John K has overcome many challenges in his life. He was born with spina-bifida and had to undergo emergent surgery soon after birth to put a covering over exposed nerves in his lower back. He was paralyzed from the hips down and had to learn to walk with large metal braces. Despite his handicap-he excelled at a tool and dye shop outside Detroit. He said he could make some parts by hand better than machines back in the day.
At 69 he’s in another battle-this time for his life. He suffered a femur fracture from a fall at home November 30th last year, that was un-operable due to underlying prior fixation (he had many surgeries on his legs in the past) and an open wound on the left hip. He became septic with a blood infection and was very sick. He lives in Ocala Florida (relocated “snow bird”) but his daughter and all his family except his sister live back in Michigan. In early January, he called his daughter Kelly and said, “please get me home.”
Kelly had put medical school on hold to have her children and is very versed in medicine and knew he didn’t have a lot of time left. She searched and found us and Grace on Wings came to get him home. When I called the night before-the nurse couldn’t say enough about what a great guy he was and we found out the next day what she was talking about! He was so excited to fly, and to be able to be outside in the sunshine! We told him to hurry and soak up some sun because it was cold and cloudy in Detroit and soon expected winter storms.
On the flight he talked with medic Glenn and I the entire 3 hour trip! He said he was tired because he didn’t get much sleep the night before but was so excited to experience the flight. We talked about everything from Obama health plan to Bob Seger (with whom he was excited I had on my I-tunes.) We spoke about his health and all he’d overcome and he told us that the doctor that did his first surgery in 1941 he met again 20 years later to do a scar tissue resection to try to get his bladder to work.
He said he’d been invited to grand rounds and the doctor wanted all the docs/students to look at his back-side and he thought, “what the heck-if he thinks its great-I’ll bare it!” He still chuckles today about standing up in front of the auditorium showing his butt!
We landed in Detroit and had to be careful as the ramp was a sheet of ice. We were met by Superior Ambulance crew-who are as always awesome and very professional and donate there services for us!
We arrived at the rehab and his daughter Kelly was there to greet us. She said her kids had enjoyed flight following on the internet and kept her up to date on every state we crossed.
Thanks to great flying by Hal and Rusty and to wonderful care and conversation by medic Glenn and patient John!
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