Sunday, January 23, 2011

No Fly Zone

My wife and I had planned a trip to the west coast this week. We were to fly from JFK to Burbank yesterday, spend a few days in LA and then head south to San Diego for the rest of our time before heading back to NYC on Saturday the 29th.

Instead we are still in NYC because I had anxiety and couldn't get on the plane.

When I last saw my psychiatrist I told her about the upcoming trip and she prescribed me Xanax to go along with the Paxil I take every day. She told me the Xanax would take about an hour to kick in and to make sure I took it long enough before any potential anxiety attack.

I slept well enough on Friday night and woke up Saturday feeling a little nervous but nothing too terrible. We planned to be in the car by 10:30am so I took a Xanax at 9:30. As the time to leave neared I could feel myself becoming more anxious but I knew I wasn't really having an anxiety attack.

We planned to leave our car at my mother-in-law's house as it was not far from JFK and we'd arranged to take a cab from there. My nervousness continued at the same level until it was time to get in the cab for the last part of the ride to the airport. At that point I took a low dose Klonopin, not entirely sure what effect it would have with the Xanax but willing to take my chances.

Once we arrived at the airport and unloaded our bags from the cab I actually felt good. I was excited about getting to sunny California and overall had a positive attitude about the day ahead.

We checked our bags and went through security without any issue and after a trip the mens room I joined my wife at one of the food court places and we picked out some food to eat on the plane. Then we headed to the gate.

At the gate there were a lot of people milling around but it wasn't overly crowded or anything. It was about 11:20 and our flight was due to take off at 12:20 so we had an hour to kill. I found an outlet to plug in my cell phone and played with it a little bit, including sending some text messages to friends.

When they made the announcement that the plane would start bording shortly I had an immediate knot in my stomach. I decided it was time for another xanax. This was around 11:40. I packed up my electrical charger for my cell and sat down next to my wife.

When they called out our section of rows (we were in row 19) we got on line and waited to board the plan. At this point my heart really started racing. I dont like waiting in general - and in this case I REALLY didn't like the waiting. I wanted to just be on the plane and in my seat. My wife kept me involved in conversation which is a good way to keep my mind off of anxiety causing things. Finally we were able to board the plane - however there was a line in the plane of people waiting to get to their seats (why don't they load the plane from the back forward instead of from the front to the back?)

When I saw this line I freaked and exited the plane, pulling my wife behind me.

We waited in the area at the end of the hallway by the door of the plane for a minute but then a JetBlue employee asked if we were getting on or not. My wife explained to him my situation and he said that they needed to close the door so we either had to get on now or not at all. My wife looked at me and I shook my head and headed back up to the terminal.

I sat for a minute in the terminal to catch my breath and the felt like I might get sick so I went quickly to the mens room. I didn't end up getting sick but instead sat in one of the stalls sobbing. I finally pulled myself together and went back to the terminal where my wife was waiting for me.

We got home around 2pm and after canceling all of our California plans - hotels, rental cars, etc. I went to bed and slept. The drugs had kicked in and made me quite tired.

Looking back, there are many things I would do differently -- I would have taken the first and second Xanax sooner. I would have requested to be allowed to board the plane first. I might have encouraged my wife to not let me bail on the whole deal. Of course, as they say, hindsight is always 20/20.

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