By Trina Mioner
As a little girl my life was chaotic, and I would often slip off into fantasy. My daydreams would take me away from the violent arguments.
I dreamed of being tall and slim in a blue uniform, white shirt and blue tie with a pin on the lapel that read "Fly the Skies." I was in control, spending hours practicing hand movements, telling my passengers to remove the airbags from above the overhead compartments. The passengers were empty metal fold-up chairs.
My future lead me to the uniform of my fantasy that I wore with the same startling pride as I did the Army uniform. I don’t know if it was self-fulfilling prophecy or what, but I ended up being or doing what I pictured in my dreams. I loved to wear the uniform and the order that the uniform brought.
Moving to the reality of today at age 66, I am happy with the way things turned out. This evening was the same as many others. I had a late dinner of spicy food, knowing that eating spicy food late resulted in vivid dreams. My grandkids surrounded the bed with goodnight kisses. Laying my head on the pillow I felt agitated, like I was forgetting something. Closing my eyes, I started counting backward: 100, 99, 98... The last number I was conscience of was 63.
There I was, standing in my blue uniform in front of two wide rows of seats, five seats on each side of the aisle. Gripping the microphone in my hand, I smiled and gave instructions for the air bags. A loud explosion blew a gigantic hole in the side of the plane, followed instantly by fire. A passenger held a little girl by her ankles to keep her from being sucked out into the sky. I crouched terrified in a compartment with what was left of the microphone in my hand, blood dripping from my eyebrows. The second captain was standing over me, shouting for me to get control of things. I was frozen, listening to cries of agony in the passenger cabin. Blood and limbs were everywhere. My ears hurt from the explosion. I shook my head trying to wake myself up. The words "get control" sounded like an echo.
Shaking my head, my eyes opened to the darkness of my bedroom. I switched on the lamp, saw the Medi-planner sitting on table and realized I had skipped taking my night meds. I reached for the nearly empty water bottle and swallowed the brown and tan capsule that guarded against the recurring nightmares. I decided to document this dream so that I could recall it for my psychiatrist.
My dreams always ended up with shouts about me getting control of things. If I followed the ritual of taking my meds, my sleep went uninterrupted. My psychiatrist said the dreams were symptoms of the PTSD.
I took several deep breaths -- inhale, exhale. Then 100, 99, 98...63.