm Centre
2 hours ago