A Patient With Cancer’s Angel on Earth

Extraordinary Healer®, Extraordinary Healer® Vol. 15, Volume 15,

After undergoing surgery for brain tumors, a patient details how her nurse helped her recovery even while having the coronavirus.

Ron Zapata, RN, was amazing. I was in the neuro ICU at Georgetown University Hospital in Washington, D.C. on October 25 and 26 after emergency surgery for five brain tumors. He was my nurse (with 12-hour shifts) on at least four occasions during my 12-day stay. He was instrumental in my recovery from surgery.

He knew it was important that I get up and around with my walker and made sure I did so. He knew I was uncomfortable using the bedpan and commode chair and made sure I could get to the rest room with proper assistance. He was right and it made a huge difference. He always made sure the nurse who followed him knew exactly what my status was and what I might need.

During my stay, I had COVID-19, but he was never afraid to be near me. Even though my neurosurgeon would not speak to me in person, Ron never hesitated. He was a wealth of knowledge regarding my situation for myself and my husband. He answered all of our questions. He put us both at ease during a difficult time. One of the other nurses remarked that I was lucky to have him, and he had trained all the nurses in the neuro ICU. Ron Zapata is truly an angel, and I hope to never see him in his professional capacity again, though if I must, I can't think of a better person to care for me.

Editor’s Note: This is an essay submitted by Traci Renner for the 2021 Extraordinary Healer Award. Click here to read more about CURE®’s Extraordinary Healer® Award for Oncology Nursing event on April 30, 2021.

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