The Eskenazi Health Family Takes Care of its Own

Olayibo Oriade is a single mother of three who lives on the Westside of Indianapolis and has been working at Eskenazi Health for six years as an acuity adaptable nurse.

Olayibo hails from Nigeria and 19 years ago she followed her sister and brother-in-law to Westfield, Ind. Prior to moving to the United States, Olayibo earned a bachelor’s degree in economics, though deep in her heart she really wanted to be a nurse.

It didn’t take long for Olayibo to enter nursing school at IU Kokomo where she earned an associate degree and then a bachelor’s degree in nursing. While working at Eskenazi Health, she entered graduate school to become a nurse practitioner, but unfortunately for Olayibo, health issues started to get in the way of her career objectives. 

“I had this chronic headache for three years, so I had an MRI every six months over the last three years,” she said. “The headaches increased my blood pressure and they had me on blood pressure medicine. I was told not to drink caffeine, don’t drink tea and I abstained from everything they told me to stay away from. This April, they told me they had done everything they could and that they may have to open the skull to really see what’s going on, and they just wanted to make sure I didn’t have cancer.”

“I said I was all for it and let’s just get it done because I wanted to know because I have three kids to take care of. I just wanted to keep myself healthy and be there for my kids.”

“Right before the surgery, I lost my dad,” Olayibo said. “Usually I would have gone back (to Nigeria), but I was unable to go and my Eskenazi Health co-workers supported me to help pay for his funeral arrangements.”

As Olayibo would soon find out, the selfless generosity of her co-workers was just beginning.

Olayibo’s surgery took place on May 17, 2018, at Eskenazi Health, and since no cancer was found she deemed it a huge success. She then faced a lengthy recovery period with few remaining personal time off (PTO) days available to her. However, once news of Olayibo’s predicament reached her friends at Eskenazi Health, her lack of PTO days was no longer an issue.

At Eskenazi Health, employees who know of a fellow employee experiencing a medically related issue may donate PTO days to an employee in need … and that’s exactly what happened for Olayibo.

“It’s a wonderful story of love, she said. “I don’t think there has ever been any PTO donation as much as I have received. My co-workers said ‘Go home and rest for six months, we’ve got you.’ Every time I think of this, I feel like crying because who does that?”

Dr. Evan Templeton, a neurologist with Eskenazi Health, is leading Oriade’s care and recovery, and she’s pleased with her recent progress.

“I’m a lot better,” she said. “They started me on steroids that help with the swelling around the brain, which is the complication from the procedure and they’re keeping a close eye on it. I have an MRI once a month. It’s not cancer, thank God. They say they’re not very sure of the cause and they’ve never seen this before. They are very compassionate here.”

Olayibo returned to work in mid-December and was shocked by the number of Christmas gift cards she received from her fellow critical care nurses.

“Until I breathe my last breath, this wonderful story of love shall be indelibly printed in my heart,” she said. “I’ll never get tired of telling it again and again.”

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