I have been with VNA Health since April 2012 and have to come to love Hospice Nursing. I feel this way because of all of the heartfelt experiences in which I have been involved. Though there are too many to mention here, I remember some that stick out in my memory vividly.
Six years ago, Serenity House opened its doors on a cliff overlooking Santa Barbara to patients and families in need of a comfortable home at end of life. Since then, Serenity House has helped hundreds of individuals, regardless of age, background or socio-economic status, find peace and dignity during a time of life that is frightening and unknown. One such patient was Benjamin Aguirre, whose devoted mother, Juanita Ortiz, reflects often on their wonderful experience during a tragic health crisis.
After a 14-year battle with cancer, longtime Santa Barbara resident and sailing enthusiast Wann Rawles found safe harbor at VNA Health’s Serenity House. Wann spent his final days with family and loved ones in peace and comfort. For almost 3 months, Serenity House was home to not only Wann, but his beloved wife Judy, and their children and grandchildren.
A Journey of Love between Mary Lou and David Sparer began 13 years ago when they met at a Friday night swing dance. “I had a one in a million true love at first sight. We went out on our first date the very next night, and I knew I had gone out on my very last first date,” exclaimed David. Two years later, Mary Lou and David were married and began a beautiful chapter of life together filled with travel, dancing, and devotion for one another.
A VNA Health Wonder Woman. Socorro Rosales’ load might be larger than others, but she represents the juggling act that all mothers must master so they can be there for those who need them most. Socorro weaves care, compassion, and selflessness into all of her responsibilities and activities of each day.
What does independence mean to you? Barbara Minzter is a fireball of a woman, even up to the blaze of her reddish-brown hair. She exudes an emphatic zest for life. Hers has been a journey of fierce independence and new beginnings. She has spent her working life embracing the challenges of achieving many firsts – the first woman Fuller Brush man in San Jose, California; one of the first women to sell wholesale pharmaceuticals for a major drug company; and among one of the first women professional motivational speakers in the United States.
Barbara Gray Upton is one of Santa Barbara’s longest standing residents, and at 96 years old she’s lived most of her life in this beautiful city. She may also be one of the few locals who remember receiving medical care at the “little red house on Haley Street.” That house was the original headquarters of the Visiting Nurse Association of Santa Barbara (commonly called VNA), now known as VNA Health and celebrating its 110th anniversary of serving Santa Barbara County.
As we celebrate Independence Day, we thought you might want to hear this memorable story... On a sunny afternoon, Tom and Libby peacefully danced in their own little world to The Temptations, slowly moving to the beat around the living room, as they often do. They swayed amongst a hospital bed, a large set of parallel bars, and the bed that once occupied their bedroom. They now dance in a living room that has been converted to their round-the-clock living quarters and physical therapy clinic because of an aneurysm Libby suffered just a year and a half ago. The type of aneurysm Libby suffered is known for an 80% mortality rate or severe brain trauma, often leaving victims in a severely disabled state.
“We have always been grateful for the help my grandparents received. Whenever we have needed help from VNHC, they have been there for us. We are also grateful for the equipment we have needed from the Loan Closet,” states David Borgatello.
The Borgatello family’s history with Visiting Nurse & Hospice Care (VNHC) dates back to 1918 when their grandmother, Marcellana Borgatello, caught the Spanish flu. Just two days after she was admitted to St. Francis Hospital, her husband, Secunda Borgatello, unexpectedly died from a cough and fever.