Jim H is 96 years old, (I think the oldest patient served) and lived independently. He traveled out by plane to visit his daughter in Raleigh-Durham NC but found out his weak airway and breathing could not handle the flight altitudes.
He had a chronic cough from having polio in past. On the plane he began to have difficulty breathing and upon arrival to NC went straight to WakeMed. He was treated for pneumonia and was found he was actually having trouble with aspirating when he ate.
He and the family denied having a feeding tube placed due to the trauma involved and his advanced age. His only wish was to return to his home in Goshen Indiana.
The case manager at WakeMed called their fixed-wing air ambulance but the cost for them to run was very expensive and “they don’t due charity”. That’s when someone suggested Grace on Wings and we were soon on our way to get Jim and his son Phil home.
When we arrived at the airport-the WakeMed team was waiting there for us (per family request). They were very professional and after praying over him, we slid Jim over to our cot (all 115# of him) and secured him in Nellie. I didn’t find out til later that his son Phil was actually a retired Methodist Minister!-we should have had him in on the prayer.
During the flight, Jim kept feeling like he needed to cough but he was too weak and he said it felt like it was stuck in his throat. Although the hospital had sent some Ensure and applesauce, we were afraid to let him try to swallow anything and we kept him hydrated by an IV. The attempts at coughing made us all uncomfortable-we even sat him up a few times and patted his back. His oxygen levels were stable though.
It’s funny how if your heart is in the right place-God takes initiative in causing events to happen to help-upon landing and when Hal hit the reverse the humidification bubbler tipped and sent some sterile water up his oxygen line that gave him a good dose in his lungs of fluid-he gasped (we felt terrible) but when we sat him up he was able to cough out a huge brownish “goober” (as us non-respiratory therapists call it.) After a few minutes at the hospital he was feeling much better and even walking in his room. Praise God!
Thanks to Superior Ambulance again for their gracious help with ground ambulance in Goshen-you guys are always awesome.
Thanks for help by my quick-acting medic Scott and for Alan, Mike and Hal for a great mission!
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