Thursday, 21 February 2008


"Significant, irreparable and permanent" are the three words any flight attendant does NOT want to hear when in relation to damage done to her ears or sinuses.

They kind of ring a similar bell to NUCLEAR WARFARE: YOUR LIFE IS OVER.

All the Aussies in Dubai were very excited a few weeks ago because we had real life AFL teams coming to play in the sandpit. Who knows why there were here and who really cares, but it meant a road trip to the polo club about half an hour away, meat pies, grandstands, sunscreen and cheering. Not to mention hot men in hotpants! A few of our Aussie male crew have formed a team called the Dubai Dingoes and they were playing the warm-up game against the Dubai Heat. It all seemed like a promising day for fun.

We scored a lift with friends of a mate and with our home-made team coloured pom-poms we were off. In the middle of a tirade against HSBC bank (the world's shittiest institution) I got a very strange phone call that I initially laughed off as a prank. "Hi Lauren, it's crew scheduling. Do you want to go to Brisbane tomorrow?" Did I ever?! I'd tried and tried my hardest to get a Brissie flight this month, but couldn't convince anyone to swap with me. I'd resigned myself to the fact that I was going to Venice the next day (not too shabby!) and was very intrigued by this man's offer. I kept thinking it was one of the boys on the Dingoes team having a go and after repeatedly asking if it was REALLY scheduling and the little scheduling man sounding rather miffed that I didn't believe him, I accepted the trip and let him take away my Venice and Entebbe flights. After my last Entebbe fiasco, I was glad to palm it off to some sucker on reserve!

The day progressed nicely and even though I was rather shell-shocked that I was heading home the next day, we had a great time. With Mexican waves, a jumping castle and banned booze in eskys it was just like home!

The next morning I set off for work with my newly packed suitcase full of books. I've realised that when I leave this crazy place for good I'll NEVER cram all my crap into the measly 100kg of free contractual cargo, so I lined the bottom of my suitcase with 15 novels I no longer need cluttering up my room and then dragged it downstairs. The flight was uneventful and after landing in Singapore we scooted straight down to the trusty food court for some well earned vege fried rice and sweet and spicy pork ribs.

I was alerted to a significant sinus issue when I woke up the next morning and couldn't breathe through my nose, had a ripper of a headache AND felt like I'd swallowed razor blades. The throat sensation was the giveaway.

I set out for the pharmacy and gulped down some soothers and fruit and then wallowed in self pity for the remainder of the day. We set off for the airport, en route to my beloved Brissie and by the time we got there I'd pepped up a bit. The prospect of landing in my home city to the sight of that big ugly tin Qantas shed on the tarmac really fills me with joy. However, after a short nap I truly felt like crap and the next morning I was positively WOEFUL. After dropping Jono off to a staff retreat (read JESUS CAMP) for his new school, I trooped back to the hotel, called the emergency staff medical line and told them of my woes. I was shipped off to the doctors office downstairs and after one teensy tiny peep in my right ear he said "you're not going anywhere for three days". This sounded suspiciously like a repeat of the major episode in Singpaore last year but this doctor didn't have a massive hairy mole sprouting off the side of his chin.

We did some barometric tests that discovered that my wanky right ear had a NEGATIVE reading and that's when he gave me the good news: "Lauren, if you fly tomorrow you risk SIGNIFICANT, IRREPARABLE AND PERMANENT damage to your ear. I predict that you'll definitely have problems and you'll most likely blow your ear drums". Just what I wanted to hear.

The punishment for calling in sick for the Auckland shuttle on a Brisbane trip is not getting the $200 allowance that I'd have got if I did fly. It also meant paying for my own phone calls to the London medical line and my new nifty $35 nose spray. Oh well, that's the price I had to pay for keeping my ear drums in one piece. The doctor decided to put me on STEROIDS to fix me up and within 12 hours my ears had popped open and felt slightly better. After a follow up two days later I was cleared to fly back to Singapore with the crew and then onwards to Dubai. Mum felt sorry for me, so she made roast pork for dinner the night before I left. Even though she slightly burnt the apple crumble or whatever it was, lashings of custard and ice cream certainly made it all better.

I checked myself into our clinic back in Dubai where I was told "you've got major sinus problems" and have been removed from my roster for 5 days. Like I didn't know I've got problems - 5 major sinus attacks in 13 months isn't really poster-girl-normal is it?? The doctor started throwing out terms like "sinus chiselling surgery" and "CT scans" which had me envisaging super hot Dr Troy from Nip/Tuck holding a carpenter's chisel at the base of my nose and having a good crack at it. I informed the doctor that I'll be having that surgery performed in Brisbane if necessary.

So, I'm supposed to be going to Malta the day after tomorrow and I'm all bent out of shape that I'm not allowed to. Malta trips are sooo hard to get and I had to give away my Paris flight to get it. Oh well, it's not like going to Brisbane was the cause of the sinus problem. I should be positive and think of it as lucky I was at home when I was sick so Mum and Jono could look after me. I also got to have afternoon tea with the gorgeous Stella and Sienna AND got to buy the HOTTEST pair of red stilettos before I got too sick!!!

CT scan today - I'll keep you posted.....

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