Airplane Memories: C-130 Medi-Vac Saved My Son's Hand

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Airplane Memories: C-130 Medi-Vac Saved My Son's Hand

C-130 flying in Afghanistan with mountains in the background

Airplane Memories: C-130 Medi-Vac Saved My Son's Hand

Airplane Memories: C-130 Medi-Vac Saved My Son's Hand

By Kathy Manney

We raised our two children internationally, making homes in Taiwan and the Philippines as well as throughout the United States. For a few years our family lived in Taichung, Taiwan. My husband, a U.S. Air Force crew chief, was often away from home on missions. Such was the case when I experienced my most worrisome and memorable air plane ride.

One warm sunny afternoon I went bicycling in the countryside and didn't arrive home before my two children got home from school. As I pulled into our housing area I was met by a group of excited neighbor children who told me my son had fallen on a piece of glass and a neighbor had taken him to the military base hospital.

Upon arrival at the hospital, I learned that the situation was serious, the small hospital was not equipped to handle the reconstructive surgery my son was going to need, and they were preparing to medi-vac him to the larger, better equipped U.S. Navy Hospital in Taipei.

The C-130 aircraft is heavy and ponderous as a whale in flight. During armed forces operations, the planes are usually filled with military cargo, U.S. government property such as rifles, parachutes, jeeps and ammunition. The C-130 can also serve as an in-flight ambulance. Numb with shock, I rode in a jump seat with the gurney in the plane's aisle. On the flight my son was hooked up to IV's. A medical escort doctor and I were the only "cargo."

It was dusk when we landed in Taipei. The C-130's wide rear cargo hatch was lowered for unloading the gurney, standing nearby was my husband whose returning plane had been diverted into Taipei. Numbed the scene will always seem surreal.

A ground ambulance was waiting on the tarmac to take us to Taipei's U.S. Navy hospital, where orthopedic surgeons were standing by to rush our son into surgery. My husband and I rode together to the hospital inside the ambulance with our son,

Once at the hospital surgeons were ready at the emergency entrance door to meet us. Our son was immediately admitted and prepared for surgery. When the surgeons saw his injury, they knew that our son needed extensive repair work, without it, he would lose use of his hand.

Our son's small cut, no more than an inch in length, on the wrist had severed arteries as well as both his tendons and nerves down to the bone, if infection were to set-in there was a good chance he would lose his hand, the surgery last five hours.

When he came out of surgery, our son's great swathed paw was white, enormous in bandages. His arm rested on a pillow. I felt a sense of unreality as I looked on. Our son remained in the hospital in Taipei, two weeks and during some of that time I returned home down island.

The day he was released, I flew back up to Taipei aboard a Taiwanese military plane which was making a scheduled military training flight to Taiwan's capitol city. Our son and I flew back home to Taichung on this same Taiwanese military plane later that same afternoon.

My son was a bright-eyed, dark-hair kid with a constellation of freckles and an interest in science, Lego and Matchbox cars. With excellent medical treatment and extensive physical therapy, he recovered 90% usage of his hand and fingers. All thanks to a medi-vac flight and an excellent surgical team. When we have a child who is terribly ill, there can never be enough love, enough encouragement.


Kathy Manney is the nationally recognized author of autobiographical, lifestyle and travel articles and the travel columnist for "The Vegas Voice," a monthly regional senior lifestyle newspaper.

As the travel expert-at-large for the "Voice" Kathy has seen a lot of the world, she enjoys traveling to new and interesting places and in the process of becoming an adventure Diva, finds some of her articles. Kathy's "must see before I die" travel adventures continue, each filled with enthusiasm.

Kathy is open to freelance work in the fields of non-fiction writing and editing.

Article Source: https://EzineArticles.com/expert/Kathy_Manney/917253


Kathy Manney

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