Ever since she was a little girl, Robin King longed to be a nurse. Her dream grew out of a nightmarish situation.
When she was 10 years old, Robin was hit by a city bus driver who was trying to pass a car on an icy road she was walking along on her way to school. The force of the impact threw her onto a fence post, where her left leg was caught and almost completely severed. She was rushed to Community Hospital East, where surgeons performed a radical limb salvage vascular procedure to avoid amputation. She was one of the first people in Indiana to receive this surgery, which landed her an interview with David Letterman when he was a weathercaster and anchor in the early days of WTHR.
“I remember laughing a lot because they put makeup on me before the interview, and Dave made some jokes about me being a little pro,” Robin said. “After I was on TV, I received over 5,000 get well cards. When I finally came home, my parents put my bed in the living room and we completely covered one wall with cards.”
Robin spent five months recovering in one of Community Hospital East’s private rooms.
“My nurses were angels to me,” Robin said. “I loved them so much. One of them would come into my room every night and tell me stories about her grandkids.”
Robin also recalls her nurses letting her stay up late to watch Sammy Terry, the famous Hoosier host of a horror variety show. And when she wanted to get out of her room for a while, they would roll her around on a stretcher to visit other children in the hospital — her first chance to practice her bedside manner.
“I was trying to be a nurse when I was just a little girl!” Robin said.
Robin’s long road to recovery led her to pursue a career in nursing. She graduated from the Ivy Tech School of Nursing in 1991 and then passed the state exam to become a licensed practical nurse. After a wide variety of experiences working in long-term care, Robin joined the CarDon family as Hamilton Trace’s staff development coordinator, and she now works in the MDS (Minimum Data Set) office, where she interviews residents about their medical history.
“I enjoy hearing their personal stories,” Robin said. “And I share my story to let them know I understand what they are going through.”
In addition to her experiences as a child, Robin’s empathy and compassion comes from a health crisis she faced during her time at CarDon.
Due to a condition called diverticulitis, she developed a perforated bowel and went into septic shock. This led to four surgeries over the course of two years.
“I missed seven months of work during that time, but my job was always waiting for me after every surgery, which I greatly appreciated,” Robin said. “When I came back to work, I had a wound vac that I wore over my shoulder. The staff went out of their way to help me as I cared for the residents. And I was really touched by the outpouring of concern from the corporate staff members who came to the facility.”
Robin is grateful to be living her dream and leaving people with the same sense of comfort nurses gave her when she was a little girl longing to help others like her.