By Bobby Anderson, Staff Writer
It was a Monday morning when for some reason Eleanor Fuller decided to come to work a few minutes early.
The volunteer at Integris Canadian Valley Hospital still doesn’t quite understand what caused her to arrive at work a few minutes early in late August, but to one pregnant woman and her husband those minutes were just what they needed.
“I was coming down the sidewalk and I heard this ‘Oh, Oh,’ groaning,” Fuller remembered. “I thought maybe somebody had fallen or was hurt. I went over and saw this woman who was really pregnant.”
Fuller had parked in the back of the hospital like normal and had started on her way into the hospital when she encountered the couple in distress.
The woman, who was in obvious pain, could barely move.
Fuller remembered a wheelchair that she had seen tucked inside the west entrance. She rushed to get it and brought it back for the woman to sit down before pushing her inside the hospital and to the waiting nurses.
“We were hoofing it down the hall to the women’s center as fast as we could,” Fuller said laughing. “Later I asked how soon the baby was born after we got there.”
Four minutes was the reply.
“I’m going to start carrying gloves in my pocket,” Fuller joked. “I was in the right place at the right time I can say that.”
After talking with the family later in the day Fuller learned the couple had driven from Corn – an hour away – driving 80 miles an hour the whole time on the highway.
A beautiful, healthy eight-pound baby boy was the outcome and he wasn’t born in the hospital parking lot thanks to Fuller.
“I’m just very thankful I was able to be there at the right place at the right time,” Fuller said.
Fuller doesn’t remember why she was early that day, only that she arrived just when she needed to.
It’s been that way for the last nine years as Fuller has volunteered at the outpatient desk. Before that she volunteered six years at the Sam Noble Oklahoma Museum of Natural History.
“I do like the patient desk very much, interacting with people,” Fuller said. “I like people. I like to do for people. I tell people I was a preemie and I weighed two-and-a-half pounds. I’m very thankful to be here so that’s why I feel like I’m here to help people.”
More than a few times Fuller and the volunteers at Canadian Valley have been there to provide that reassuring word, a cold drink or just a willingness to listen. “I try to make them feel good,” Fuller said. “I tell the ladies they look beautiful. I get them a warm blanket, just make them feel good and get their minds off of it.”
The “it” is also different. Maybe it’s the worry before an impending surgery or maybe it’s an unexpected outcome that a family is just starting to sift through.”
Fuller considers being there for people as a blessing. She feels the same way about those she volunteers with.
“They’re very good friends. I’ve made a lot of good friends through the years,” Fuller said. “I really enjoy the camaraderie. They’ll do anything for you.”
Dana Crum serves as the volunteer services coordinator and is Fuller’s boss.
“She’s kind of an icon of the volunteer unit,” Crum says. “People look up to her and she’s easy to talk to. She’s just a big part of the family.”
It’s volunteers that help Integris Canadian Valley run smooth.
“Imperative,” Crum said of how important they are. “They’re just about in every department. They supplement what the health professionals would normally be doing. What they do relieves the professional staff and lets them spend the extra time with the patient. They give them that extra time.”
In her professional life Fuller retired from Moore Public Schools as the accounts payable supervisor. She paid every bill in the district for 25 years before retiring in 1996.
A Moore High graduate, Fuller is one of four generations that have gone through Moore Public Schools.
Fuller has a granddaughter in Indiana in her third year as an OBGYN resident and she plans on listening a bit harder the next time she calls.
“I’ve heard her talking about delivering babies,” she said.