“The woman standing at the back of the plane is about to piss her pants. I know this because five minutes ago she crawled over me and said, “I’m sorry to disturb you Mr. Rowe, but I’m about to piss my pants.” Sadly, the kid across the aisle beat her to it. No doubt about it. The whole plane smells of urine, and it’s not coming from the bathroom. It’s coming from the kid.
We’re on a CRJ700 – a Canadair Regional Jet flying from San Francisco to Kansas City. It’s a three hour flight, but it feels a lot longer. Why? Because the CRJ700 was designed by The Marquis de Sade. There’s only one bathroom on board, and it’s all the way in the back. One bathroom for 74 people. On a three-hour flight that was delayed on the tarmac for 35 minutes.
Seasoned travelers will immediately understand the implications, and behave accordingly. But most of my fellow passengers do not possess the institutional knowledge required to endure three and a half hours on a CRJ700. At the airport, they drink their breakfast beverages like it was any other day, enjoying their lattes and orange juice with impunity. Then they blithely board this long and skinny Tube of Despair with no sense of how a solitary toilet can conspire with a bad floor plan to humble the strongest among us. Once settled, many avail themselves of the beverage service, cruelly offered by a smiling flight attendant who must have surely known what would follow. Poor bastards.
It began with lots of anxious head-turning – the way it always does when people realize they’re on a plane with only one crapper located far behind them. People needing relief look worriedly toward the back of the plane to see if the restroom is occupied. Invariably, it is. So they stay seated, but they keep looking back every five seconds. The effect is interesting. As more heads turn, more people realize their own need is identical to the need of those around them – and getting worse. So a line forms in the aisle. Not good.
Soon, people realize the inevitable – we’re all going to need to urinate before landing – but not necessarily at the precise moment of our own choosing. Thus, the fundamental certainty upon which all continence depends is suddenly compromised, and a series of unusual but pressing questions begin to form in the mind every traveler.
When exactly, does one get up and join the line? Does one wait until one needs to go, or does one wait in a line of ever-changing length? What is the proper protocol? Are those seated closer to the restroom obligated to remain seated if they see someone getting up in front of them? Do women and children deserve some kind of deference? If so, how much?
These questions are important, because standing in line to pee on the CRJ700 is a journey in personal humiliation. The aisles are so narrow it’s impossible to remain upright without invading the personal space of those still seated. (If you zoom in to my seat-mate, now standing in the back, you’ll see that her ass now occupies the space reserved for the face of the man still in 17C. That guy, or whatever’s left of him, is now crammed into the lap of the stranger next to him, who is no doubt trying to jam himself through the window, happy to pay the ultimate price for a little fresh air.) Point is, waiting in line to pee on a CRJ700 is actually worse than pissing your pants, as evidenced by the peaceful countenance of the soggy kid, sleeping across the aisle.
Anyway, the situation really devolved an hour ago, when the line grew to fifteen people. Everyone who hadn’t yet peed was fumbling through a personal calculus involving time, space, bladder capacity, prior liquid intake, arrival time, and basic self-control. Those in line were the most desperate, and no doubt counting the minutes to relief. Alas, they forgot to factor in the big unknown – turbulence. As we flew through some very heavy chop, the Captain demanded everyone take their seats. Desperate people who had been waiting in line – some for a half hour – had no choice but to follow orders. Mutiny was out of the question, as the chop would have made hitting the toilet – even from a seated position – all but impossible.
The agony in the plane was palpable, and when the safety belt sign was finally turned off twenty minutes later, it was like a scene from Pamplona. The stampede toward the stern was immediate and chaotic. Good manners and decorum were forgotten, as once civilized people scratched and clawed their way over the young and helpless, fighting backwards for a few private moments in a defiled outhouse 37,000 feet in the sky.
I have pictures, but out of respect, I’m not going to show you. After yesterday’s post, I’m worried about sharing as much as I already have. I will however, show you the inside of the briefing card, which the flight attendant strongly advised we refer to during the mandatory safety briefing of the CRJ700. In it, you’ll see all sorts of helpful illustrations regarding what to do in the event of an emergency.
Alas – there are no helpful tips for how to politely pee all over yourself and your neighbor.
Funny how there are times that one can actually relate to a Facebook status update, as this was the case yesterday as I browsed my rather uneventful wall. I stumbled across yet another Mike Rowe status update that really hit home. Eventhough I don’t fly nowadays unless, well, I don’t fly but I drive, but back in my Air Force days this little story told here was true more often than not, especially on those long international flights we love to hate so much. The status update and the picture used above have been shared here without permission, I hope Mike Rowe doesn’t mind.
Posted From Scorpion Sting’s Motorola Droid Maxx!
