Today we are traveling only a short distance for us, to pick up 63 year old Dale and his wife Amy. Dale was recently diagnosed with lung cancer and his health is quickly fading. He will be going to the home they recently purchased for hospice care. This is their final wish for him. When we arrive in Quincy we are welcomed by gusty winds making this already cold morning seem much more bitter.
We quickly hop into the back of the ambulance for our short ride to the hospital. We find Dale ready for flight with Amy at his side where she has kept constant vigil during his entire stay. It is evident that Dale is not doing well. We do not waste any time in transferring him onto our cot and heading back to the airport. As we make our way through the hallways it is lined with staff who take the time to bid this family a final good-bye. Amy promises them that she will keep in touch as she thanks each of them for their kindness and care.
Hal and Dave have everything ready as we arrive and help with the small amount of luggage Amy has brought along. As the winds continue to whip and swirl around us we are careful to keep Dale covered and protected. Once on board Nellie out of the wind, Hal closes the door, as he passes by Dale, he lays hands upon him offering up a prayer on his behalf. Amy has never flown and this has been on her “bucket list” for some time.
Today, however, she has mixed emotions about it as it is not exactly how she was hoping her first flight would play out. Our flight time is short at under an hour and she does great. She has been so busy caring for Dale she has neglected caring for herself. She and Dale have been married for 10 years. They met online and fell in love despite their 20 year age difference she explains as she smiles softly.
She has 2 daughters and he a son. Dale served in the Marines, has been chief of police and a social worker. He has been “service” oriented his entire life protecting and caring for others. Amy is a baker and a cake decorator. They have been living in Illinois where Dale is from for several years and recently purchased their “dream” home in Indiana to be near her family. Her devotion to Dale is so evident and so sweet.
Once we are on the ground in Indiana it is as if we are still in Illinois, at least where the weather is concerned. Again we make a quick transfer to the ambulance with Dale as she makes a quick call to the hospice nurse so they can meet us. Our ride is short and before we know it we are at their newly purchased home. It is so new they have not yet had time to furnish it. We are greeted kindly by Amy’s parents and her adorable daughter. They have gotten Dale and Amy’s bedroom ready.
Their home is lovely and the bedroom is very large with room for Dale’s hospital bed and a large bed for Amy. We gently place Dale into his bed and we all gather around to pray for this family. Amy’s parents are so thankful and each of them give Jason and I a huge hug as tears stream down their cheeks. They asked, “who flew the plane?” I told them that our pilot Hal, had remained with our plane. They asked us to specifically thank him for getting Dale and Amy home. I assured them that I would do so.
They know that Dale does not have a lot of time left here on earth but Amy held true to her promise to him and got him to their “dream” home. I am confident that she will not leave his side. She also has a wonderful support system with her family whom will not leave her side either.
As we left she handed Jason and I a small pocket cross and angel that she wanted us to have. We thanked her from the bottom of our hearts for this sweet gesture of gratitude. We plan to carry them with us from this day forward in our flight suits as we fondly think of her and Dale.
OUR PEOPLE MUST LEARN TO DEVOTE THEMSELVES TO DOING WHAT IS GOOD, IN ORDER TO PROVIDE FOR URGENT NEEDS AND NOT LIVE UNPRODUCTIVE LIVES.
Please continue to lift this family up praying that Dale does not have to suffer much longer in his earthly body and for Amy as she will continue on without him. Praise Him for the wonderful family support that they have.
Thank you to Hal, Jason and Dave for sharing this mission with me.
Shelli Engle RN