What a difference a year can make!
29 yr. old Kristina, a wife and mom of 3 young children 8, 5, and 3 yrs. old, caring for her family until a year ago. She began complaining of headaches and dizziness and was diagnosed with a Chiari malformation and things began to go downhill quickly. Within those 12 months she has become a quadriplegic as a result of surgery complications and is also dependent on a ventilator to do her breathing for her. She is currently in a Pennsylvania hospital where she had a phrenic nerve stimulator placed with the hope that it would decrease the need for the ventilator. Today we will be bringing her back home to Evansville, Indiana to the LTAC that she was staying at prior to this.
Once on the ground in PA we are greeted by our ambulance crew who happened to be a mother daughter team. The daughter told of how she had vowed,” I will never follow in my mom’s footsteps and yet here I am.” Her mom just smiled and told us how meticulous she herself was with the medical air transports and how much that they so appreciated what we did to help families.
We arrive at Kristina’s bedside to find her proudly dressed in her IU Tshirt and ready to go. Although she was unable to verbally speak with us she spoke with her eyes. We could see the sparkle in them when we told her we were there to take her home to her family. Her husband Adam had been staying with her in PA and would be flying home to meet her. Once we were all safely aboard Abe we placed Kristina’s headphones on her so she would be able to hear us. Her family had been a little worried that she may be anxious during the flight but she did quite well. God blessed us with a beautiful day to fly. We raised the head of the bed allowing Kristina to look out as the clouds floated gently by and to rest intermittently when she wanted.
As we landed in Evansville Debbie, Kristina’s motherinlaw was there to greet us. We could see her joy through the tears in her eyes, as she quickly began catching Kristina up on what had been happening while she had been away. We could see how devoted she was to her daughterinlaw and her grandchildren. She did not miss a beat and Kristina continued to communicate to her with her eyes. Debbie took her spot in the back of the ambulance right next to Kristina all the while holding on to her arm. She shared the story of how her son Adam and Kristina had met purely by accident.
Adam and his cousin had been college roommates when his cousin had asked him to call his girlfriend for him. As the story goes, Adam miss dialed only to find Kristina on the other end of the phone to which they had a very lengthy conversation. This began a long distance phone relationship between the two of them. Once they decided to meet he brought her to see his family and Debbie said she knew right away that she had better like this girl because it was evident how Adam felt about her. At that point Debbie paused and smiled proudly stating ” Adam and Kristina are still together after all of those years but his cousin and his girlfriend broke up.”
When we arrived at the LTAC where Kristina had been we were greeted by many staff all of whom knew both Kristina and Debbie by name, from the front door to her bedside. This only reinforced the love and care from her family. The staff we so happy to have her back they told her how much they had missed her. They all scurried around in her room that they had prepared with a huge “welcome back, Kristina” sign. They were genuinely happy to have her back. We stopped to pray and were joined by Debbie and many of the staff. It was a great reunion.
Many times with our transports we are taking our patients from a facility where they have become somewhat comfortable, to a new facility that they are totally unfamiliar with. Not only is the facility new but so are all the people and now there are new relationships to build. This was different as we were able to return Kristina back to a familiar place with people who had been waiting for her return and it was obvious how excited they were to have her back.
ACTS 17:25 AND HE IS NOT SERVED BY HUMAN HANDS, AS IF HE NEEDED ANYTHING. RATHER HE HIMSELF GIVES EVERYONE LIFE AND BREATH AND EVERYTHING ELSE.
Thank you to Hal, Chet, Lisa, and Chris for sharing this mission
Shelli Engle RN
יאָשקע גרויס פּאַסטעך
Jesus Great Shepherd