Commentary from the "Ventura County Star" in California.
A True Hero
During this time of honoring heroes, we nurses at Santa Paula Memorial Hospital wish to honor a fallen hero from among our ranks.
On Saturday morning, Nov. 24, Donna Popular died after working a 12-hour Friday night shift in the emergency room. She was a dedicated nurse who had made a difference in many lives; she was respected and loved.
For every one of us who has ever worked the night shift, we know how dangerous it can be to get home in one piece after working all night. Donna's car veered off the road that rainy morning and crashed into a tree. She never made it home.
I believe all nurses are heroes, but none more so than our dedicated night nurses. They sacrifice their own needs for the sake of others, often skipping meals and breaks to care for patients. They give up weekends and holidays, and are often awakened from a deep sleep by the phone and asked to come back to the hospital on their day off to assist their co-workers in desperate need of more helping hands.
The nurses I work with are courageous. They are willing to face the unknown every day. They encounter unspeakable pain and suffering in patients, yet find the strength to comfort the brokenhearted while controlling their own fears and emotions.
Nurses may not be running into burning buildings, but they run into rooms with bleeding patients, exposing themselves to incurable diseases. It takes a special person to handle the demands of nursing -- someone who is unafraid of blood and needles, able to think clearly and quickly in stressful situations, remains calm in a crisis, shows compassion without judgment, and is willing to put the needs of others above her own.
For those of us who knew and worked with Donna at Santa Paula Memorial Hospital, she died a hero. We will remember her as one.
A memorial service will be held for Donna Popular on Saturday, Dec. 8, at 11 a.m. at the United Methodist Church on Church Road in Ojai.
-- Ann Thompson, R.N., Ventura
A dedicated nurse
With so much talk about heroes in the news lately, I wanted to tell you about a local fallen hero.
A definition of hero is any person admired for his/her qualities or achievements and regarded as an ideal or model. Her name is Donna Popular. Donna tragically died on Nov. 24. She died in the line of duty. She was driving home from work and was involved in an auto accident and suffered catastrophic injuries from which she did not recover. She was working on Thanksgiving weekend, as she did so many holidays over the years.
Donna was a nurse. You will find nurses at work every hour of the day, every day of the week, and every week of the year, even holidays.
I've known Donna for more than 20 years, and knew her to be a person who dedicated her life to her two sons and to her work. She spent most of her working life at Ojai Valley Community Hospital, where she worked in obstetrics and the emergency room most of the time. She usually worked the night shift.
She was the nurse on duty at 2 a.m. when your baby had croup and you brought him to the emergency room. She was the nurse on duty at 3 a.m. when your wife went into labor, at 4 a.m. when your husband had chest pain, or at 5 a.m. when your mother had abdominal pain.
She was the night nurse always there to comfort you and help you handle your pain and fear with expertise and compassion.
She was outspoken and spoke passionately and honestly, straight from her heart. As I shared the news of her death with some of my co-workers, I was stricken by how close each one of them felt to her. She was not just a co-worker, she was a friend. She shared her life and her love with many of us.
I know that she touched thousands of lives of the citizens of the Ojai Valley. If you knew Donna, please stop her sons, Jim and Wade, if you see them, and tell them what she meant to you. I know they will find comfort in knowing how she touched your life.
Donna was my nurse during the birth of my second child 19 years ago at Ojai Hospital and she was my friend. I will miss her, but she will live on in my memory as a true hero.
-- Peggy Brown, Ojai