Vacation Fun & Passing Out on an Airplane

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Big Medical Words / Oxygen-y Stuff

Last night we got home from a wonderful long weekend out of town.  Tom and I went to visit my brother and my sister-in-law in the Denver area.

The flight down went really well.  Just a headache, some fatigue, and some overall body pain.  Nothing horrific at all.  I spent the next day recovering and resting as much as possible because that night was very important.  That night I got to make some childhood dreams come true.  I’ve only wanted to watch the Penguins play for years and years and Thursday night I finally got to! It was magical.  It was so fun being down by the glass for warm-ups and seeing the best player in the NHL just a few feet away from me.

Ashley grabbed this picture that really truly is pretty much ‘little kid Amy’ excited about this moment!


That guy right behind me holds two Stanley Cups (one as the youngest captain ever in the NHL), two Hart Memorial Trophies, two Art Ross Trophies, a Conn Smythe Trophy, three Ted Lindsay awards, several best NHL player ESPY awards, a Mark Messier Leadership award, a Maurice “Rocket” Richard Trophy, and two Olympic Gold Medals.  You may not like the guy, but you have to be able to admit that the guy knows how to play hockey.



This was a wheelchair event, but once to the sections did walk up and down the stairs.  That was tricky, especially with pain the next day, but not to worry: we masked it with delicious homemade cast iron pizza and playing games.  Oh but before that, Denver had the craziest record-setting weather of any day in February since 1859.  It was February 10th and 82 degrees.  We got to lay by the pool with a tropical drink.  By Sunday when we left it was back in the twenties and felt like winter again.

We also got to try Chick Fil-A for the first time too.  It was yummy.  Maybe it’s a good thing there isn’t one here!

Sunday morning we checked another fun thing off of our bucket list by getting to go to VooDoo Donuts.  That was a delicious and a fun experience.


We took the Sunday night flight home that left at 10:15 pm.  I got a new book and started reading it.  I was really enjoying it.  Then as we started the descent I could feel the pressure in my ears so I popped them.  This is when I passed out.  The way I’ve always popped my ears is to plug my nose and fill up my mouth with air and push.  As I did it, my vision started to move and float and fade and then I was being awakened with sharp painful pinches by Tom who said I passed out.  Evidently I passed out again.  The good news was that we were only about 10 minutes from touching down and then Tom could get my oxygen out of the overhead compartment.  Tom had already gotten me three water bottles for the flight and Mentos so I had those available.

I think the reason I passed out is because that method of popping ears is somewhat similar to the Valsalva maneuver, which I failed during my autonomic testing.  I went to research the Valsalva maneuver to explain it to y’all and saw that the way I pop my ears actually is the Valsalva maneuver, but it was tested differently in the lab.

Apparently if you pass out during the test you fail.  I just know she told me I could stop when my blood pressure suddenly plummeted during the test.  To test it, you are hooked up to lots of machines and they have you blow into a tube for as long as you can without breathing any air back in. Just take a giant breath and blow into the tube.  Then you start to see spots and pass out.

Image result for valsalva maneuver

The thing about passing out that sometimes people don’t get is that when you regain consciousness, you feel really bad.  Everything is bad.  Headache, spinny, dizzy, nauseas, short of breath, chest pain.  On TV people wake up and are magically fine.  Dramatic changes in blood pressure is incredibly bothersome, to say the least.

Here’s some proof for you.  This was me at baggage claim.  That girl looks horrible.


I’m feeling much better today, friends.  I’ll still be resting and recovering for these next few days though.  Overall, it was a wonderful vacation!







  1. So glad you had fun at the hockey game! You definitely looked happy! Boo for passing out on the plane; that stinks. Ugg, I did my autonomic testing last month and hated the Valsalva maneuver! I passed mine, but by the third consecutive “blow,” I almost passed out at the end of it. Take time to recover and I hope you’re feeling better soon!


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