Joseph S is 52 and diagnosed with lymphoma this past February. His siblings were a match for bone marrow transplant and he was going through chemo to knock out his cancer and for IU to give him the transplant when he unfortunately came down with pneumonia in his low immune state.
He was hospitalized in South Bend near his home and despite aggressive antibiotics, his conditioned continued to worsen. His doctor decided that he should be transferred down to IU finally on Oct 31.
He had respiratory failure and was placed on ventilator that morning. We came to get him and usually family is happy to see us, but the overwhelming concern for Joe masked it. We had to be very careful moving him because he had very low platelet count despite transfusion and if cut or scraped, would not be able to clot. He is a large man and we had to be extra careful getting him through the aircraft door.
His wife, who is a nurse practitioner and his daughter came with us. It was a stormy, rainy, Halloween day. As engines were starting-Hal came across intercom and said “do not unbuckle your seat belts-it’s going to be very bumpy.” I was fiddling with the IV pump because it was reading occluded and, darn it, I couldn’t get it to run. The IV site must have been bumped during the move.
Unfortunately his sedation soon wore off and he woke up. My fear was he was going to cough his breathing tube out (he had already done that this morning) and not being able to get out of our seats due to the turbulence, we would have a hard time helping him breathe.
I scrambled to stop his other IV from running and pushed the sedative ( I did have to unleash my seatbelt and wow how fervently one can pray when we need to!) God protected us and Joseph just pointed to his foley (which was pulling in an uncomfortable way) and did not have to cough. He gave us the OK sign just before he went back to sleep.
Heartland ambulance was in Indy to meet us and we were fortunate that the Millionaire ground crew were able to pull us inside our hangar so we could unload out of the rain. Owner Ken Jackson was behind the wheel and we arrived safely at IU Hospital.
The nursing staff was ready to meet us and allowed him to wake up a bit to tell him where he was. He seemed to be at peace with the move and his family was grateful to have him to the specialists that could save his life.
We pray that God guides their hands and minds and that Joseph’s live will be a testimony to the Lord’s great power.
Thanks for great flying by Hal and great airway and vent control by my awesome RT Kim.