Jerry B is a 64 years old and a retired veteran who has suffered from mental health problems most of his life. It has became worse over the last few years and he has episodes of confusion and paranoia.
He lives in northern Tennessee and was found last week driving 35mph in a 55mph zone in Lafayette Indiana. He was confused and combative and the ER tested him for brain aneurism or infection with normal evaluation. He was then transferred to the Veterans Hospital for psychiatric evaluation.
When I received the call from the case manager to get him home, she said he had to be restrained because he was biting, spitting and hitting at the nurses. His family told her the girlfriend he lives with does not give him his psych meds because she doesn’t believe in them and he has been found wandering multiple places-even as far north as Detroit! What a huge burden on his daughter and son.
Grace on Wings was called to get him back home and from the prior reports, I knew we were going to have to sedate him for flight. I asked for them to give some medication before we arrived to try to calm him.
I expected to have a “monster” on our hands, and hoped he wasn’t too strong. We arrived on the floor with help for the ground ambulance from Heartland Ambulance-2 strong medics and a lot of medication should due the trick! The nurses welcomed us with huge smiles (not always a good sign) and I noticed one of the aids was walking with a scruffy, older gentlemen. She said “Jerry-this is the team that is going to get you home.” Wow-it was our patient-smiling and walking the hall. He looked at me and with a tear in his eye smiled and hugged me and told everyone I was “His Doctor!” He kissed me on the cheek and said he wanted to go home and see his Ella (granddaughter). Turns out he was very sweet on me because “I reminded him of his Mom.”
We told him first we had to have him sit down so we could start an IV and hook him up to “heart leads” and I expected a big challenge, but he was cooperative. We had to keep redirecting him in what we needed him to do, but God blessed us with a calm Jerry. He said he always loved flying because it meant he was going home.
On the ground ambulance ride to the airport, we asked if it was all right to “give him something for his nerves” and he agreed. By the time we prayed over him and loaded him on the aircraft, he decided he needed to get up and began trying to unbuckle his seat belts. We proceeded to give him more sedation (the emergency exit door is right above the patient). Jerry took a big nap and within 45 minutes we were loading him onto the ground ambulance in Tennessee. We arrived at the nursing home and as we entered the room I was asked if we had to sedate him. I said yes to what I thought was a nurse and “good luck when he wakes up because he’s very mobile.” Ended up being his daughter, and she totally understood. As we were scooting him onto the bed, Jerry woke up and recognized her and his son. He then saw me again and wanted to hug me.
His son then helped a groggy Jerry to the bathroom. I noticed that his room had pictures of he and his family on the wall and his favorite recliner and TV was in the room (very smart). Jerry came out of the bathroom and his daughter asked him to have a seat in his favorite chair and he was happy to oblige.
He had to give me one last hug and kiss on the cheek and told me to be sure to not let my husband know 🙂
I was so thankful to God for having Jerry’s trip go very well and we pray that he will be safe and improve back on his medications.
Thanks again to Heartland Ambulance in Indy for ground ambulance donation!
Thanks to great care by medic Alex, flying by Hal and Mark, and flight following by Bob and our 400 ropes members!
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