Jose N.is a 56 year old who was diagnosed with ALS (Lou Gerhig’s) disease 2 years ago that began with some weakness of his arms. Originally Doctors thought it was from cervical spinal compression but surgery did not help. He continued to have progressive weakness and began to need assistance completing daily tasks including running his family mexican restaurant in Chicago. His wife and he decided to take a family vacation to either Jeruselum or to his birth country of Mexico while he was still ambulatory. Turns out the decision to go to Mexico was a critical one.
During his trip, Jose became ill with pneumonia and due to his weakened condition already, he began to need ventilator support for breathing. His wife stayed by his bedside as they prayed the antibiotics would work. He began to recover and wean off the vent but suffered another bout of pneumonia a week later. His family desperately wanted him home to get further care in the US but his insurance was refusing to cover air ambulance evacuation. His daughter began to fight the system and with daily calls, she was finally able to at least get him flown to the states-only to Dallas (can you imagine if he was over seas?). As they continued to pray for his recovery, his body fought the infection but he still required assistance to breathe. He is totally alert and aware of his surroundings, but helpless to do anything but bend his knees and mouth words. When his daughter contacted Grace on Wings to finally get him home (after 3 months in Dallas) she said it was his birthday Wednesday and that was the date they were hoping for.
Nellie was in her scheduled annual inspection and was not due to be finished until Thursday, and with a Mitsubishi conference scheduled for the weekend-we wouldn’t be able to transport him until the following week. Hal decided to call our service center and we were so thankful they were able to speed up the work and finish Nellie by Wednesday. Greg Mink offered to fly out the crew to pick up Nellie and after a few tweaks and test flights, we were off to Dallas to finally get Jose home.
Arriving bedside to Jose in Dallas we all wished him happy birthday and God even gave us a beautiful sunny day to fly. When we arrived into Chicago, we were met by our awesome friends at Superior Ambulance and they swiftly got us to Kindred to tuck him in. When we arrived at the hospital, his daughter came running up with huge alligator tears! Although Jose was exhausted from the journey, a big smile said all that needed to be said. After a scheduled weeks vacation in January to sunny Monterey Mexico, Jose and wife were finally home to the windy city (four exhausting months later).
Thanks to my RT Deb (aka “the debinizer”) and to the great flying by Greg Mink, and Hal and Mike Meister.
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