It’s 9 a.m. Thursday morning, and Marie Kettle is on the move.
She emerges swiftly from a pair of double doors, then quickly disappears behind them again, pausing briefly to explain that it will be just another minute before she’s able to sit down and talk about the next stage of her career.
Kettle didn’t expect to be busy Thursday morning, but this is the emergency room at The Memorial Hospital in Craig, where the unexpected and the urgent take precedence.
She’s used to that.
Kettle, a full-time ER nurse who her coworkers call “Momma Marie,” has worked in the ER for the majority of her 35-and-a-half-year career at TMH.
But, come Oct. 17, the frenzied pace will change.
On that day, she’ll start as a full-time nurse in the hospital’s new infusion clinic, where she’ll be able to administer a variety of medications, including those for chemotherapy and rheumatoid arthritis.
The position is a natural fit for Kettle, who has her oncology nursing certificate and has done infusions since the 1990s.
“I have totally enjoyed the emergency room,” Kettle says when she’s able to step away for a few minutes. But, she adds, she’s ready for something different.
A slower pace.
A more relaxed environment.
When caring for patients in the infusion clinic, “You’re concentrating on just them,” she said. “You don’t have to jump and run to go do something. You’re concentrating on that person, and it’s a more relaxed atmosphere all the way around.”
Perhaps most importantly, her change in position will allow her to spend more time caring for patients one-on-one.
After all, caring for people is the reason she’s been in health care for more than three decades.
Her job allows her to care for people who are injured or ill, see them improve and help them feel better, Kettle said.
In short, it’s “just being there to help people through their rough times,” she added.
Dora “Corky” Coverston, of Craig, was one such person.
Coverston comes from a family of survivors. Her daughter, Ronda, has had breast cancer for two years and her husband, Edward, had battled prostate cancer.
Thirteen years ago, Coverston discovered she had colon cancer.
She underwent chemotherapy at TMH under Kettle’s care.
And, although the worst may be over — Coverston’s cancer has since gone into remission — remembering Kettle’s care still brings tears to her eyes.
“You could not have asked for anybody more gentle and caring than she was,” she said. “It was almost like your best friend was standing beside you, holding your hand and going through this with you.”
Kettle said she tries to help patients continue to lead normal lives, which is important, she added, because patients who can preserve their routines and activities generally do better.
She knows this because she’s seen it in her patients with diseases like cancer.
“People will look at it as, ‘This is another chapter in my life, and I need to work around it and continue on,’” she said.
“You learn so much from these people with cancer,” she added, “because they’re dealing with the real world.”
After about 20 minutes, Kettle is on the go again.
Work in the ER is a “high adrenaline rush,” she said, and she’s ready to step into a slower pace of life.
But, even though retirement may be just a few years down the road, she’s not ready to stop nursing yet.
This line of work “gives me great joy,” she said.
Printed 10/10/2010 Craig Daily Press