Mission number 95 had Nellie and the crew flying to the Deep South state of Mississippi. This is where our patient Glenn B or “Mister Glenn” as he was affectionately called by his caretakers of Baptist Hospital in New Albany, Mississippi was hospitalized.
On the day we arrived, Glenn had been hospitalized at Baptist for 76 consecutive days. While other living arrangements such as group homes and extended healthcare facilities had been attempted to house Glenn, these proved to be not an acceptable solution due to Glenn’s inability to adjust to his environment in relationship to his disease process. Glenn’s extended stay at the hospital was becoming a terrible strain on the hospitals resources as well as not being adequately equipped to safely handle or care for a Huntington’s patient. With little to no family support for his care, they knew something had to be done to get more appropriate accommodations and care for Glenn. The arduous search was on.
The hospital’s social worker was explaining to me that there are only eight specialized centers in the United States that are accredited to accept and care for the complexities of the Huntington’s patient. With so few centers however, the number of available beds was extremely tight. She went on to say that she applied for Glenn’s admission to all eight centers only to have one center with one bed agree to accept him. That center was the Carlton Manor in Washington Courthouse, OH. What a blessing that was.
Now they had the “where” figured out for Glenn, they needed the “how.” From his hospital bed to the accepting facility in Ohio was calculated at approximately 9 to10 ground hours. As with the majority of Huntington’s patients, Glenn suffered frequent bursts of agitation which occasionally became violent in nature and they knew that ground transportation was not a viable option for his safety or theirs. The hospital searched the usual air ambulance options but was decidedly discouraged with the $20K or more prices they were quoted. It helps to understand the hospital was picking up the entire tab for ground and air transportation of Glenn, so an economical but safe method was essential.
In near desperation, the social worker searched for a charitable means for transportation and found Grace on Wings. Praise God!
With all the details addressed and finalized between the two facilities and GOW, Mission 95 was a go.
On Wednesday morning we left Indianapolis International for a 1 ½ hour flight to Tupelo, Regional Airport. As usual with Hal and D.J at the controls, the flight down was smooth and uneventful. The ambulance trip from the airport to Baptist Hospital was approximately 25 minutes. There, we picked up Glenn from the ICU to transport him back to the airport for our trip north to Ohio. Smiles, hugs and tears were shared amongst the staff and “Mr. Glenn.” As one of the nurses said, “You don’t spend over two months day in and day out with someone and not get attached.”
Mentally prepared for the worst case scenario given his history, medic Matt, our new recruit RN Chantelle and I were pleasantly surprised how docile Glen was for the 1 ¾ hour flight to Washington Courthouse. I must admit, Dr. Milstead’s order for IV Atavan was a Godsend for Glenn and for us too!
Upon landing in Ohio, we transported Glenn a short two miles from the local airport to the Carlton Manor healthcare facility where he was warmly greeted with “open arms.” The staff quickly introduced themselves to Glenn and him to other patients. From what I observed, I truly believe that Glenn is in the perfect place now until he gathers around the throne of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.
What a spiritually and professionally rewarding day we all had Wednesday with all thanks, honor and praise going to our Heavenly Father!
Alan Taber, RN
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