It’s one of those things we only dream about… flying first class. I’ve flown business before, with a free miles upgrade, but first was something that was probably never going to transpire. Yet when I flew to Australia recently, that’s exactly what happened.
We’d initially planned for business class. My back would not have survived 24 hours of economy, so booking something that allowed a fully reclinable seat was an imperative for me to even consider the journey.
The jump in price from economy to business is monstrous… the jump to first is still hard to swallow but comparatively not as hard. So we figured, with the extra benefits of first, why not take the leap. And if you’re going to do it, why not do it properly? So with some trepidation about my back, but a little spring in my step, I boarded an Emirates A380 for my 24 hours of luxury. Was it worth it, you ask? Well read on!
When you’re young you often hear the same kind of advice: ‘these are the best years of your life’, and ‘enjoy it while you still can’, and ‘all this stuff will be trivial when you have to grow up and adult’. I think I had a pretty astute inkling that life was damn good when I was younger. Sure, there were the usual trials and tribulations, and while in the moment they can feel intense and devastating, usually I look back years later and have a good laugh at myself. But overall life has been pretty good. And I did my best to absorb it and live in the moment and count myself lucky. Or maybe I enjoyed myself too much. Because somewhere along the way it seems I didn’t pay attention to the other thing that people always tell you when you’re young: look after your back.
In February this year I tripped off for some acupuncture. There were multiple reasons for doing this, none of which involved my sleeping issues. I’ve suffered from insomnia off and on for over 15 years, and during that time I’ve tried everything, including acupuncture, to resolve it. If you’re a fellow sufferer you’ll be familiar with the myriad of options – vitamins, homeopathic remedies, drugs, baths, warm milk, meditation, counselling, sleep school, and so the list goes on. The thing about something like insomnia, is that once it’s manifested, I just got resigned to the fact that it was never going to go away. You discover ways to manage it. You find tricks that work for you some of the time and you make sure you’ve got a prescription on hand for those weeks when it all gets too much.
Look, this might not be reading for everyone, but I promise to keep the details vague. Because after seven years in Austria I was recently reminded of my very first trip to the gynecologist, and it still makes me laugh.
In Australia I had gotten used to the ‘surprise’ Pap Smear. You know when you’re at the doctor on a Tuesday morning with a sinus infection to pick up a certificate for work and he or she looks at the computer and announces – says here you’re due for a Pap Smear, should we get that done while you’re here? So through your snotty nose and scratching eyes you weakly nod, and lie on that table to suffer the experience that is a Pap Smear.
After arriving in Austria this topic inevitably came up. Well no problem, I said, I’ll get that done the next time I’m at the doctor. Yeah… no. Because in Austria, your GP or Hausarzt doesn’t do Pap Smears. You have to go to the gynecologist for that. I’d always thought that people only went to a gynecologist if they needed specialist help with their nether regions or were having a baby! Apparently not the case.