Thursday, March 19, 2009

Frontiers

If I just wrote N8201H Mooney 20J that would about sum up my life in the last few weeks. Unfortunately I dont have any pictures to post. The Mooney and I have been buddies for a lot of hours in the last month.

Sunday and Monday this week (March 14 & 15) Jeremy and I worked on the Mooney and stayed at the school in Guayara. It had been 80 hours since oil change and we didnt have any oil but I decided to do everything except actually change the oil. We cleaned plugs, timed the mags, topped the battery with distilled water, topped off the brake reservoir, lubricated controls, dressed the prop, replaced a hose clamp and washed the airplane throughly. Monday morning Jeremy took the bus to Rurrenabaque and I was left on my own giving the Mooney TLC. Monday evening I recieved news of a 12 year old boy who had complications from an intestinal surgery and the surgeon has gone home to Santa Cruz. The parents came and explained the situation to Chichito and we agreed to evacuate the boy and his mother the next morning. I stayed the night at the hangar to be ready for an early departure. The boy should up in a taxi, not an ambulance and for a minute I thought we had made a mistake. When I saw him I changed my mind. He looked more than half dead. I wish I had pictures but maybe your imagination will do....I could have easily put a thumb and finger around his forearms because he was so skinny. His mother said he hadnt eaten anything in a week but I am sure he wasnt eating well before either. His mouth was hanging open all the time and had blood in it. His face was so swollen that he could barely open his eyes at all. We got him in the airplane and headed for Santa Cruz. I kept looking back to see if he was breathing. The hospital didnt even send a nurse on the flight. When we arrived George and Steve met me at the airport with a car and bundled him off to the hospital but not before giving me another assignment and some apples for lunch. One of the AirBP workers at the airport had a sister with Hemoraghic Dengue and was asking us to pick her up if he payed for the gas. I fueled up and headed south again. Guayaramerin to Santa Cruz is almost 500 statute miles, my new destination was about 285 miles further south on the frontier with Argentina. I was excited about the flight because I got the chance to fly over the foothills of the Andes which parralleled my course. When I reached my destination the ambulance was waiting and I was back in the air in less than 20 minutes. At first the weather looked terrible but I prayed and choose to deviate around the worst of it and abandon my IFR route in favor of a lower altitude and a course farther east away from the mountains. After we got past the first major system the weather became progressively better until we were slipping along under clear skies in smooth air. There were storms in the mountains and as the sun got low it lit up the curtains of rain and turned them from silver to gold. It was by far the most beautiful flight I have made in a while and I spent a lot of time looking out the pilot´s window towards the mountains. The other option was to see my patient vomiting blood into a bag. I think she will be alright with proper care. The next day I saw her brother at the gas pumps and he said she was doing ok. Thank God for the Mooney, otherwise seeing both frontiers in one day would be nearly impossible. I was able to tell the patients brother that I burned 32.5 gallons of gas over the round trip of 575 miles. He was more than happy to pay for the gas.

1 comment:

Alex said...

Thank you for keeping us posted - I know from experience it can be hard to write once everything seems "normal" to you but it isn't for the rest of us.