Yesterday I spent the entire day at the Michael E. DeBakey Veterans Affairs Medical Center in Houston waiting for assistance at the pharmacy. When I say all day what I really mean is I was in line for mandatory valet parking at 7:04 am, by line I mean there were already 64 vehicles ahead of me, for a service which doesn’t even start until 7:30 am. This is after a 55 minute drive from my house. But, before I begin my monologue about my personal frustrations with the VA Medical wait times or my personal complaints, my experience is minor compared to most others trying to get more critical treatment. In no way am I saying I have bigger problems, just I have my own problems. Regardless of what a person’s reason for visiting a VA Medical center, things should happen in a more timely manner than what it does currently.
My reason, and I had only one reason, for visiting the VA Medical center was a very clear and simple mission, to find out who and why my insulin changed. I would waste time explaining the significance to everyone but only a diabetic and doctors (most) would understand. Let’s just say we don’t change insulin for no reason at a whim. What started this quest was simple, Friday I got my new 30 day supply of insulin which was the wrong “brand” and the wrong dose. Names change so I did a little research and found what they sent me was wrong altogether. I called the pharmacy, and the short version is, I was told I must be mistaken and if a mistake was made it was because I ordered refills for the wrong insulin. Really? I’m that fucking stupid? I referred to my Rx # and so forth directly from the myhealth website and I was again told the mistake was all me. After hanging up I contacted my PCP in Conroe, spoke with her nurse, and was assured nothing had changed in my prescription details. Well, at that point in the day it way too late to drive into the VA so I made plans for Monday morning. Unfortunately those plans got scrapped and I was delayed until Tuesday. For your curiosity purposes I have included a screen capture from today to illustrate how vets can use this website to order and track prescriptions and yes this is my own personal list.
After driving, after waiting for mandatory valet parking, and after getting my number at the pharmacy, I sat there prepared to have a discussion with the pharmacist. I had my last vile, the vile they sent me, and the printed version of what you see below. So, I waited. after 2 1/2 hours my number came up so I got in line to wait another 20 minutes. Finally, when it was my turn to speak with a pharmacy technician, I was told that he could not help me with my problems and that I would need to take a different number so I could be consulted by the pharmacist. WTF? Again, I sat and waited in the sparsely populated waiting room of the pharmacy. Now, we are in lunch time so the slowness begins creeping to an almost halt. I’m hungry, but not hungry enough to leave and lose my place in line. Good thing I had brought a baggie full of spicy roasted almonds for a snack. Somewhere around 2:30 pm I was again alerted my number was up and got back in the line to wait behind the others whose numbers were called. Finally, the light at the end of the tunnel appears, I’m next. I was so close I could taste it.
The pharmacist very nicely asked what my problems were and how could he assist me. After explaining it all again to him he looked at me and told me any and all changes had to come directly from my PCP. Really? What changes did she make which changed not only my insulin but almost triples my dose? Of course, there ate no changes on record. The he pulled the “you must have ordered the wrong insulin when you did your refill request” bullshit. How in the hell can I do that? I have one fucking choice and that is what in the fuck I clicked. Here is the real kick in the balls, he tells me regardless of anything that is said that the current 30 day supply of insulin has already been verified, processed, and shipped which means he can not refill any more until July and if changes through my PCP happen then those will need to happen prior to that date. WTF are you smoking? If I am in need of this insulin immediately then I need to purchase it on my own. If I thought I would look good in prisoner orange I would have just ended his smart ass right then and there. FUCK I hate this fucking place!
And, by the way, one can not simply go to a civilian pharmacy and get insulin without a fucking prescription. I can, however, go on line and order it from a pharmacudicals supply in Canada with no prescription for a mere $260.10 plus express shipping. Yea, like that’s gonna fucking happen. Who knows what the fuck would be in that vile. As a result, my civilian PCP was nice enough to see me this morning. That only cost me $167.30 but he did give me a prescription for the correct insulin and the correct dosage. Which was generous of him, probably since I have been a patient of his for the last 15 years. So I got lucky, this time. At the pharmacy I had to pay the self-pay cost of $208.08 but now I have what I need for the next thirty days. I also am able to get in to see my VA PCP at the end of June so things hopefully work out and get back on track, hopefully.
No, I do not think I can ever get them to admit this whole thing was their mistake. I have come to a conclusion in the short time of dealing with the medical portion of the VA, they have to not have a soul or something to work there. I wonder how in the fuck they sleep at night. I do know, it is because they operate with no conscience. But, to be fair, I base this opinion solely on the people I have encountered myself. However, I have met ex-VA doctors, nurses, and technicians who say that they did not agree with how things worked but their hands were always tied when trying to make a positive difference. I can’t say I know what every veteran is going through and I know my problems are simple compared to most because my are Rx related. I would hate to see the state of my “health & wellbeing” if my only option was the VA. I am deeply sorry our Veterans must endure such bullshit as a course of their own survival, they truly deserve better, they deserve the best that is offered, and maybe with their asses in the news now the VA will clean their act up. I know, I know, wishful thinking.