Kevin Zirbel
November 2017
CardioVascular Intensive Care Unit
Aurora St. Luke's Medical Center
United States




My father underwent an LVAD implantation and his course post-op was a little rocky with intubation and encephalopathy of unknown origin. Those days were hard for our family as we were uncertain if he would even wake-up. As the nurse in my family, this was especially hard as I knew that the outcome could go either way. Kevin was a rock for our family. When we were discouraged, he was hopeful. When my step-mom was clearly overwhelmed, he not only checked on her but had social work call her to see if there was anything that could be done to help. He truly cared for my dad like he would his own father. He sat with him when he was confused. He made sure he had music on (my dad’s favorite), told him jokes, had endless patience, and took care of us, his family. He never “shoved” us out or acted like we were a bother in any way. He had a smile and a warm welcome when he saw us. When my dad finally woke up, Kevin was there. He continued to encourage him to walk, to move, to breathe better and simply, that he could do it, he could get out of the ICU and make it home. It wasn’t that Kevin was simply “doing his job”, he was in this fight with us to help my dad. If we knew Kevin was on duty, we all felt better, had a sigh of relief, and encouraged that he was getting the best care possible. Simply put, without Kevin, my dad would not be here, doing as well as he did, and we as a family would have been exhausted and hopeless. He is a beacon of hope.