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  • Intro and Thank You to you guys

    Hows it going guys? I'm a 27 year old Paramedic/RN who is completely and utterly fascinated with aviation. Trouble is, I'm terrified to fly. Worked up the nerve to go to cancun with my fiance' last december and was terrified the entire flight to the point where I spent most of the last day of my vacation worried about the flight home. Of course it didn't help that we flew over an ungodly amount of turbulence on the way home. My buddy has been a pilot for a very long time and even gave me the whole "its like waves hitting a boat man, it's no big deal!" pep talk but it didn't help, lol. Fast forward to now and it seems that my fiance wants to get married in Runaway Bay, Jamaica which, you guessed it, requires a 3 hour flight from dallas to montego bay. oh joy.

    On to the thanks:

    I lurk here and read the flight report threads and such and to read you guys be so excited about flying kind of makes me less nervous and more excited about getting on a plane. Of course when we board and start rocketing down the runway I'm sure the cottonmouth and terror will set back in, lol. To read what you guys say and the knowledge you share makes me feel much better as well because I assume that the guys piloting these aircraft have the same knowledge. So anyway, thanks.

    For those interested, my trip will include a non-stop flight from DFW to Montego Bay on American Airlines Flight number 1232 on May 30 and it appears the aircraft will be a Boeing 737-800 which I hear is fairly nice but Im not real sure.

    I'll be posting a flight report upon returning with photos and if i can work up the nerve to look out the window I'll post a takeoff, final approach, and landing video. Hope to perhaps learn a bit more so I wont be so terrified. Thanks guys

  • #2
    If you want reassurance just look at statistics. If you travel to Jamaica your flight will be the safest thing you do the entire trip. A commercial airliner in the USA is about the safest, if not the safest, thing out there.
    Say you lose an engine(talking 2 engine plane, what you most likely will be on), most pilots will never experience this in their entire carrier let alone a passenger, you will have no problem reaching your airport. You probably wouldn't even notice unless your pilot tells you.
    Say you lose both of them, you are more likely to win the lottery 50 times then this, you can still glide in. Takes some skill but at 30,000 feet you be amazed how far you can get with no power. There was a 767 that ran out of fuel and still landed without a injury and a few 737s If I recall did the same.
    Point being, play the lotto and you are more likly to win then to have anything happen to you in a commercial jet.
    Signatures are overrated

    Comment


    • #3
      Oh I believe all the stats and I'm well aware that flying is safe but bro, there's just something wrong with me, I've accepted it and I'm going to go anyway, lol.

      As for the plane, I double checked and it will be a 737-800, supposedly one of AA's new ones. I hear theyre more comfy so maybe I can go to sleep!

      Thanks for your time and response

      Comment


      • #4
        Originally posted by TX911 View Post
        Hows it going guys? I'm a 27 year old Paramedic/RN who is completely and utterly fascinated with aviation. Trouble is, I'm terrified to fly. Worked up the nerve to go to cancun with my fiance' last december and was terrified the entire flight to the point where I spent most of the last day of my vacation worried about the flight home. Of course it didn't help that we flew over an ungodly amount of turbulence on the way home. My buddy has been a pilot for a very long time and even gave me the whole "its like waves hitting a boat man, it's no big deal!" pep talk but it didn't help, lol. Fast forward to now and it seems that my fiance wants to get married in Runaway Bay, Jamaica which, you guessed it, requires a 3 hour flight from dallas to montego bay. oh joy.

        On to the thanks:

        I lurk here and read the flight report threads and such and to read you guys be so excited about flying kind of makes me less nervous and more excited about getting on a plane. Of course when we board and start rocketing down the runway I'm sure the cottonmouth and terror will set back in, lol. To read what you guys say and the knowledge you share makes me feel much better as well because I assume that the guys piloting these aircraft have the same knowledge. So anyway, thanks.

        For those interested, my trip will include a non-stop flight from DFW to Montego Bay on American Airlines Flight number 1232 on May 30 and it appears the aircraft will be a Boeing 737-800 which I hear is fairly nice but Im not real sure.

        I'll be posting a flight report upon returning with photos and if i can work up the nerve to look out the window I'll post a takeoff, final approach, and landing video. Hope to perhaps learn a bit more so I wont be so terrified. Thanks guys
        So, starting IVs in a jumping, bouncing ambulance is no big deal, but an airplane ride is terrifying. Got it.

