Darla Godby caught the bug – the medical one – as a teenager back in the 1960s.
She was babysitting for a couple. He just happened to be a doctor and she a nurse at Methodist Hospital.
“They were a big influence on me,” says Godby.
That magical hospital in Indianapolis where they worked. Caring for the patients. Being kind for a living.
It all seemed just perfect to Godby.
“I liked helping people,” she says. “I love people.”
So, after graduating from Cardinal Ritter High School, Godby headed off to nursing school. Meanwhile, she landed a job as a nurse’s aide in the emergency room at Methodist.
Life happened and Godby met her soon-to-be husband. He swept her off her feet. She dropped out of nursing school.
But she never left Methodist’s ER. When the hospital started an EMT program, Godby signed up.
And today, Godby has 47 years inside that magical place – where she now works in the emergency department’s ambulance triage.
It’s her job to be there as patients are rushed in. To talk to medics, to assess the sick. She makes the appropriate calls, to let people know what is needed. Blood bank. Trauma surgeon. CT scans.
Godby says she can’t even begin to explain how much she loves her job. And it’s not just about the work. Godby adores the people at Methodist.
“In the halls, you see people you’ve known all these years, but maybe not even known their name,” she says. “But you see them and we always smile at each other and it’s a bond. It speaks volumes to this place how dedicated the people are.”
And not so long ago, Godby found out just how dedicated they were.
It was October when Godby realized something just wasn’t right. She started putting on weight and her stomach was bloated; it wouldn’t go away.
Doctors found a large mass. Godby was diagnosed with ovarian cancer.
She remembers hearing the word “cancer” and feeling scared. But she also was at peace. Godby told her family and friends: “It’s OK. I have had a wonderful life. I’ve raised wonderful kids. And I’ve had a job I’ve loved all these years.”
Her friends and coworkers at Methodist rallied behind Godby. Hundreds of cards were sent. Meals were prepared. And there seemed to be a hug from someone every time Godby turned around.
“All the support and prayers, that is better than any medicine,” she says.
Godby was treated at IU Health Simon Cancer Center. After three rounds of chemotherapy shrunk the tumor, she underwent a total hysterectomy. She then finished three more rounds of chemo and is now considered a cancer survivor.
She took very little time off work during her cancer battle. She says she just couldn’t stay away from Methodist. And she doesn’t plan to retire anytime soon.
“I have always loved the way the employees are family,” Godby says. “And I still love my job after all these years.”
More With Godby
Personal: She has two grown sons and four grandchildren, three boys and a girl. “They are all the love my life,” she says. “Life is good and I am very blessed.”
Changes: In 47 years, Godby has seen so much happen at Methodist. Among the most monumental of change? Being there for the launch of LifeLine.
Good times: One of her favorite periods at Methodist was working as a nurse extender, where she partnered with a nurse for 10 years. “I learned so much from her and our favorite part was doing trauma,” she says. “Now, I love working at ambulance triage. I have a close bond with all the EMTs and medics.”
What cancer taught her: “It makes you reevaluate your life one day at a time,” Godby says. “Don’t sweat the small stuff. It makes you want to be a better person.”
— By Dana Benbow, Senior Journalist at IU Health.
Reach Benbow via email firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @danabenbow.