The trips not sanctioned by the pilot pool were more interesting than the ones that were. DH said the pilot pool flights were mostly from airport to airport and little else. The private charters went to lots of places and, more often than not, he got to do some sightseeing and maybe some shopping. One memorable trip was to Florida where he and F/J visited mango and avocado orchards. When I met him at the airport, he had me pop the trunk. He carried bag after bag of mangos and avocados to the car. My trunk smelled like wonderful mangos for months. I don’t know what variety they were but I’d love to get some more. The avocados didn’t ripen so they were a bust but the mangos made up for them.
F/J was his co-pilot on most of the private charters and that made me feel better. Not hearing from either one of them was unsettling but at least I knew DH wasn’t alone. My nerves were shot so I took my Sinequan faithfully. I didn’t like the way it made me feel—all drug out and dry mouthed. It kept me calmed down to the point of inertia. I never thought about the fact that it was probably crossing over into my breast milk. DD was still nursing. It didn’t seem to have an effect on her but who knows?
Days went by and I was back in the doctor’s office. He read me the riot act and told me that DH was unfit as a husband if he couldn’t stay in touch better than that. When DH got back, he wanted to meet with both of us and lay down some ground rules. I could only hope he’d get back. I was picturing him murdered in a ditch somewhere out in the jungle or something. Every time the phone rang, I jumped. The least thing startled me. I was so tense the muscles around my middle were sore. It was painful to take a deep breath so I didn’t.
Then the call came. It was F/J’s brother-in-law. He was on his way to Jamaica where DH was hospitalized. He was injured but none of the injuries were life-threatening. They’d crashed. F/J had pulled him from the burning wreckage. I’d find out more when they were able to get him back to the States.
Relief flooded over me. The picture wasn’t pretty but he was alive. I could deal with the known. It was the unknown that was about to make me completely lose it.
More days went by but I had updates on a regular basis. I didn’t like what was going on. Things seemed to stretch out far too long but DH’s condition had to be considered. Finally, I got word they were in Florida. DH was checked over thoroughly and pronounced stable enough to be transferred to a hospital in Colorado.
I got busy and made preparations to go stay with F/J’s sister and her family. I’d take DD and the boys. DS1 and 2 would have to miss some school but we wouldn’t be gone forever. It was a six hour trip and I had to do all the driving. My adrenaline was pumping and six hours wasn’t anything to what I’d been through.
Finally, I got word that the three men were on their way to Colorado. My patience was wearing thin. I wanted DH where I could see him and touch him.
An ambulance met the plane and took DH to the hospital. It was already past visiting hours when he was admitted and I was advised to wait until the next day to see him. I swallowed my disappointment and was getting ready for bed when F/J and his BIL came in the door. They were the next best thing and I broke down and cried. I’d been doing a lot of that lately, anyway.
They took me to the kitchen and sat me down to tell me what had happened. After the passengers had been dropped off, they were taxiing down the grass strip to take off. I don’t know if they were supposed to go back and pick them up later but, for some reason, the locals either didn’t like the fact they were invading their space or wanted to ambush them. They started blocking the runway with barrels and whatever else they could find to keep them from taking off. DH throttled it wide open and took off but it wasn’t enough. The plane stalled and crashed before it could get airborne. It was a matter of seconds before the cockpit was engulfed in flames. F/J pulled DH from the plane and carried him to safety. The locals were nowhere to be seen. They probably didn’t want to be implicated in causing the crash and had disappeared.
DH was considerably taller than F/J but F/J was an athlete and strong. He carried DH down the beach to a house. He knocked on the door but there was no answer. DH couldn’t navigate on his own and he couldn’t carry him indefinitely. There were no other houses around that he could see so he did something he would have never considered under better circumstances. He broke into the house and got DH inside. He started assessing DH’s injuries. One front tooth was broken at the gum line and the other was knocked out. There were burns on his face, forearms and thighs. The thighs were the worst. He had been wearing his polyester dress pants and they had melted on his skin. His eyebrows, eyelashes and a lot of his hair was singed off but that would grow back. One of his legs hung useless. Was it broken?
After he got DH situated on the couch and he was comfortable as possible, he started looking around. The house was probably a vacation home. The water was turned off and there was no power. He did find some snack crackers and candy bars in the kitchen so they wouldn’t starve. Water was the problem but he was resourceful and found clean water in the back of the commode. He’d eventually have to go for help but he needed to rest some first.
The next morning, he left DH at the house after feeding him some crackers and commode water. Hiking down the beach, he found a house that was occupied and it even had a phone. Ambulances were scarce so he called for an a taxi to come get DH. The hospital he was taken to was a Third World hospital and that was about all he said about it. Anything else I learned, I’d have to find out from DH. I had the gist of it. Enough was enough.
I didn’t want to hear any more that night. Exhaustion had taken over and I was shaking uncontrollably. I wanted to go to bed. I had to go to bed. Next morning, I was going to see my husband.