        Comment


        • #5
          Originally posted by Curtis Malone View Post
          So, starting IVs in a jumping, bouncing ambulance is no big deal, but an airplane ride is terrifying. Got it.

          That's the long and short of it yeah,

          I guess the difference is that I'm aware and in control of everything that happens in the ambulance and on scene. I have no clue what's going on in that plane or outside of it. I don't know if the pilot's pissed off, sleepy, etc, so yeah it scares me a bit

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by TX911 View Post
            That's the long and short of it yeah,

            I guess the difference is that I'm aware and in control of everything that happens in the ambulance and on scene. I have no clue what's going on in that plane or outside of it. I don't know if the pilot's pissed off, sleepy, etc, so yeah it scares me a bit
            I believe the best way to overcome the fear of flying is to go learn to fly. Then you'll have a reasonable understanding of what's going on up front and how air holds up something so large and heavy.

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by Deadstick View Post
              I believe the best way to overcome the fear of flying is to go learn to fly. Then you'll have a reasonable understanding of what's going on up front and how air holds up something so large and heavy.
              And it worked for other fearful flyiers that now are aerobatics instructros.

              --- Judge what is said by the merits of what is said, not by the credentials of who said it. ---
              --- Defend what you say with arguments, not by imposing your credentials ---

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by Gabriel View Post
                And it worked for other fearful flyiers that now are aerobatics instructros.

                that is quite the transition, lol. I once flew in a plane called a "shooting star" if that makes any sense whatsoever. Actually I think it was the type of plane that accompanied the 787 on its maiden flight, at least that's what it says on youtube. I was younger and I just remember the feeling of being completely out of control with nothing to reference my body to. It was exhilerating and terrifying at the same time

                Comment


                • #9
                  Like you, I have always been fascinated by aviation. I read a lot of website and forums, but alas, I was a FOF’er. In the late 90’s I had a uncomfortable flight from Europe and made a mental note not to fly for a while. Then 9/11 happened. I knew I’d be anxious ever getting on a plane again. Several cancelled business trips due anxiety, and then several personal trips cancelled and the anxiety was very well set; I wasn’t going to fly again. I went 10 years without a flight.

                  I tried the learning to fly trick and it didn’t work. Sure, one might get over the anxiety when piloting a small plane, but that doesn’t translate to being stuck in the back of the metal tube with no control.

                  Gabriel’s reference to “aerobatics instructions” is probably a reference to Barb MacLeod (active on the former AD.com forums). She too was a FOF’er. She consulted a professor at UT(Austin) who helped her get over her anxieties. She did go on to learn to fly and then became a aerobatics instructor. Here’s some of her work:
                  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eFI0ZXAWrsc

                  Barb referred me to the same professor at UT (Dr. Telch) who I worked with to get over my anxieties.

                  Dr. Telch’s research and practice centers around anxiety being an alarm, just like an alarm clock. Anxiety is the mechanism that helps one stay out of danger. Anxiety itself isn’t harmful. One doesn’t die or get hurt from anxiety attacks. Anxiety just prepares one for danger by increasing blood flow, alertness, etc.

                  That said, anxiety can produce either a true alarm or a false alarm. Anxiety from hearing a tiger roar behind you while walking through the jungle is a true alarm; anxiety for the straight-A student about to take a test is false (he’s a straight-A student, so history shows he’s likely to do well).

                  FOF is a false alarm. There’s all the statistics of flying that show it’s ridiculously safe. Airline pilots do not pay higher life-insurance rates; there’s a reason behind that.

                  So, the trick is to turn off this false alarm that arises when you fly. It’s that simple. You have an anxiety alarm that incorrectly comes on; you have to do some work to unlearn that alarm so it stays off.

                  Before getting into the details of turning the alarm off, I want to point out there are plenty of ways to turn the alarm on. Avoidance is a way to re-enforce the false alarm. Backing out of a trip is an example. If you’re anxious and then decide not to go on the trip, you’re relieved and the anxiety alarm gets rewarded for having kept you safe from that scary plane ride. There are less subtle ways this happens too. Your fiancé wants to go on this trip and you’re anxious now. You HAVE to do it. If you don’t, you’ll have some relief from the anxiety and the alarm is further set. Your talk of the 787-800 being a nice plane isn’t helping either. If the 737-800 is nice (and safe), then some other jets must not be safe? This must mean it’s not always safe to fly, especially if you end up with a 20 year old 737-300. This re-enforces the anxiety.

