Here you go--
Snowmobile-riding nurse saves the day
By JENNY KOPACESKI
MUNCIE - A childhood hobby helped Shari Dayton get the job done.
Dayton, a registered nurse for 1st Call Home Health and Hospice in Southway Centre, fondly remembered her younger days of traveling around rural Dunkirk by snowmobile with her family.
"I've been riding on snowmobiles basically since I could walk," she said with a smile. "That was the winter pastime; we used to see who could come up with the most creative things to tie to the snowmobile."
She never imagined that her extracurricular activity would, years later, come to her aid when the weather posed challenges for her duties as a visiting nurse.
On Feb. 17, staff members at 1st Call - which has seven offices and serves 16 counties - were puzzled as to how they could transport a nurse to a client who lived in Randolph County, which had been hard hit by a winter storm. The client needed an IV change and some blood drawn.
In cases of bad weather, nurses usually travel to homes in sport utility vehicles, said Karen Wells, director of Clinical Services for 1st Call. In other instances, nurses will talk a patient through the IV change process over the phone.
"[That] Monday we didn't have an option," Wells said. "The client's sight was impaired, and the only family member there also had vision problems."
Wells contacted Deborah Wright of CHS Human Resources, whose brother-in-law, Lon Wright, is a snowmobile owner and enthusiast. He quickly agreed to provide nurse Dayton with access to a snowmobile.
"He didn't understand the importance of what he was doing, just that he was helping," Deborah Wright said. "It was meaningful and important to the patients and Karen, and that's all he knew."
Dayton and Lon Wright were able to get within 3 miles of the Randolph County patient's home in more traditional vehicles, then made the remaining 10-minute trip on Wright's snowmobiles.
Although the staff at 1st Call suggested she take her nursing bag, Dayton knew to carry her supplies in baggies.
"We used to tote all kinds of stuff ," she said of her early riding days. "Even groceries."
Only minutes behind schedule, the duo arrived at the home with no problems.
"When we walked in, her IV had just started beeping," Dayton said. "We were right on time."
Back at 1st Call, staff members praised the nurse who saved the day.
"We had no doubt she'd be willing to do it," Wells said. "She puts the patients first."