Angeline "Ruby" Marquez

Ruby Marquez

Angeline "Ruby" Marquez, RN, MS

Medical/Surgical Unit
Southern Arizona VA Health Care System
Tucson, Arizona
United States
Ruby softened his resistance to having help, helping him see how he'd tolerate and talk with health care workers despite the lack of privacy in his home.

My wonderful 95-year-old uncle was transferred to 3East from the ICU with severe intestinal bleeding. He had a rocky night after the transfer because of confusion over his meds, and had slept very poorly so was pretty cranky. 

In 1942, Uncle held his Liberator bomb bay doors closed after they froze open during a bombing run so the drag wouldn't bring them down before returning to England.  Even given disability for his severe frostbite and being told he shouldn't return to the front, he did.  He watched his plane go into the English Channel five missions later while freeing a fellow crewman, who were both then captured by the Germans.  After substantial beatings and interrogation, he served nearly 19 months in Stalag Luft 1 before liberation. Despite all that, he's still totally cogent mentally.  He's still reading the Wall Street Journal, managing his own affairs, able to debate complex topics and flirt with the best of them.  But his knees are shot; he's fought prostate and skin cancer for years, and this bout of GI bleeding nearly knocked him out. He's one of the kindest, sweetest and warmest people I've ever known.

When I arrived the next morning, Ruby had already taken him under her wing with kindness and gentle questions.  While in the hall and his room, she quietly asked what help he had at home; she had heard his increasing fear that he would have to move if he couldn't manage at home by himself.  Realizing he had none and that I had come to Tucson on an emergency basis only, she drew out from both of us his need for staying at home.  She helped us shape questions first for his doctor; then for the social worker; and for the physical therapist (she put in multiple requests and calls for both of the latter to visit, and helped us understand why he needed to have those meetings before he left).   She raised our hopes, his spirits, and our confidence that he could recover from his hospital stay.  She softened his resistance to having help, helping him see how he'd tolerate and talk with health care workers despite the lack of privacy in his home.

When he left, he wanted to go home in my rental convertible with the top down.  We knew we could get him in, just didn't know if we could get him out.  Ruby and another staffer on break brought him down, got him settled in the car. We found temporary home health care until the VA appointments started this week for service evaluation.  We're hopeful he'll have the help he needs to continue living at home as long as possible because Tinkerbell, his cat, and his lovely 89-year-old girlfriend will kill me if they're separated from him. 

Ruby's visionary help, with the support of other kind 3East staff, meant everything to us for the start of Uncle’s home recovery.  Thank you so much for your compassionate care Ruby.