Mission 290 had Nellie and crew flying to Houston Texas to pick up Samantha “Sam” P.
Sam is a 65 year old who had been diagnosed with terminal pancreatic and liver cancer. She had been receiving treatment at the world renowned University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center.
After a couple of weeks at Anderson, it was felt that all treatment options had been exhausted since the cancer had metastasized to other areas of her body. It was felt best that she return to her home in Norman, OK for end of life care by her family.
Her husband considered flying her back to Oklahoma by commercial means, but due to her liver tumor increasing in size nearly daily, she wasn’t able to sit comfortably.
Therefore, another mode of transportation had to be found. Ground was an option, but nearly 7 hours travel time point to point, neither Sam nor her husband was keen on the idea of her bouncing around in the back of an ambulance that distance.
For profit air ambulances were investigated, but as usual, the cost was not within their already strained budget. Not giving up, and continually praying about it, a solution was as close as their M.D. Anderson social worker.
The social worker began searching for avenues that would meet their requirements to get Sam home. It wasn’t “but a short while” and she came back with the service, Grace on Wings.
We left Indianapolis and flew in beautiful, nearly cloudless skies all the way down to Texas.
In order to curtail expenses, Sam had been discharged from M.D. Anderson and was brought to the Signature FBO at Houston Hobby Airport by taxi. She and her husband were patiently waiting for our arrival.
Upon seeing Sam for the first time, it was at that point it was perfectly clear just why we were transporting her home. She was nearly lying down in the obligatory uncomfortable “waiting room” commercial chairs. It was extremely difficult for her to simply sit upright, something we may take for granted.
Once Nellie was refueled and Hal gave the okay to board, Sam took her prescription pain medicine and we carefully took her planeside in a wheelchair, because ambulation was as difficult for her as sitting.
With Medevac privileges, we were cleared out of Hobby quickly and in a short and smooth 1 hour and 29 minutes, we were safely on the ground at the University of Oklahoma airport in Norman.
Sam’s family met us at the airport. Even in her painful, compromised state, she managed to smile and hug each and every one of them.
Please pray that God blesses Sam’s remaining time here on this earth until he calls her home to be with him for all of eternity.
Alan Taber, R.N.