Nattanya Andersen's cherished career as a flight-attendant for one of the world's largest airlines careened to a halt, when a jet-engine-explosion five feet away from her at 6,000 feet altitude shortly after take-off left her with post-traumatic-stress-disorder (PTSD). The mental health professions' apparent lack of knowledge concerning the treatment of PTSD-sufferers and Nattanya's desire to help herself lead her to search for empirical studies on PTSD and other health-issues and dangers facing air-crew - and by extension their passengers - on a daily basis.
In Broken Wings, Nattanya documents the symptoms and repercussions of PTSD and portrays the treatment an injured-at-work employee, in particular if ill with PTSD, can expect to receive from the employer, the Workers' Compensation Board, and the Union. Interwoven with her struggle against the system, are chapters about:
- Air-rage, air-quantity, and quality in aircraft-cabins
- Airplanes as illness-incubators
- Flight-phobia and anxiety
All backed up by data from dozens of scientific studies. Nattanya also gives us insight into the air-crew-lifestyle, the role of flight-attendants, and passengers' on-board behavior.
But Broken Wings is not just about the aviation-industry, and it is not just dry facts and figures. It is a story about fear, betrayal, and the phoenix-like rebirth of a soul from the moment of the accident to the time when Nattanya emerges as a complete - albeit scarred - person from a situation which came close to breaking her. It is an utterly compelling story, even for listeners who have no interest in the airline-industry. In light of the September 11, 2001 events and the regularly occurring aircraft-crashes and incidents worldwide leaving uncounted numbers of passengers and crew with PTSD, Broken Wings indeed makes timely and gripping listening.
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Couldn't finish it
This book started off good, and I found the heart of the story compelling, but it couldn't hold my interest. Once the accident story was told, and the PTSD recovery detailed (interesting), it fell into flight attendant tales, much like those I have heard on podcasts, but with an edge that wasn't positive and left me feeling she didn't like her passengers much. Not terrible, but not worth my credit. I returned it before finishing.