Kathleen L is a 49 year old nurse from Indy who went with her husband to visit the Grand Canyon for their 25th wedding anniversary 2 weeks ago. She had been having headaches and nausea and thought she had a touch of the “flu” when she passed out on the plane ride down to Flagstaff AZ. Medics were called out to the plane but she told them she’d be fine. After arrived at the Grand Canyon South rim, she felt dizzy and sick again and thought it might just be low blood sugar so her husband took her to a local restaurant. She again passed out and was taken to the only health care within 1 1/2 hrs drive-a small clinic.
She was told she needed to go back to Flagstaff for an evaluation and she had to go by ambulance. Once there the ER doctor found a 5cm area of bleeding on her brain and it was amazing she was still functioning. After a week in the hospital, she continued to pass out and even fell and hit her head. The hospital had only one neurologist, but he was on vacation for the month!
Fortunately, by God’s grace, her husband worked with one of our board members and we were called out to come get her home. No affirmative diagnosis had been made except they did not see continued bleeding or tumor.
When we arrived, I was so thankful to see her smiling and talkative. We laughed about having to play the “patient” role and she agreed it was going to make her an even better nurse! From the many blown IV’s to the rash from the monitor leads-she was definitely going to empathize a lot more. Isn’t it great how God’s plan in suffering is to make us so we can help others through it?
We took off out of Flagstaff and she began to feel more nauseated and to make it worse-we had hot air blowing through our vents. I buzzed to the cockpit a few times and Hal said sharply “I’m working on it.”
After 10 minutes I finally went up to the front to see what was up. Kathleen was feeling better with medication but we were all pretty warm. DJ told me we had an airflow problem and Nellie wasn’t pressurizing normal. We had to fly lower than usual and the cabin stayed a bit too warm.
Kathleen of course was her usual stoic self and didn’t complain. She just wanted her ice pack behind her neck (that had been her constant companion for the past week).
We landed in Salina KS for refuel and were excited about feeling some fresh cool air. We stopped and took Kathleen inside while they confirmed the problem.
We just had to fly low and unpressurized to get her home. It was the first malfunction during transport-but how awesome God is for keeping us safe and for our smart aviators and mechanics for knowing what the issue was.
We tucked in Kathleen and prayed over her back in Indy. The next day they found the problem in her head was an aneurysm and the IU docs can even do a procedure to treat it without surgery. We pray for her continued healing and look forward to getting one of our best nurses back!
Thanks for great job by Hal, DJ, and Glenn and to our vigilant flight follower Bob and the team at Intercontinental Jet (who fixed Nellie next day!)
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