Frank and Kathy…… what a great couple! I could just stop right there but then that would leave everyone else wondering why I feel this way.
63 year old Frank and his wife Kathy have only been married for 14 years. They met through mutual friends. Frank had been married once for a very short time and never had children.
Kathy, a mom to 3 daughters and a son, had been divorced for several years and was quite content. She has a huge heart having adopted 2 of her children when they were teenagers.
She works for a non-profit organization helping children in the state of Ohio. Frank works as a human resource recruiter and recently landed his dream job. Frank’s friends were very surprised when he asked Kathy to marry him, having been a bachelor for so many years. The two of them enjoying traveling together and working out.
Matter of fact up until just a little over 60 days ago they considered themselves very healthy, eating well and working out. They had what they refer to as “work-out” friends. Frank began having headaches and ended up in the hospital. (Now they have “hospital” friends.)
In an effort to treat his illness the neurosurgeons performed a bilateral craniectomy. (This is where they remove part of the skull on both sides to relieve the pressure on the brain.) The fact that Frank has taken great care of himself with his diet and workouts has led to a remarkable recovery for him thus far.
He does however continue to have these headaches and is not able to be in an upright position for any length of time. Kathy has found a specialist in California who specializes in this particular type of cerebrospinal fluid leak which they believe to be the cause.
We arrive at Frank’s room and we are surprised to see how great he looks especially considering all that he has been through recently. He is wearing his helmet to protect his head along with a broad smile, his eyebrows are dark peeking over his wire-rimmed glasses.
Kathy and some friends are at his bedside. They are both so ready to get to California in hope of getting some help. They are making the best of their circumstances now calling this a “vacation adventure.” The staff have grown very close to the two of them and are both sad and excited for them.
Our ride to the airport was short and we saw an opportunity to brighten up what will be a long flight. Jason had purchased an assortment of stick-on mustaches and some huge colored clown-type sunglasses.
We asked Frank if he would like to participate in surprising Hal when we arrived at the airport. Without hesitation he was in agreement. I quickly sent a text to Hal as we arrived to tell him I thought this would be a good opportunity for him to do some video recording. He had no idea we were planning to have a little fun.
We always wait inside the ambulance for him to open the back door upon our arrival, so this will be perfect. Frank and Kathy also have a mutual friend with Hal (Nick) who is waiting on the tarmac as well.
So Jason, Frank and myself put on our mustaches and glasses as we pulled in. Just as we had planned as Hal was videoing he swung the ambulance door opened and was totally caught off guard. Everyone enjoyed laughing at the surprise. Frank even left his glasses on as Hal prayed over him.
Despite the long flight we enjoyed great conversation and laughter. I brought along some sandwich wraps and apples for us and some pudding and applesauce for Frank to eat. We switched seats around a time or two to allow Kathy to sit next to Frank so he could see her.
They both were able to sleep some during the flight and each time they did they held each other’s hand as they drifted off. Hal pointed out the Colorado Rockies and the Grand Canyon as we flew across and Frank enjoyed looking out over them.
At last, we have arrived in California and although Cedar Sinai was only about 18 miles from the airport, our drive is easily an hour during the rush hour traffic. ( Which I think must be all day long.)
We placed Frank into his bed and from his window in the far distance he has a view of the “HOLLYWOOD” sign on the side of the hill. Frank was a champ, never once complaining during his flight or the ambulance ride, keeping a positive attitude both he and Kathy.
He will begin several tests tomorrow in hopes of finding treatment.
3 JOHN 1:2
BELOVED, I PRAY THAT ALL MAY GO WELL WITH YOU AND THAT YOU MAY BE IN GOOD HEALTH, AS IT GOES WELL WITH YOUR SOUL.
I spoke with Kathy 3 days after leaving them in California and she said that Frank had 2 more tests to go through and then hopefully they would get some answers. He was a little discouraged, understandably so, but very thankful to be there. They really want to get back to their “workout” friends.
Please continue to keep them in your prayers.
Thank you to Hal and Jason for sharing this mission with me.
Shelli Engle RN
The non-profit Kathy works for is called “A Kid Again”. They help to make life for families caring for a child with a life threatening illness “normal” again by helping them gain back moments of positive family shared experiences and memories.