We left London to fly to Rome on our next stop on our European tour in July, 1973. So little time in London. The flight was to leave just before noon from Heathrow, so I wasn't able to eat anything before we left. The plane was from BEA, and it was like a train with wings. Some of the seats faced one another. I was unfortunately facing the back of the plane. We took off, and the flight crew passed out ham sandwiches, which didn't look very appetizing.
Suddenly, the plane hit an air pocket and dropped something like 8,000 feet in two seconds. I began to hyperventilate. My heart was racing. I couldn't breathe. The others around me called a flight attendant. They gave me a barf bag and told me to breathe into the bag. That didn't help. A steward brought a blood pressure device. There were two doctors on board. They gave me some pills. I don't know what they were, but nothing was happening for the better. They laid me down on a row of seats and continued working on me. The decision was made for the plane to continue to Rome. The diagnosis was that I was having a heart attack. The doctors and attendants continued to work on me for what seemed like an hour. I still had no color in my face, and I was feeling very faint. The doctors wanted to keep me awake for fear I would go into shock. I was also very cold. They had blankets around me to try and keep me warm. Nothing was working. Then, out of the blue, a little English elderly lady about two rows back told the flight attendant to "give him hot tea". The doctors didn't think that would help, but they had exhausted everything else. The attendant brought the tea, and I began to sip it. Slowly, my blood pressure came back. My color came back. I started to feel better. Thank God for that little, old lady.
We landed in Rome. I felt fine. Everyone was asking how I was. I felt fine. Especially since all those pills they had thrown into me started to take effect. I started floating down the sidewalk. I felt more than fine.