                  Now, back to turning the alarm off…

                  What you want to do is expose yourself directly to the anxious situation (flying) and use tricks to reduce the anxiety along the way. Repeat over and over and over and over.

                  DO….
                  1> Be prepared that you will be anxious, and be ready for it. (Some of this is my invention, not Telch’s). You will have >intrusive thoughts<. These intrusive thoughts are effects of the anxiety trying to protect you from the unreal danger. These thoughts may be “oh, the plane may crash”, “oh, he looks like a terrorist”, “oh, the pilot looks drunk”, “oh, the mechanic may forget to lock the luggage door and it rips off in flight”. You have to be ready for these intrusive thoughts, and when they happen, remind yourself immediately they are “intrusive thoughts” and counter them with prepared statements. My prepared statement is “that’s an intrusive thought, and the committee of experts have already decided flying is safe and I should ignore ”.
                  2> Engage in counter-anxiety behavior (this is what turns off the alarm!). There are a number of things you can do along the way that are counter to anxiety. In other words, these are things you might do if you were not in danger. Your brain has a dilemma between these behaviors and the alarm, and the alarm is slowly turned off. Here are the ones Dr. Telch prescribes:
                  a> When getting on the plane and walking to your seat, jump up and down. If the plane was fragile, you wouldn’t be doing this as you could break it. This instills your brain that the plane must actually be strong. This works great in elevators and tall buildings too.
                  b> Carry on conversations with someone over anything other than flying. Talk as much as you can. Even ramble on. Prepare your fiancé for this that you need to continuously carry on conversation at home that morning, on the way to the airport, at the airport, and along the flight. This normal conversation is counter to anxiety or danger. You wouldn’t be jabbing about the latest Hanna Montana episode (see other thread) if some tiger was about to pounce on you, would you? Thus, this is counter to being in danger.
                  c> Smile a lot. Laugh. Again, counter to being in danger.
                  d> Eat, but eat slowly. Take trial-mix or nuts and eat them one at a time, nice and slow. Slowly pick up each piece. DO NOT take handfuls of food and stuff it in your mouth as this is preparation for needing energy for being in danger.
                  e> This is silly, but pretend you’re an actor, calm as can be, showing the world how non-anxious you are. This works well with the eating part above.
                  f> During take-off, repeatedly tell yourself that you want the plane to crash. “Please don’t get airborne; please run off the runway; please flip over and catch fire”. Don’t just say it, try to feel it. When it doesn’t happen, be disappointed. This plays a trick on the brain; the contradiction between anxiety and wanting this outcome further turns off the anxiety alarm.

                  NOW, WHAT NOT TO DO…
                  1> Don’t watch everyone in the waiting area or getting on the plane, trying to check them out to see if they are a terrorist. This re-enforces the anxiety and welcomes intrusive thoughts. Just don’t look at anyone; get distracted by your fiancé.
                  2> Don’t watch the pilots jabbing to each other at the beginning of the flight. Don’t watch the stewards/stewardesses during the flight to get queues as to if something is wrong. Just ignore them.
                  3> After the landing, do not act relieved that it is over. Look forward to doing it again!

                  Last but very important….to get any lasting effect, you’ve got to fly over and over again. The more times you subject yourself to the situation and use the above tools to reduce the anxiety, the easier it is to get over it. It not just trips but as many take-offs and landings as possible all in short-time. Over and over and over again….

                  I get the impression you’re in Dallas. Before your long flight, take several--many!--flights between the Dallas and surrounding cities (Houston, Austin, Lubbock, etc.). Southwest is your friend when it comes to planning many short flights. I took plenty of AUS/HOU and AUS/DAL trips to get over the FOF. If you don’t have much time, fly to Austin or Houston, turn-around and take the next flight back. You can do this in a morning. If you can spend the whole day flying, plan your flights to get more stops. For instance, for $158 plus tax, you can go Dallas->Houston->Corpus->Houston->Dallas getting by 5:00 the same day. If you really looked through SW’s flight schedules, I’m sure you can get 6 segments in on a single day. I just looked and for $319 plus tax, you can leave Dallas at 8:20AM and *6* segments later be back at 10:10PM. It’s that kind of repetition that will break the anxiety alarm.

