Judy W is a 43 year old from Northern Florida who went to McKinney, Texas for a short contract job selling insurance. While there she began to have a severe headache and complained to her coworker just as she fell unconscious. When EMS arrived she was found to have a blood pressure of 214/175 (twice thenormal blood pressure) and the CT scan at the hospital showed she had suffered a stroke due to the extreme pressure in her head. She was placed on a ventilator and her family was contacted. The only treatment available was medicine to lower her blood pressure and supportive care in hopes she will “wake up” and have some type of neurologic function.
A feeding tube and trache was placed. After 3 weeks and a bout of pneumonia, she began to open her eyes and was gradually weaned off the ventilator. It was discovered she had no swallowing control and was at least expressively aphasic (unable to verbally communicate) and paralyzed on the R side of her body. No one was sure if she could understand anything going on.
With no family able to leave their jobs in Florida to visit, she remained alone-trapped inside her body 800 miles from home and loved ones. We were called out by the hospital to finally fly her home and they were graciously willing to pay for her transport (ironically even though she sold insurance-she had none that covered a flight home.) When I spoke to the nurse prior to leaving Indy she said we should have no problems with Judy as she was “minimally responsive”.
When we arrived bedside I looked her in the eyes and explained that we were there to get her home and she smiled! It was a half smile done with the only working muscles in her face but it was a smile all the same. For the rest of the transport she slept or stared blankly and as we spoke to her I wondered what was getting through. Did she know we were there and that we were praying for her and showing her that even though terrible things happen, God still loves her?
6 weeks after suffering a severe stroke, we landed in Jacksonville, Florida to her home town. I called her daughter as we loaded her onto the ground ambulance to tell her that we would be at the rehab in about 30 minutes and she said she was working and would try to get Judy’s mom or someone to be there. I was surprised as we slid Judy over into her new bed, her daughter came into the room with a huge smile-and guess what: Judy smiled back!
Wow how important family is and I’m so glad I’m part of God’s family. No matter where we are or what our circumstances are-we are never truly alone. Our prayers are that Judy will know she’s part of God’s family too.
Thanks to the great work by my nurse Ashley and pilots Hal and Rusty-and for their willingness to stay overnight in Florida to serve Mission #71! Stand by for that report which is coming up soon.
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