Heroic: Saving Lives with Compassion and Courage

A Filipino American Story as told by Nurse Menchu R. De Luna. Read her full story below:“When I was nine, I began dreaming of life abroad so I could change the fate of our family. I used to watch my mother lay out pails to collect the water that leaked through our roof every time it rained.After I earned my nursing degree, I moved to Saudi Arabia where I worked for 10 years. It was difficult to be separated from my family and from everything I knew; I cried every night during my first month there! But I liked my work and remembered why I was there. In time, I was able to have a house built for my mom, pay for my brothers’ college education, and send Balikbayan boxes home filled with all sorts of things.When I moved to New York, I worked three hospitals at the same time. Although it meant taking shifts day and night, even more, I always looked forward to coming to work. During one of my shifts, I even met Mother Teresa and received her blessing!Every move we make as nurses is about saving lives. Even the simple act of putting an IV in a very sick patient is lifesaving. During the night of Hurricane Sandy, we had to save the lives of 20 babies that were in critical care. We had no electricity, and we couldn’t just move them out in a crib or bassinet. No one knew what to do. Then I thought that our only choice was to carry the babies in our arms one at a time, make sure the tubes stayed in place (if the tube comes out, the child could die!), walk down from the ninth floor to the ambulance waiting downstairs, and transport each baby to another hospital. The administration accepted my suggestion, and we got to work. It took a team of nurses and doctors to get each baby to safety. All I could think of was saving the babies as we worked against the darkness of the hospital corridors while we headed out and the strong winds outside as we came back for the next babies. Thankfully, we were able to transfer all of them to another hospital safely!Our experience during Hurricane Sandy led me to events I never imagined as a young girl studying by candlelight. Besides going on interviews and receiving awards, I got to attend the State of the Union Address as the guest of First Lady Michelle Obama and was commended by the President in his speech! I’m just a common person, not a rich or powerful one. All I ever wanted was to be able to care for my family and my patients. But if there’s one thing my work has taught me, it’s how life is very short. Every minute is important.”About: Filipino American Disruptors is a month-long storytelling initiative powered by NextDayBetter x AARP AAPI Communityommunity celebrating the stories of Filipino Americans in a range of disciplines from community activism to tech entrepreneurship. These forward-thinking individuals are trendsetters, trailblazers, and problem-solvers in their respective fields, helping to push America and the Filipino American community forward through their leadership, creativity, and innovation.

Posted by NextDayBetter on Wednesday, October 4, 2017

Heroic: Saving Lives with Courage and Compassion

A Filipino American Story as told by Nurse Menchu R. De Luna

“When I was nine, I began dreaming of life abroad so I could change the fate of our family. I used to watch my mother lay out pails to collect the water that leaked through our roof every time it rained.

After I earned my nursing degree, I moved to Saudi Arabia where I worked for 10 years. It was difficult to be separated from my family and from everything I knew; I cried every night during my first month there! But I liked my work and remembered why I was there. In time, I was able to have a house built for my mom, pay for my brothers’ college education, and send Balikbayan boxes home filled with all sorts of things.

When I moved to New York, I worked three hospitals at the same time. Although it meant taking shifts day and night, even more, I always looked forward to coming to work. During one of my shifts, I even met Mother Teresa and received her blessing!

Every move we make as nurses is about saving lives. Even the simple act of putting an IV in a very sick patient is lifesaving. During the night of Hurricane Sandy, we had to save the lives of 20 babies that were in critical care. We had no electricity, and we couldn’t just move them out in a crib or bassinet. No one knew what to do. Then I thought that our only choice was to carry the babies in our arms one at a time, make sure the tubes stayed in place (if the tube comes out, the child could die!), walk down from the ninth floor to the ambulance waiting downstairs, and transport each baby to another hospital. The administration accepted my suggestion, and we got to work. It took a team of nurses and doctors to get each baby to safety. All I could think of was saving the babies as we worked against the darkness of the hospital corridors while we headed out and the strong winds outside as we came back for the next babies. Thankfully, we were able to transfer all of them to another hospital safely!

Our experience during Hurricane Sandy led me to events I never imagined as a young girl studying by candlelight. Besides going on interviews and receiving awards, I got to attend the State of the Union Address as the guest of First Lady Michelle Obama and was commended by the President in his speech! I’m just a common person, not a rich or powerful one. All I ever wanted was to be able to care for my family and my patients. But if there’s one thing my work has taught me, it’s how life is very short. Every minute is important.”

About:
Filipino American Disruptors is a month-long storytelling initiative powered by NextDayBetter x AARP AAPI Communityommunity celebrating the stories of Filipino Americans in a range of disciplines from community activism to tech entrepreneurship. These forward-thinking individuals are trendsetters, trailblazers, and problem-solvers in their respective fields, helping to push America and the Filipino American community forward through their leadership, creativity, and innovation.

NextDayBetter Storyteller: Candice Quimpo