                  Good luck!
                  Last edited by jsdube; 2010-01-31, 06:33. Reason: formatting

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by jsdube View Post
                    Like you, I have always been fascinated by aviation. I read a lot of website and forums, but alas, I was a FOF’er. In the late 90’s I had a uncomfortable flight from Europe and made a mental note not to fly for a while. Then 9/11 happened. I knew I’d be anxious ever getting on a plane again. Several cancelled business trips due anxiety, and then several personal trips cancelled and the anxiety was very well set; I wasn’t going to fly again. I went 10 years without a flight.

                    I tried the learning to fly trick and it didn’t work. Sure, one might get over the anxiety when piloting a small plane, but that doesn’t translate to being stuck in the back of the metal tube with no control.

                    Gabriel’s reference to “aerobatics instructions” is probably a reference to Barb MacLeod (active on the former AD.com forums). She too was a FOF’er. She consulted a professor at UT(Austin) who helped her get over her anxieties. She did go on to learn to fly and then became a aerobatics instructor. Here’s some of her work:
                    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eFI0ZXAWrsc

                    Barb referred me to the same professor at UT (Dr. Telch) who I worked with to get over my anxieties.

                    Dr. Telch’s research and practice centers around anxiety being an alarm, just like an alarm clock. Anxiety is the mechanism that helps one stay out of danger. Anxiety itself isn’t harmful. One doesn’t die or get hurt from anxiety attacks. Anxiety just prepares one for danger by increasing blood flow, alertness, etc.

                    That said, anxiety can produce either a true alarm or a false alarm. Anxiety from hearing a tiger roar behind you while walking through the jungle is a true alarm; anxiety for the straight-A student about to take a test is false (he’s a straight-A student, so history shows he’s likely to do well).

                    FOF is a false alarm. There’s all the statistics of flying that show it’s ridiculously safe. Airline pilots do not pay higher life-insurance rates; there’s a reason behind that.

                    So, the trick is to turn off this false alarm that arises when you fly. It’s that simple. You have an anxiety alarm that incorrectly comes on; you have to do some work to unlearn that alarm so it stays off.

                    Before getting into the details of turning the alarm off, I want to point out there are plenty of ways to turn the alarm on. Avoidance is a way to re-enforce the false alarm. Backing out of a trip is an example. If you’re anxious and then decide not to go on the trip, you’re relieved and the anxiety alarm gets rewarded for having kept you safe from that scary plane ride. There are less subtle ways this happens too. Your fiancé wants to go on this trip and you’re anxious now. You HAVE to do it. If you don’t, you’ll have some relief from the anxiety and the alarm is further set. Your talk of the 787-800 being a nice plane isn’t helping either. If the 737-800 is nice (and safe), then some other jets must not be safe? This must mean it’s not always safe to fly, especially if you end up with a 20 year old 737-300. This re-enforces the anxiety.

                    Now, back to turning the alarm off…

                    What you want to do is expose yourself directly to the anxious situation (flying) and use tricks to reduce the anxiety along the way. Repeat over and over and over and over.

                    DO….
                    1> Be prepared that you will be anxious, and be ready for it. (Some of this is my invention, not Telch’s). You will have >intrusive thoughts<. These intrusive thoughts are effects of the anxiety trying to protect you from the unreal danger. These thoughts may be “oh, the plane may crash”, “oh, he looks like a terrorist”, “oh, the pilot looks drunk”, “oh, the mechanic may forget to lock the luggage door and it rips off in flight”. You have to be ready for these intrusive thoughts, and when they happen, remind yourself immediately they are “intrusive thoughts” and counter them with prepared statements. My prepared statement is “that’s an intrusive thought, and the committee of experts have already decided flying is safe and I should ignore ”.
                    2> Engage in counter-anxiety behavior (this is what turns off the alarm!). There are a number of things you can do along the way that are counter to anxiety. In other words, these are things you might do if you were not in danger. Your brain has a dilemma between these behaviors and the alarm, and the alarm is slowly turned off. Here are the ones Dr. Telch prescribes:
                    a> When getting on the plane and walking to your seat, jump up and down. If the plane was fragile, you wouldn’t be doing this as you could break it. This instills your brain that the plane must actually be strong. This works great in elevators and tall buildings too.
                    b> Carry on conversations with someone over anything other than flying. Talk as much as you can. Even ramble on. Prepare your fiancé for this that you need to continuously carry on conversation at home that morning, on the way to the airport, at the airport, and along the flight. This normal conversation is counter to anxiety or danger. You wouldn’t be jabbing about the latest Hanna Montana episode (see other thread) if some tiger was about to pounce on you, would you? Thus, this is counter to being in danger.
                    c> Smile a lot. Laugh. Again, counter to being in danger.
                    d> Eat, but eat slowly. Take trial-mix or nuts and eat them one at a time, nice and slow. Slowly pick up each piece. DO NOT take handfuls of food and stuff it in your mouth as this is preparation for needing energy for being in danger.
                    e> This is silly, but pretend you’re an actor, calm as can be, showing the world how non-anxious you are. This works well with the eating part above.
                    f> During take-off, repeatedly tell yourself that you want the plane to crash. “Please don’t get airborne; please run off the runway; please flip over and catch fire”. Don’t just say it, try to feel it. When it doesn’t happen, be disappointed. This plays a trick on the brain; the contradiction between anxiety and wanting this outcome further turns off the anxiety alarm.

