Friday, October 14, 2011

what goes up...doesn't always come down

A couple of weeks ago, I (Jamie) had a flight where I was taking vegetables to a commercial customer and then picking up a retired translator who had been visiting and showing the Jesus film to the people with whom she had worked.

A Cessna 206 plane--the kind that Jamie flies

That morning as I got the airplane loaded, a friend of the lady mentioned that my passenger had been sick and in the hospital. I didn’t think a lot about it because I was busy and we are usually told if we need additional equipment like stretchers for the flight.

approaching the island airstrip

When I got to the airport 2 hours away, I discovered my passenger had been brought to the airport in an ambulance and was on an IV. I went and talked to her and she sat up and talked to me. I asked if she could sit up and travel and the medical staff said that she could. They also said that the IV could be removed. So in consultation with aviation personnel at Ukarumpa, who were in contact with medical staff at our clinic, I decided to take her to Ukarumpa.

We started on our way, but we needed to get fuel at another location before heading to Ukarumpa. After the 36 minute flight to get to the fuel location, my passenger was barely able to speak and had gone into shock.

There was a small medical post at that location, and a nurse helped as we got her out of the airplane and laid her on the ground with feet elevated.

After more consultation with aviation personnel at home base who were communicating regularly with our clinic medical staff, we felt that time was of the essence and that we needed to fly the last leg of the journey, 1 hour 50 minutes to Ukarumpa, as quickly as possible. Apparently, she had more significant health issues than the malaria or dysentery I had assumed she had when I picked her up. I felt the hospital she had just come from would likely not be equipped to deal with her condition. I also realized that we needed to keep her lying down. So I moved the seat around and had her lie down in the airplane. The nurse was willing to accompany us, so I had her sit next to my passenger/patient. When I would look at the lady, she would look up at me and smile. She was pretty stable for about 1 hour and 20 minutes. Then I had to start working around some bad weather and her condition worsened quickly at about the same time. Just after getting through the worst of the weather, and with about 20 minutes to go, she died.

Medical staff were waiting on the ground when we landed and they immediately checked her as well, but nothing could be done.

Shortly after she had died, I was struck by the frailty of human life. I mean this person had just passed into eternity and her life on this earth was finished.

Praise God that she knew Christ as her personal Savior and is now in His presence for all eternity. Oh, that all would repent of their sins, trust Christ, and have this same hope.


Jeana said...

Wow, what an incredible difficult and beautiful experience to be part of. Reading this puts the song "I'll Fly Away" in my head. So thankful that she is with Jesus and that Jesus is with you.

joyce said...

Lisa & Jamie! It is so good to hear that my friend Jamie was the pilot who flew this amazing woman that day. I was so inspired when I heard of her passing: that she went back to PNG, that she died doing exactly what she loved. I met her once... while she was a recruiter, and I was interested to be recruited.... Would it be okay if I share this post?