Pictured: Dale Schwerdtfeger with his wife, Toshi, at a small rural airstrip up the road from his Belize farm
Global Rescue member Dale Schwerdtfeger spends his retirement traveling between his home in Minneapolis and his farm in a remote corner of Belize. With over 100 acres of farm to cover and no connection to the power grid, Dale depends on solar power and generators to keep his lights on. “It was pretty primitive at first. My wife and I did laundry in the river for 10 years,” said Dale.
One day, while pull-starting his generator, the cable snapped, spinning Dale around violently. “I already had some slightly herniated disks there and I think it just squished them right out and mashed the sciatic nerve,” Dale said.
Dale waited for two days before visiting the doctor. In tremendous pain, Dale received a steroid shot and some painkillers, yet with little relief. “At that point, I was up in the middle of the night in a great deal of pain. I decided I would call Global Rescue.”
Global Rescue dispatched a remote ambulance to Dale’s farm to transport him to the capital, Belize City, for treatment. Simultaneously, a Global Rescue deployed a critical care paramedic to Belize to oversee Dale’s care.
Morning view from Dale's veranda in Belize, where he enjoys the day's first cup of coffee
“Just about the time they got me to the emergency room, Global Rescue’s paramedic arrived,” said Dale. “He just took over everything, made all the arrangements, and really moved things along,” he said.
As Global Rescue made transport arrangements for Dale’s return to the U.S. for surgery, he received a series of steroid shots and painkillers at the hospital.
With his damaged spine, Dale’s only comfortable position was to stand. “[Global Rescue] got us on to a plane in first class and in the front row in the aisle. That way, as soon as the sign went off, I could stand up. I stood the whole flight to Houston and then stood for the flight to Minneapolis,” said Dale. “Global Rescue’s medic came along with us all the way right to the door.”
Since returning to the U.S., Dale has made a full recovery and hopes to make it back to Belize soon. “Part of my deal there in Belize is that I’m a singer-songwriter. I’ve got a gig on New Year’s Eve,” said Dale. “It’s not good for your reputation to cancel.”
Dale and Toshi in Minnesota during his recovery prior to returning to Belize
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