                    NOW, WHAT NOT TO DO…
                    1> Don’t watch everyone in the waiting area or getting on the plane, trying to check them out to see if they are a terrorist. This re-enforces the anxiety and welcomes intrusive thoughts. Just don’t look at anyone; get distracted by your fiancé.
                    2> Don’t watch the pilots jabbing to each other at the beginning of the flight. Don’t watch the stewards/stewardesses during the flight to get queues as to if something is wrong. Just ignore them.
                    3> After the landing, do not act relieved that it is over. Look forward to doing it again!

                    Last but very important….to get any lasting effect, you’ve got to fly over and over again. The more times you subject yourself to the situation and use the above tools to reduce the anxiety, the easier it is to get over it. It not just trips but as many take-offs and landings as possible all in short-time. Over and over and over again….

                    I get the impression you’re in Dallas. Before your long flight, take several--many!--flights between the Dallas and surrounding cities (Houston, Austin, Lubbock, etc.). Southwest is your friend when it comes to planning many short flights. I took plenty of AUS/HOU and AUS/DAL trips to get over the FOF. If you don’t have much time, fly to Austin or Houston, turn-around and take the next flight back. You can do this in a morning. If you can spend the whole day flying, plan your flights to get more stops. For instance, for $158 plus tax, you can go Dallas->Houston->Corpus->Houston->Dallas getting by 5:00 the same day. If you really looked through SW’s flight schedules, I’m sure you can get 6 segments in on a single day. I just looked and for $319 plus tax, you can leave Dallas at 8:20AM and *6* segments later be back at 10:10PM. It’s that kind of repetition that will break the anxiety alarm.

                    Good luck!
                    wow, thanks for the post. lol, I'm also a UT Austin grad (BSN, Cellular Biology) HOOK EM'!!!! so I guess I HAVE to heed Telch's advice. Those are
                    great ideas and I will most definitely try to employ them. It's weird but at different times throughout the day I become excited about being a "world traveler" but then, as you note, my anxiety alarm goes off and I become hyper-aware of all the little things that could go wrong (but seemingly never do according to stats!) and I become fearful instead of excited. Again, thank you for your post and your time and I will most definitely begin practicing those counter measures in my everyday life. What's funny is I'm not scared of takeoff or landing really, but all the space in between even though I know that if engine failures occur, a skilled pilot can get us to the ground relatively safely (statistically speaking.) I just don't know why this stuff happens. The most terrifying moment for me is after takeoff when the engines spool down to turn or whatever, the sound makes me think we're fixing to crash because it sounds like we're not going to be able to climb, lol. I've done some studying and on my last flight I tried to identify every sound that was happening in the jet. The flaps, landing gear, etc. Get ready for a laugh, but the most terrifying sound? The dings and dongs in the cabin. Then the FA would go to the cockpit and I was convinced the dings and dongs were secret codes for "we're going to die!!!!" Though rationally, I should've known that when the dings and dongs happen that the FA is actually thinking "Damn! The pain in the ass pilot wants ANOTHER cup of coffee???" I know this sounds retarded to most of you but its true. But I'm trying, and trying hard. Hell, I even got mad at people who would get up and walk around thinking to myself "damn, just stay in your seat! everything is fine! why are you rocking the boat??" as if someone walking to the bathroom was going to make us crash. again, stupid, but a real fear.

                    Again, thank you for your post and comments

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by TX911 View Post
                      That's the long and short of it yeah,

                      I guess the difference is that I'm aware and in control of everything that happens in the ambulance and on scene. I have no clue what's going on in that plane or outside of it. I don't know if the pilot's pissed off, sleepy, etc, so yeah it scares me a bit
                      That's an interesting point. I would submit to you that more (or close to same number) EMTs/Paramedics have died in the line of duty than in plane crashes. They all thought they were in control, too. How many times have you got to the scene only to discover that the emergency is not even close to what it came across as? How many times were you at an MVA and didn't get hit by some idiot gawker only through God's grace? How many times have you been at a scene where either the patient or a family member became belligerent?

