Bob is 70 years old and was returning home with his wife Judy from a family reunion in Illinois. They were driving back home to Colorado and had just pulled off the interstate to switch drivers. Judy pulled out and their car was hit by a truck at Bob’s door.
He suffered a ruptured thoracic aorta, liver laceration, neck fracture and multiple rib fractures. His life was amazingly saved by the Lord’s guiding hand of great medical team at University of Missouri Hospital. He then developed pneumonia on the ventilator and his body was overwhelmed by infection and with a lot of prayer and support, God stabilized him to get home.
Their son from Colorado and their daughter from Montana flew out to be near them. Judy had also suffered multiple rib fractures and hip injury but was stable to be released from the hospital.
The case manager remembered Grace on Wings from prior other transports for them and told the family about us. The daughter called and soon Bob and Judy’s church began fund raising for the cost for us to fly them home.
When we arrived bedside, Judy was sitting in a chair looking very weary from the two weeks of recovery. She looked at me with tears and said, “you’re Tami!, you’re much smaller than I pictured” I told her at 5ft tall-that was God’s gift to me to fit well in an aircraft! Bob was on the ventilator so couldn’t speak but he smiled when I asked if he was ready to get home.
Poor Judy could hardly walk and we got her in a wheelchair as the medics helped us load up Bob on our Cot system after Kim got him comfortable with our ventilator. I noticed they had had wrist restraints on him and they said it was because he likes to fiddle with the equipment.
We arrived at the airport and prayed with them before loading Judy, their daughter and Bob on the aircraft “Abe.” His son came on board to give dad a kiss goodbye (I love that!) During flight I found out why the nurses had resorted to restraints. Bob kept pulling of his ventilator connection, turning the overhead light on and off and reaching for the emergency exit. I couldn’t take my eyes off him for a second.
I’m so glad we decided to put Judy in the back seat near him so she could hold his hand at times. I don’t like to restrain patients unless I have to. I can’t imagine what he will remember but that makes families uncomfortable to watch their loved ones struggle.
Praise God he stayed stable in flight and we arrived at the Denver airport safely. Their pastor even met us on the tarmac!
We had 5 medical staff waiting for us when we arrived and also the doctor-what great care!
I spoke with his daughter and he is doing well today but unfortunately they had to put the restraints back on. I pray he will become more aware and not pull on his life support and also that he and Judy will continue to recover. What I hear again and again is “there’s no place like home!”
Thanks to great crew of RT Kim, Hal, Mike, and for our awesome summer intern office support of Chelsea!
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