MARENGO – Because of Diane Oranger, Patty Turbak was able to spend time with her father during his last days.
On an evening in July, Turbak was with her father, Edward Koester, when she noticed his difficulty breathing.
“My dad liked to watch ‘Law & Order’ in his recliner and I was pretending to watch the program with him,” Turbak said. “All the while, I’m just watching him struggle to catch his breath.”
Turbak began texting her nurse friends, including Oranger, who works at Centegra Hospital – Huntley. All of them responded similarly: take your father to the emergency room.
“Diane responded with that, but then she asked the magic words: Do you want me to come out?” Turbak said.
So Oranger drove to Koester’s house, checking her father’s swollen ankles and listening to his heart and lungs. She joked about bringing her good stethoscope for him.
“She still had her playful side,” Turbak said. “I think that’s the sign of a fabulous nurse. If I have to have a nurse, that’s the kind I want.”
Koester resisted a trip to the hospital when it came from his wife and kids, but when the suggestion came from Oranger, he responded differently.
He went to the emergency room, and Oranger went with him.
Seeing Oranger in that role was a change for Turbak, who, before that, knew Oranger on a different level – a friend first.
“I hadn’t seen her in that element,” Turbak said. “She was so kind and so sweet and so gentle, and she just calmed him down.”
Although the diagnosis was not good – cancer had spread to her father’s lungs – Turbak said that Oranger’s actions helped ensure that the time he had left was spent with the people he loved.
Turbak’s mother lost her husband of 52 years; she and her siblings lost their father. They were all very sad, but Oranger was able to be a ray of light, Turbak said.
“We had those extra days to shower him with love and attention, to pray with and for him, [and] to be present at a time of bad news,” she said.
Michelle Raffin, Oranger’s manager at Centegra, said Oranger is an advocate for her patients, even when they are unable to advocate for themselves.
“She has a great passion for [nursing] and is very dedicated to her patients and their outcomes,” Raffin said.