Courtland F is a 38 year old originally from Rochester NY who moved with his family to Atlanta so he could finish college studying lighting/sound. It landed him a job as a “roadie” traveling with Rock bands. Unfortunately that lifestyle almost took his life. He suffered from alcoholism and when he became ill last August his sodium level was severely depleted and when it was corrected he suffered from a rare illness called central pontine myelinolysis. This causes the cells that insulate the brain stem to die. Patients that have this loose all motor and breathing function and some reports are that people are awake inside but have no ability to communicate.
Recovery from this is grim and reports that we received initially was that he had severe brain damage. His wife and two children age 8 and 4 had no support system in Atlanta and were forced to leave him behind just before Christmas when they moved back home to NY. His mother desperately tried to find a way to get him home but Cort’s insurance “dropped him” in December and trying to get another state to take over his care was almost impossible. She finally, after 4 months, had a gracious politician step in and assist and he was at last accepted at a facility just outside of Rochester. With months of contacting people for prayer and support, his mom was finally able to anxiously await his return last Friday.
Grace on Wings had been called out last Thursday for mission 66 and the weather reports were looking like we probably would have to delay the Friday flight due to a winter storm. She called me just before we left and pleaded that we would go ahead and fly to Atlanta after delivering the patient to Indy Thursday night. I told her I didn’t think it would be possible as I had two different volunteer crews for each day. I brought it up to our copilot Kyle and medic Todd and miraculously they were not scheduled to work the next day and agreed to do it. We flew out at 9pm and arrived famished in pouring rain in Atlanta at our hotel after midnight.
After an hour wait for a cab-we finally made it to IHOP (our first motto-showing Christ’s love through aviation, and second “will work for food”). When we finally got tucked in our beds it was 2am. When we arrived next morning at the hospital to pick up Cort-he was sitting on his bed amongst a large collection of balloons with baseball cap on a big smile. Todd and I were so surprised to see what a huge recovery he had made! He was able to tell us all about himself and the “going away party” the hospital staff gave him-he had made many friends in his long stay.
The flight was the worst turbulence we’ve had ever, but Cort was sleeping peacefully after requested medication. As I saw Nellie’s wing tips bending up and down I became afraid. Knowing that fear=lack of faith, I got out one of the bibles that we give to the patients and began reading. It always amazes me that God is able to bring the most comforting Word when you need it. “Which of you by worrying can add one cubit to his stature? If you then are not able to do the least, why are you anxious for the rest?” Luke 12:25,26. So if by worrying I am not able to do even a small thing on my own-why worry about the big things?
We arrived safely in NY with greetings from Cort’s family with tears of joy. On the way to his rehab center Hal called and said freezing rain is setting in and we had to hurry-plus the weather back in Indy had all but one runway closed. I was praying non-stop as our landing gear went out and we received a report of a 2x3ft chunk of ice on the runway just missed by a large jet that just landed.
Lord kept us safe. Thank you for all of your prayers as I know many of you who were flight following us saw the weather we encountered. Thanks to Hal and Kyle for their expert flying and flight planning to keep up safe, and to Medic Todd.
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