Grace on Wings was called out to get Larry G and get him home “before he passed.” I expected to arrive at the University of Chicago to see a very sick man from the report but Larry was sitting up on the side of the bed talking with his sister. As we readied him for the flight his doctor ordered another transfusion of platelets because his count came back after the last transfusion as still very low. Larry suffered from Chronic Myelogenous Leukemia that he had been diagnosed with and fighting since 2004-his blood cells were dividing at cancerous rate but the cells couldn’t function.
He insisted on standing to pivot onto our cot with some assistance instead of us carrying him over. Even though the doctors told us (and Larry) that he was in the “blast phase” of his disease, having failed all prior interventions and was given just days to live-Larry said “it was just a minor setback”. Although he was going home to hospice-he insisted on full resuscitation attempt if needed during transport. I really felt he was still in denial of his condition. He said after losing both his children in separate events-“cancer ain’t nothin”. His sister walked us down and kissed him goodbye and Superior Ambulance was there to graciously donate the ground ride to the airport.
We prayed with him before loading him onto Nellie. Shortly after takeoff he began to have trouble breathing and I whispered to Hal to keep our cabin altitude low because he was struggling and then Hal unknowingly kept his microphone on for “us in the back to hear” and requested from the flight controller to stay at a lower altitude because “patient is not doing well” and I looked over to see Larry shaking his head “no”. I then explained to Larry that with him already having increased work and rate of breathing-we didn’t want to make the air any thinner for him and he agreed.
We landed in Nebraska to friends of Larry’s that ran a volunteer fire department ambulance. He again insisted on “walking out of the plane.” We were there to assist him and allowed him this small token of pride. We gave him the cross and bible and pray we touched him for Jesus.
I spoke to his wife today and she said he passed away 4 days later and she was so grateful for the time she was able to spend with him in his last days and that most of his family had made it to visit also.
Thanks to a great day with the crew: Hal, Bryce, Jenny!
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