                      In control? I think not.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Curtis Malone View Post
                        That's an interesting point. I would submit to you that more (or close to same number) EMTs/Paramedics have died in the line of duty than in plane crashes. They all thought they were in control, too. How many times have you got to the scene only to discover that the emergency is not even close to what it came across as? How many times were you at an MVA and didn't get hit by some idiot gawker only through God's grace? How many times have you been at a scene where either the patient or a family member became belligerent?

                        In control? I think not.

                        The things you mention are indeed legitimate variables that make my job more dangerous, but to be honest they are wildcards. And yes, when we arrive on scene we are well in control of what happens from there on out unless one of those wildcards gets pulled and a car comes plowing into one or both of us. Odds? Largely against it happening with the right education, training and field experience.

                        I meant it in the sense that for instance when I'm fixing to RSI someone, I draw up my drugs, I do the laryngoscopy, I intubate my patient. When I'm giving drugs, I select the med, I select the dose, I check for allergies, I administer appropriately, like a mental checklist. Kind of like captains before takeoff I guess!

                        I don't have a clue what the hell the cap's doing up there prior to takeoff, lol

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Hi TX,

                          Its funny, isn't it. Curtis can tell you the stats over and over and it makes no difference, because you're already more than aware of them. He is trying to reason with you in a logical way, but of course, your fear of flying is a totally illogical one, ie a phobia.

                          Now, I'll mention now that the fact that you actually got on the flight, and came home, despite dreading it means that you're probably not that far from being a much better flyer. There are many people who will refuse to step on a flight, or have a panic attack as soon as the doors close.

                          You may have already considered it, but certianly in my of the world there are a couple of fear of flying courses run, and I'm sure there are a lot more where you are. Speak to some of the airlines and see if they run a course. The ones with airline affiliation are probably more reputable, although some of the others might be good. I have had many "graduates" of the local course on board (they do a "graduation flight" to prove they can do it to themselves), and the success rate is in the high 90%'s. Although I think you can fly if you have to, it might certainly make the flight a more comfortable one for you.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            There are three type of fearful fliers:
                            - Mild fearful flyers, that would rather not fly but don't let that prevent them from doing things, so if they have to fly they go, fly, have a horrible experience on-board, but then enjoy whatever was waiting for them after the flight (vacations, work...).
                            - Badly fearful flyers, that are willing to miss anything in order not to get into a plane.
                            - Cunfused feraful flyers that think they can manege it, go to the plane, but when the plane is being pushed back call the flyigh attendant and say they want out. So plane is puled back to the gate, the passenger gets down, and the ground crew has to look for his luggage to take it out of the plane. Total: 40 minutes delay.

                            --- Judge what is said by the merits of what is said, not by the credentials of who said it. ---
                            --- Defend what you say with arguments, not by imposing your credentials ---

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              wonderful wonderful stuff.

                              TX, think of it this way: when your "teching" you have absolutely no control, cuz your partner is up front flying through traffic praying that all the idiots will abide by the law and yield to your lights and siren. yet, every day you go to work, you deal with it. hmmmm sound familiar?

                              i spent 14 years as medic in NYC. although guys and gals preferred to drive, i preferred to tech. twice i was involved in serious accidents while tending to the patient--once it was clearly my partner's fault and i spent 9 months in a wheel chair. the second time was out of our control.

                              still, every day for nearly 7 years after the accident that f-d me up, i climbed in the back and put my life in someone else's hands. call it faith call it stupidity. call it what you will.

                              i doubt Curtiss' statistics regarding our fallen medic comrades are accurate, but the gist of his logic is true. yet, none of that will comfort you.

                              i now fly over 150,000 miles per year as a passenger and every so often feel a nagging sense of fear--fear not of dying, but of irrational things like wings falling off. things i know will never happen. basically, i just drink my fears away.

                              so, my advice is, have a few drinks before you get on board and have a few more on board--to take the edge off. concentrate on your bride to be. join the mile high club. bring an ipod with some kick ass music and get lost in the tunes. and remember that you are onboard the SAFEST form of transportation known to man. more people die walking...

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