Sunday, 11 October 2009

Flight of Fancy turned Plane of Pestilence

I'm in New York! I flew in yesterday evening, ripe with anticipation for an exciting week ahead of down time, meeting up with family and friends and celebrating K&S's wedding next Saturday. This will be my last trip abroad during this pregnancy since I'm now at 27 weeks with baby almost 2 pounds, the size of a cauliflower!

I flew to the US at the end of my first trimester and more recently took a short haul flight to Prague. I didn't give flying a second thought for either trip, jet setter that I am - I've done the New York to London trip so many times now that it's my equivalent of jumping in our car and driving to Cornwall, just a lot more expensive.

This time, however, was a bit different. I'm conscious that I'm just entering my third trimester and I have a healthy bump in tow. Where I didn't previously consider the circulatory or respiratory "risks" of flying, at 27 weeks in the midst of the flu season and swine flu scare stories, I gave both more thought. When I obtained my doctor's note authorizing me to fly, I asked her advice for staying healthy during a long haul flight. Her general advice wasn't anything too revolutionary:
  • Drinks lots of water and stay hydrated; limit caffeine and stay away from alcohol (like you weren't already!)
  • Walk around when you can; circle your legs in place while sitting to increase circulation
  • Wear support socks or tights to minimize risks of varicose veins and deep vein thrombosis
  • Stay healthy in the run up to the trip - eat right, exercise, i.e. bolster immune system to the extent that you can when it's already not working at optimum
I probably do all of the above anyway as a matter of course, aside from the support socks since I don't suffer from any vein or clotting issues.  In the end, however, I bought a pair of sexy black knee high compression socks from Boots, which were really tight and made my legs feel hot throughout the flight but were a small price to pay for peace of mind and safety.

So I was ready and this was, after all, another routine journey for me.  So what's the rub?

On the day that I flew, I woke up with the early stages of a sore throat and stuffy nose.  "Why now," I asked the heavens?!  I've thus far been able to ward off all the London nasties I'm certain to have encountered during my daily commute and in my office where there have been several cases of swine flu.  Yet the prospect of being cooped up in a plane cabin with stale air and poor ventilation for 7 hours when I wasn't feeling bad but not 100% either made me a little nervous.

So I flew, dressed in comfy sweats, armed with tissues, pregnancy friendly throat drops, chapstick, lotion and anti-bacterial hand gel purchased once I cleared security.  The flight was 8 hours due to uncooperative wind streams and despite all my efforts to stay hydrated and moisturized, I got off the plane feeling like a dried apricot and sounding like a sultry temptress with a voice 3 tones lower than my norm.....or maybe I just sounded like I'd been smoking a couple of packs or like sandpaper scraping against a wall, you get the picture....

So I'm in New York - and I'm thrilled to be here, but I have a cold.  Not a fever, which I'm wishing my lucky stars I don't develop (particularly as this is when cold and sore throat start to sound more like flu) but with a stinking head cold and more annoyingly, a sore throat that burns when I swallow.  Sigh.  Particularly over the next couple of days I have things to do and people to see and I don't want a cold cramping my style but it looks like I may need to be taking it a easier to start off with then planned......I'll keep you posted....

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