Addison’s first “Top Gun” moment came yesterday afternoon, and she promptly burst into a loud wail. The pilots from Executive Air Ambulance who flew down to some undisclosed location in the US to pick up Addison’s new heart have wanted to meet her and we wanted to personally thank them.
Pilots Stew Vogler and Tiago Moniz transport organs several times a year, on top of flying around the world to pick up sick patients from BC and bring them home. Imagine the dinner table conversation…”How was work honey? Oh, today was a quick trip to England. Tomorrow we are going to Hong Kong.” But they have never actually met any organ recipients, until Addison.
Maybe it was the heat and all the strange new faces, or maybe she was intimidated by the snazzy pilot uniforms, but the little princess was not too impressed when we introduced her to everyone. There were plenty of crocodile tears and sad cries. However, she did seem to really enjoy an inside look at the “Green Hornet”, the Lear 36 affectionately nicknamed by the staff. The lean, green flying machine was actually Imelda Marcos’ plane in its previous life – imagine how many shoes you could fit inside? Maybe that’s what Addison was thinking as she intently looked around.
Stew and Tiago say it was a very smooth flight with no issues. Aaron and I both told them how we were just on the edge of our seats that night, getting the hourly updates from the ICU staff – “wheels up at the South Terminal”, “the plane has landed at its location”, “Dr. Gandhi is back on board with the heart and they are getting ready to take off back to YVR”. It gives me the shivers just to relive that long night.
This is also the plane that would have transported Addison to Edmonton if Dr. Gandhi had not been able to do the surgery in Vancouver. Matt Cochlin, medical operations manager at Executive Air Ambulance and also one of the Infant Transport Team paramedics we met at BCCH, has flown four patients on ECMO (the heart-lung life support machine). Surely a nail-biting experience for everyone involved. Have you seen how much medical equipment was hooked up to Addison? It took more than half a dozen nurses and doctors to wheel her down the hall for surgery. We are so grateful Addison didn’t have to go that route and was able to stay in Vancouver.
Addison has also had lots of exposure to Mommy and Daddy’s jobs this week. Her story is going to be featured on the News Hour the first week of September. Global BC cameraman Sergio Magro and reporter Tanya Beja have been hard at work putting the story together. I think Addison is a natural already!
Elaine, Aaron and Addison