Jerry H was a previously healthy 59 year old semi driver with over 30 years driving the country to make a living. He was driving through Kansas during the last week of June when he had some double vision. It improved for a short while but then he began to have trouble swallowing and called EMS. Upon arrival to the ER he was speaking but he soon developed trouble breathing and had to be put on a ventilator. He condition worsened and it was discovered that he had total paralysis from Guillian Barre. This is a rare neurological condition that is thought to occur after a viral infection when the body’s immune system for unknown reasons then attacks the nerve conduction sheath.
Mary, his wife, flew out from their home in Roanoke, on her first ever plane ride to be by his side. She said the hospital in Topeka was wonderful and the secretary even took home her laundry for her. Jerry was only able to slightly move his right hand and lower lip but they discovered he was totally alert. They developed a system in which he would move his lower lip to answer “yes” and not move at all for “no”. The doctors told them that most people recover from this but it can take months to see significant improvement and years for recovery. His insurance would not pay to fly him home because “he was not going to a higher level of care”. One of the nurses did some research on the internet and found the nation’s only charity air ambulance, Grace on Wings, and told their son about it. He was so excited to tell his parents that he had finally found a way to get them home.
After 4 weeks in Topeka, we arrived at Jerry’s bedside to get him home. He was on a ventilator and unable to control any part of his body. Wow how scary that must have been for him to not even be able to open his eyes. We had to be careful loading him onto our cot system to keep his arms from falling off. We were told his wife was in the bathroom and that she was extremely nervous to fly on a small aircraft but she wanted to be near her husband. She finally came in after we had secured him and hooked him up to our monitors, but she looked very pale and anxious. I immediately gave her a big hug and told her everything was going to be alright and that God had even provided a smooth flying day.
We indeed had a very clear day to fly and after 3 1/2 hrs we landed safely in the mountains of Virginia. As I prepared to unload Jerry, I looked up front and saw our copilot DJ comforting Mary. She was unable to control her tears of joy and said she’d been waking up to the same nightmare situation every day for the past month and what little shreds of hope she had of getting home kept dissolving and she couldn’t hardly believe they had finally made it home.
She gave Hal a big hug and we saw that her family was behind the airport fence waving at us. We arrived at the hospital and as we gathered to pray over Jerry, I grabbed his hand. He shocked me by ever so slightly grabbing mine back! We pray for his continued recovery beside his family and friends.
Thanks to great flying by DJ and Hal and to the expert care from my new God appointed RN Debbie.
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