Flying pharmacologic first class. Tallong, NSW, Australia. 2010

Over the Easter long weekend, I met Shawn who is visiting Australia from the US. Shawn is an old friend and fellow anaesthetist of a friend of mine, Peter.

I always find doctors entertaining in social circumstances, and I love pumping them for information about things I probably shouldn’t know about. As a consequence, I had what I thought was a pretty interesting conversation with Shawn and Peter while we were hanging out at my in-law’s holiday home in Tallong over Easter.

Me: “So, Shawn, how was the flight over?”

Dr. “Shawn: Cattle class always sucks.”

Dr. Peter: “You should’ve flown business.”

Dr. Shawn: “I know, I know, but I just can’t justify it to myself, even though I can afford it.”

Me: “I hate economy and I dislike the fact that I can’t afford first class even more.”
“It’s so cramped and after a few hours my joints start to swell and ache.”
“Not to mention the tedium.”
“Surely as a doctor, you’d be able to prescribe something to make economy more like first class?”

Dr. Shawn: “Well, you wouldn’t be getting a script from me, and that’s for sure.”

Dr. Peter: “Or me for that matter!”

Me: “Don’t go getting all high and mighty with me you glorified meat plumbers!”

Dr. Shawn: “Look, the trouble is that probably the best drug to control the general pain from sitting in a seat for so long would be a narcotic like Endone.”

Dr. Peter: “That stuff is hillbilly heroin!”
“Although we may be friends, you won’t get me writing you any prescriptions for narcotics just so you can fly in comfort in the cheap seats.”
“Anyhow, the Endone would constipate you.”

Dr. Shawn: “Metamucil would help out there.”

Me: “So it’s only the rich and famous with their pet doctors who get to travel by air comfortably?”

Dr. Peter: “They’d have enough money to travel first class anyway.”

Dr. Shawn: “Having enough money to keep a doctor or two in your pocket can lead to death.”
“Look at Michael Jackson and Heath Ledger.”

Me: “So you wouldn’t help out about the general pain, but what about the joint aches and swelling?’

Dr. “Shawn: A Voltaren patch would work well.”

Dr. Peter: “You can’t get those here in Australia.”

Me: “So I guess you’d have to take the pills?”

Dr. Shawn: “Yes and I’d also say it would be worthwhile to take some Aspirin to counter the risk of deep vein thrombosis.”
“Trouble is that the Voltaren and Aspirin are hard on the stomach so I’d say Zantac would be worth taking too.”

Me: “Well, all that leaves is the boredom, and adjusting to the jet lag.”

Dr. Shawn: “The best way to pass the time would be to sleep and for that I’d take Stilnox although Lunesta might be better.” 
“Stilnox lasts for about 4 fours Lunesta works for about 8 hours.”

Dr. Peter: “You can’t get Lunesta in Australia but Stilnox is ok, and no, Razz, I’m not going to help you out there either!”

Me: “O.K., O.K. be that way!”
“But as a matter of interest, how much would this Pharmacological First Class upgrade cost?”

Dr. Shawn: “Under ten bucks.”

So there you have it, people. There is a way to fly long distance, comfortably and cheaply.

Unfortunately it’s illegal.