Joanne T is a 63 years old and in a terrible car vs semi accident in Tennessee last November. She suffered serious head injury and later her heart stopped and she was resuscitated. Her home is in Chicago near her son and daughter and they have been trying to get her home since the accident. The problem was that she needed constant supervision because she couldn’t swallow and she kept pulling out her surgical airway (tracheotomy) and also her feeding tube.
She had pulled out the airway just last week and had to go back into surgery to have it repaired. Thanks to the great actions of the nurses when it happened or she could have choked or stopped being able to breath due to swelling.
They finally found a facility an hour away from her home in Chicago and Grace on Wings was called out to bring her home.
We arrived at the rehab near Knoxville and the staff looked grateful to see us. We had emergency supplies in case Joanne pulled out her airway and we began trying to hook her up to our cardiac and oxygen monitors. She wouldn’t keep any of them on and after evaluating her, we gave her some sedation before we brought her onto our cot.
I’m sure most people that have had a brain injury and recovering would not enjoy all the tubes and wires the healthcare people need to have on and in them to keep them going. But it’s not good to keep them physically or chemically restrained during the rehab process. I’m glad for transport, when appropriate, we are allowed to help some patients take a big “nap.” And that’s what she did. She slept peacefully during the trip and our awesome crew kept her airway clear.
We arrived to Chicago with a thankful family awaiting to see her. She woke up and had huge smiles for her family and especially her beautiful blond granddaughter Riley. It was so cute that after we loaded Joanne into the ground ambulance, Riley climbed in to kiss her grandma and then refused to leave her side! After working in ER for so long, I quickly made the statement that all passengers in the back of ambulances usually get “shots” and that was enough to persuade her to leave her grandma’s side for the trip to the rehab home 🙂
When we arrived, it was so amazing how calm but wide awake Joanne was. She was so happy to finally be home with her family. She even said “AMEN!” after we gathered and prayed over her. We pray she will continue to heal and soon be able to swallow and get the trache out for good-but until then we pray she will leave it alone.
Thanks to great care by RT Deb and to new recruit Todd. Thanks to great flying by Hal and Mike and flight following by Bob. Thanks to God for making this mission possible.
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