Bette M is a 59 year old retired nurse who has been battling multiple myeloma for 10 years. She has been going to a specialty treatment center in Little Rock, AR. They recently told her she had developed a secondary leukemia and was not expected to live much longer. She was staying in Little Rock for the past few weeks with her husband and special needs child “JJ” who was 17. They decided to move back to their hometown in Evansville IN where her two daughters, who were both nurses, could help take care of her. Hospice was also going to be there to help.
When we arrived to a beautiful blue-sky day, I was not sure what to expect when we were told “JJ” was flying with us and “he can get rather loud”. Bette told us that her stomach had been upset “from being nervous” all morning. I reassured her and told her we could give her some light medication to calm her and she agreed. We met JJ and he indeed had no filter on how loud he spoke or when. He was a very large kid and needed help to get onto the plane. I was a little worried he would be hard to control on the aircraft.
We then loaded his mom and made her comfortable. After takeoff, she was sleeping (pleasantly sedated-as we say), and we got to know JJ better. He could care less about the flight, but wanted to talk all about the normal kid “stuff” with playstation games, shows and other entertainment. He was so fun and full of life. I did the math and was amazed his mom had found out she was pregnant with him at my age of 42! And she already had kids in college. What a challenge that must have been, in addition to getting cancer. God says he won’t give us more than we can handle. She and her husband must be a rock!
When we arrived, Bette was still sedated, so our medic took out the back seat of the daughter’s minivan and we slid her on the clipdeck and locked her in. It was the first time we agreed to transport a hospice patient this way (we originally thought she would be able to sit in a seat). Medic Terry was cute trying to keep his feet from going numb sitting with legs extended in the back!
We arrived at her daughter’s house and JJ asked if his niece of 8 knew “Granny” was dying. That’s when his sister spoke to him so sweetly about heaven and how she’ll be out of pain and JJ will see her again someday. JJ nodded and then asked to go out to eat. Lifting Bette onto her new bed she awoke groaning in pain.
I pray Bette M will be comfortable in her last days, and that her son JJ and family will be comforted by our Lord and Savior,
Thanks to great flying by Hal and Matt, and to medic Terry for great care.
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