A note of gratitude to nurses
An alert nurse's quick action saves the columnist's life and opens his eyes to his medical team's dedication and compassion
September 01, 2012|Steve Lopez
... Nurses quietly go about their work in a noble profession, uncelebrated soldiers toiling through the days and nights in service to the sick, the injured and the dying.
"It never fails to be inspiring," said Andrew Fabella, a registered nurse at Keck. He's the one who knew exactly what to do when my heart stopped, because he'd done it so often in a career that began in 1999. ...
... When I got transferred to ICU, I was getting a little grouchy for someone whose life had just been saved. A long knee recovery lay ahead, I was worried about the verdict on my heart, and I was experiencing the unique joy of trying to return to normal body function after the removal of a Foley catheter, about which I'll say no more.
"It'll be a little easier each time," said RN Liz Guillen, who was a constant comfort in telling me what to expect or translating doctor-speak. ...
In cardiology, RNs Anna Kim, Joshua Manikowski, Eugenia Chong and Carmen Cossio were all pros, but I spent the most time with RN Israel Gonzales. When I asked the 30-year-old if he had been a nurse very long, he said no, he'd gone to UC Riverside on a partial cross-country scholarship and left with an MBA. He and his dad started a Web company they still run.
Then what was he doing in a hospital, with "RN" on his name tag? ...
... Gonzales helped care for his dying grandmother several years ago, and when an aunt fought breast cancer, he learned that some of his relatives carry a gene mutation that has been linked to hereditary breast and ovarian cancer. He decided he wanted to be available to other relatives as they age, helping care for them as well as advise them on exercise and diet. He was also motivated by a report projecting a critical shortage of Latino nurses. ...
... You walk into a hospital a little nervous or scared, and perhaps feeling alone. Strangers take you in and offer good counsel and comfort, often under difficult circumstances.
To Gonzales, Guillen and Fabella-and to all the others-one word:
Thanks, Steve Lopez
Nurses Andrew Fabella, left, Israel Gonzales and Liz Guillen treated columnist... (Leslie Ridgeway )