Doreen, and her husband of 67 years, Samuel “Sam”, have moved “at least 16 times” and even lived in Venezuela at one point. For the past 30+ years, they’ve been settled in the Syracuse area. Sam described Doreen as a “good house Frau” raising their 3 daughters, and devoting herself to God and His word. She taught Bible Study classes and was active in other ways at their church.
About 18 months or so ago, Sam said that Doreen began to develop early dementia signs and symptoms that, due to our aging processes, progressed to the point he could not continue to adequately care for her in their home. The couple moved to an assisted living facility near-by. This arrangement was fine for a while, but Doreen continued to decline mentally and physically. At that point, she was transferred to a skilled care facility. Sam being near the same age, knew that he wasn’t going to live forever. After discussing with their daughters, it was apparent that they would need to relocate so someone would be near Doreen to help in her care in the event he could no longer.
Their daughters live in Maryland, Ohio and New Mexico. Sam said he was tired of the New York winters where they measure snow by the foot, so he was going with the climate this time. New Mexico won out.
Google Maps estimates the travel time from Syracuse to Santa Fe at 1900 miles and 28 non-stop hours best case scenario. There was no way two Octogenarians, one being nearly non-ambulatory could ever make a journey like that, nor would you want them to.
GOW was called upon to do what we do best. Relocate and reunite patients and families in the best, efficient and safest way possible with the help of our Lord.
On Monday morning Doreen was brought directly to the Landmark FBO at the Syracuse Hancock International Airport via Rural Metro Ambulance service. After an easy transfer and load, we were on our way.
Doreen was less than thrilled to find out she would be on the cot for nearly 7 hours due to the total distance and the need for fuel stops along the way. We weren’t up to altitude though and both she and Sam were sleeping comfortably.
Our flight day consisted of 3 approximately two hour hops plus ground time. Syracuse to Indianapolis, Indianapolis to Tulsa, OK and Tulsa to Santa Fe. Somewhere during the first leg, Doreen woke up to say she was hungery and wanted to know if we were serving food on this flight. Much to her pleasure, we told her yes as soon as we arrived in Indianapolis. Just a planned, Tami met us at the Millionare FBO where we stopped for fuel with a big bag of Chipotle burritos!
Just like a baby, with her stomach full after completely eating her burrito, she again went to sleep. That is until Hal was forced to fly through thunderstorms too big to fly around over Missouri. Doreen was obviously anxious with the related moderate turbulence, so Jackie and I felt a little Ativan would help her through her anxieties and promote rest. Sure enough, it worked! The rest of the flight went like clockwork. Doreen required little care and her vital signs were rock stable.
After a brief fuel stop in Tulsa and a quick check up for Abe, we were on our way once again to Santa Fe. Nothing significant to report on this leg, although we were sure glad to hear Hal tell us we were starting our decent into Santa Fe International airport!
It had been a long and grueling day, but as soon we landed and deplaned and Doreen saw the beautiful New Mexican sunshine, she smiled ear to ear! She knew that was going to be her new home and she belonged there.
We were met by the ambulance crew and one of Doreen and Sam’s daughters. We loaded Doreen and Sam along with their personal belongings into the ambulance and was taken to the Kingston Residence of Santa Fe. Kingston was a very nice and modern facility decorated in the expected Southwestern theme. I was impressed when the director and assistant director both came out to the ambulance and immediately greeted Sam, Doreen and their daughter. We transported Doreen to her new room which only had a hospital bed in it because their furniture wasn’t expected to be delivered until this past Tuesday.
Jackie and I got her settled in and prayed over her, graciously accepted the handshakes and hugs for “payment” and exhausted but rejuvenated with joy and happiness that comes at the end of each mission, headed to the hotel.
Now about that little “event” I mentioned at the beginning of the report. Abe developed a problem with one of his instruments when we landed in Indianapolis after our first leg and Hal started the engines again for departure. Hal called our wonderful and supportive friends at Intercontinental Jet Services in Tulsa and the problem was diagnosed over the phone as being safe to continue to fly. On our way back home we once again stopped in Tulsa for the needed repair to Abe. Good to go, we departed and was home Tuesday evening around 6:30.
I thank Hal for his “one man band show” in the cockpit for the duration of a very long trip, our Medic Jackie for her skills and abilities, and Tami for the “Meals on Wheels” delivery.
Finally and most importantly, I thank God for this mission would not be possible without his abundant and continuous blessings!
Submitted in HIS name,
Alan Taber, RN