……3 pm Thursday afternoon as I answer the phone, on the other end is Cathy, who identifies herself as a hospice nurse from here in indianapolis. She has a 69 year old patient from Pennsylvania who recently suffered a stroke.
Her family would like to get her back home ASAP…..like by tomorrow! I explained that we would have to work together fast and furiously if this were going to happen. With only about 2 hours to gather all the necessary information and forms we are very pressed for time. I promised her we would do everything we could including stay at the office as long as needed. So with all hands on deck we all pulled together including ourselves, case managers, nurses, docs and most importantly God to get this couple back home.
……Rewind to just this past Monday, with Carol and her husband Paul were here in Indy to stay with their grandchildren. This was a great opportunity to do so while their daughter and son-in-law were taking a trip to celebrate their 20th wedding anniversary. It was during this time that Carol had a stroke and was taken to the hospital emergency room. Over just the short time of a few days she had serious bleeding in her brain. She is now unresponsive and has been given a very grim prognosis. Her family has made a very difficult decision to no longer pursue medical care.
We arrive at Carol’s bedside where her son-in-law and husband are. Paul has been at her side all night. We move quickly to get her onto our cot as we wrap her snugly and pad her for comfort. Their daughter left early this morning to drive their car back to Pennsylvania and hopefully be there when we arrive.
Paul and Carol have been married for 50 years. He is 7 years her senior and was playing baseball with her brother when she came home from the hospital as a newborn. Paul is 1 of 12 and Carol 1 of 3 siblings. They grew up in their small town and Paul went on to join the U.S.Marines where he served for 4 years. After that he joined the U.S. Navy and it was during this time they were married, Carol just 19 years old.
He recalls how she joined him in Japan on Christmas Day. He served a total of 16 years in the Navy and they continued to move many places over the world eventually returning home to Pennsylvania. They have 2 daughters 1 living in Indiana and the other still in Pennsylvania along with 4 granddaughters whom they love spending time with.
Carol rested quietly during the entire flight as we visited with Paul. During our flight across Ohio Paul shared many points of interest along the way since he and Carol have made this trip many times. We enjoyed getting to know a little about his family in our short time together.
At the airport in Pennsylvania, their daughter Melinda was waiting. As we got off of the plane, with tears in her eyes, she immediately hugged Hal, thanking him for getting her parents home safely.
It was a short drive to where Carol will be staying and after tucking her into bed her family joined us as we prayed for peace and comfort for them.
YEA, THOUGH I WALK THROUGH THE VALLEY OF THE SHADOW OF DEATH, I WILL FEAR NO EVIL; FOR THOU ART WITH ME; THY ROD AND THY STAFF, THEY COMFORT ME.
(When I reflect on this verse I find specific comfort in “shadow”. In order for there to be a shadow there must be a light….Jesus is that Light.) Please continue to lift this family up. Thank you to Hal and Zac for sharing this mission with me.
Shelli Engle RN
JUST A PLANE FACT:
Indiana, Pennsylvania is the birthplace and hometown of Jimmy Stewart who starred in ” It’s a Wonderful Life”. Each year the town celebrates with a parade and free viewing of the film which just happened to be the day that we were there. The local airport is also named after him and proudly displays his U. S. Service uniform along with many other memorabilia.
Ours truly is ” A WONDERFUL LIFE !! “