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TODAY news for Thursday, May 25, 2006

Loma Linda University Medical Center East Campus news

Caring nurse helps patient, wife celebrate mother’s day

Denise Driver
Denise Driver, RN, is a nurse in the intensive care unit at Loma Linda University Medical Center East Campus. Ms. Driver helped make Mother’s Day special for a family at East Campus.
A dozen red roses and a card—tens of thousands of women may have received a similar gift on mother’s day this year. But for none was it more special than for Ana.

Ten years ago, Ana’s husband, Luis, was diagnosed with ALS—Lou Gehrig’s disease. Ana has been his primary caregiver as the illness progressed. As mother’s day approached, he was in the intensive care unit at Loma Linda University Medical Center’s East Campus Hospital, with Ana paying him daily visits.

Denise Driver, RN, a registered nurse in the intensive care unit, not only cared for Luis, but learned to communicate with him through an alphabet board, blinks, and raised eyebrows.

She knew Luis’ love for his wife and their children, so as mother’s day grew near, she got an idea. “Would you like to get your wife something?” she asked. Up went the eyebrows, indicating “Yes! Yes!” “And a card?” she asked. “Yes,” he indicated again.

During her lunch break, Denise dashed to the floral department at the nearby Stater Bros. supermarket. She settled on a traditional bouquet, reasoning that “you can never go wrong with ‘I love you’ red roses.” She found a card with a rose and a message from husband to wife for Mother’s Day.

Back in the ICU, Denise read the card to Luis. “Now you have to sign it,” she told him and helped guide the pen with his hand. She placed the card and bouquet immediately outside the entrance to the room (flowers are not allowed inside), where Ana found them when she came for her next visit. 

“Luis told me to get you a card and flowers for mother’s day,” Denise told Ana. “He paid me with so many smiles!”

Denise has been a nurse at East Campus for five and a half years. “I love the East Campus,” she says. “Most everyone here knows each other on a first-name basis. We’re like a family here.”

    By Marilyn Thomsen  

TODAY news for Thursday, May 25, 2006