Jane Bates: Plane stupid

Jane Bates has to wing it after a baggage error.

Jane Bates has to wing it after a baggage error

There are many aspects of an airline flight that make your stomach lurch – a pocket of turbulence, for instance, or the bit where they tell you how many feet you are from terra firma.

But nothing beats that feeling when you get to baggage reclaim. Suppose my carefully packed suitcase has been sent to Slovenia instead of Spain? I always find this the most stressful part of the journey.

You would think this fear would prompt me to be better organised, that I would pack essentials in my cabin luggage, but alas, no. On holiday last week, my bag was put on the wrong flight. I should have stowed knickers aplenty and essential medication in my hand luggage, but I was not so clever. So while I was having hysterics in Catania airport those key items were doing the rounds of European airspace. Without me.

By day three my blood pressure had reached unprecedented heights. Not just because I was furious at the handler’s incompetence, or because I was having to wear my other half’s Y-fronts, but because all my hypotensive medication was in that little blue suitcase.

When this happened to a friend, she trotted along to the pharmacy in her holiday resort, wrote down the generic name of the tablets, and enough were dispensed to tide her over. I thought I could do the same. But for the first few days all the local pharmacies were shut because it was an extended bank holiday. Eventually we found a chemist open on day four, and in spite of it being one of the most commonly prescribed drugs in the UK, they had to order it especially for me. I ended up missing five days of my tablets.

I learned the hard way not to be complacent and I would urge family, friends and patients to beware. It is not as easy as I thought to obtain replacement medication abroad, so pack it in your hand luggage. And don’t forget the spare knickers.

About the author

Jane Bates

Jane Bates is an ophthalmic nurse in Hampshire

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