Thank you to my great Air Force Family

MCCONNELL AIR FORCE BASE, Kan. -- On March 26, I made my way out of the weight room at the fitness center when my throat suddenly started to swell.

I had a sore throat that had been bothering me all week, bad but as I continued to walk away from the weight room, I stopped in the main basketball court to sit and catch my breath.

The pressure started getting worse.

I decided to go to the front desk to get help. By the time I made the decision, I felt light headed. I approached the desk and Senior Airman Matt Mugford, 22nd Force Support Squadron fitness journeyman, saw me right away. His training kicked in, and he didn't hesitate to call for an ambulance. I felt extremely grateful he did because my thoughts were getting really clouded and fuzzy.

I remembered the 22nd Security Forces Squadron showing up in what seemed like a blink of an eye and the 22nd Civil Engineer Squadron Fire Department soon after to start accessing my condition.

Although I was struggling to breathe, I remember how well the first responders took good care of me.

Soon, I was strapped to a gurney and was loaded into a back of an ambulance and transferred seven and a half miles away from McConnell Air Force Base to Wesley Medical Center, where they immediately began to try to figure out what was happening to me. The emergency room staff ordered tests and scans to find out what was happening.

The scans revealed swelling in my epiglottis, which is the flap that separates my wind pipe and food tube.

I spent the next few days in the ICU.

During my time in the ICU, my 22nd Maintenance Squadron commander, Maj. Dale Williquette, visited along with my flight commander, 2nd Lt. Christopher Moe, my flight chief, Senior Master Sgt. Thomas Opp, and the first sergeants, Master Sgts. Jamie Sparks and David Moore. 

My Air Force family really helped make my time in the ICU better because I felt down and in the gutter from being there.

In my ICU room, I felt surrounded by alarms and monitors. My blood pressure was taken every hour and I had to have my blood drawn multiple times. It was enough to make anyone feel bad and alone.

My leadership brought light and a true sense of family to my situation. Having them there, by my side, showed me how close our Air Force family is and that when something happens to me or my fellow Airmen, they are going to be there, ready to offer assistance and to have my back.

In addition to my squadron leadership visiting me, my wingmen, Airmen 1st Class Thomas Tangedal, Kirk Panich and Nicholas Tuipulotu, who took turns staying the night with me in the ICU so I wouldn't be alone. They shared my sleepless nights and kept me company.

I couldn't have been more blessed or humbled to be surrounded by my Wingmen and my Air Force Family while I was in the hospital. 

I am extremely grateful to everyone, from Mugford who reacted without hesitation, to the first responders who transferred me safely to the ER and to my Air Force family.

Everyone involved showed me how great my Air Force family is and where I would like to continue heading in my future years.