Countries Visited (not including Turnarounds): Australia, Austria, Azerbaijan, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, China, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Ghana, Great Britain, Greece, Iceland, India, Italy, Japan, Kenya, Latvia, Libya, Lithuania, Malaysia, Malta, Mauritius, Monaco, Morocco, Netherlands, New Zealand, Nigeria, Norway, North Korea, Philippines, Russia, Singapore, Senegal, Seychelles, South Africa, South Korea, Spain, Sri Lanka, Sweden, Switzerland, Tanzania, Thailand, Tunisia, Uganda, United Arab Emirates, United States, Vatican City
London | Perth | Sydney | Melbourne
Seatguru - Most Comfy Seats On Any Airline
pprune.org - Pilot's rumour network
Kangaroo with a Sweet Tooth
Kronicles of Kris
The Adventures of Alle Malice
Joel's trek across Asia/Europe in a Hilux
Phil's Wine Site
I Can Has Cheezburger
The Flying Pinto
Girl on Raw
Things Bogans Like
Bobby at Up, Up and a Gay
Straight Guy in the Queer Skies
Skin by Falter
Thursday, October 22, 2009Throughout the years my intentions for this blog have changed - initially it was started as a response to my ex's blog, then as a place where friends and family could keep tabs as to where I was at any time; then as the blog became more popular over the years it has now morphed into an all-encompassing flight attendant travel blog.
I've toyed with the idea of writing this for weeks now - it's not travel related - not even Dubai related, but I've found that the events over the past couple of weeks have been so life-changing that they warrant a mention here. I've reasoned that since this site is basically my life's archive since moving to Dubai, and that most of my travels, training, promotions and other events are written here, I want to make sure that this is as well.
I've mentioned before that my mother had been quite ill. At the age of 42 she suffered her first stroke, cause mainly from lifestyle choices that went against her doctor's advice. I was at university at the time and my dad and brother were in the country. The night she had the stroke, she was out with friends and I was at home studying for my Elementary Calculus exam the next day. She was in IC for about 12 hours, and I saw her perhaps during the first 4 hours of those. She was very incoherent, slipped in and out of consciousness, didn't recognise who I was and wasn't talking in either English or Thai. Despite this, she recovered very quickly - within a month she was back to her regular self, despite small gaps in her memory, and was driving after 3 months.
However 4 years later, whilst still on my probationary period with the airline, I found out that my mother had suffered her second stroke, and the effect it had on her afterwards was far more detrimental. I was frustrated that I was unable to see her until 1 month after the event, as under my contract I could not leave Dubai during the first 6 months of my employment. Even though she was fully conscious and most of her cognitive function was decent, she was left basically wheelchair bound, unable to feed herself, unable to swallow solid food, and unable to go to the toilet by herself. From that point onward anyone was lucky if they heard her speak one word, let alone a conversation. As the years passed, she went from being wheelchair bound to being bedridden, particularly these last 6 months or so.
Then early last month my father called me up to tell me she had been ill and she was now in the hospital with Aspiration Pneumonia. For weeks the doctors didn't know what was truly wrong with her, or how to improve her condition, and every 2-3 days they'd tell him (who would then tell me) she had 2-3 days to live, though she would live past the estimated times. She was bleeding internally, which the doctors eventually found to be caused by a stomach ulcer, so they later managed to stop the bleeding. But once they started feeding her the bleeding would start, and we were left with a dilemma - Feed her and she would bleed to death, or don't feed her and she would be left to starve.
The last time I saw her was on the 5th November on a rostered flight (The other FG1 on the flight, Lauren, said "I don't care what anyone says, that has to be fate"). She was still conscious, and still had enough energy to raise her arm and wave at me when I left her at the hospital, but she was breathing very heavily, and I noticed just how little body weight she had left. I was so upset I was unable to operate the flight back to Dubai.
After landing in Dubai, 6 hours later my father called me to say that she had passed away. Immediately I saw my manager, who gave me the week off, and I flew back home on the first flight out of Dubai. Despite it being overbooked, I managed to get the Exit Row seat, ate nothing, drank nothing except orange juice and water, didn't even watch the IFE System. I just wanted to be home.
Her funeral was held on the 10th, and was presided over by the head of the Buddhist temple here in Perth. All the family turned up, many who had driven up from Albany, some others who I hadn't seen in years, lots of little Thai ladies who knew Mum from temple, and one family friend who I hadn't seen since primary school came to pay their respects. I was all hugged out by the end of it. After 7 days back home I returned to work in time to operate a 2-day Mauritius flight, where the crew did an amazing job of lifting my spirits.
This photo of her was taken when she was in her 20's, before I was born. She passed away peacefully in her sleep aged only 49. 35 comments