National Nurses United

National Nurse Jan-Feb-March 2021

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they complemented each other," said Rommel. "He was the quiet type, always the shy type, and my sister—she was the one you could hear her voice across the room." Kenneth says his mother taught him that "time is precious, so don't waste it." She encouraged him to do well in school and be kind to others. Together as a family, they enjoyed all that the New York City area had to offer. "We went to watch Broadway shows, and took walks in Central Park," recalled Kenneth. When the weather was nice, they would head to the Jersey Shore. "She would sunbathe and relax. I would go swimming in the ocean," said Kenneth. And most importantly, they would talk. "We always talked, there was never a moment that we didn't speak a word. She was a perfect mother for me, we related very well." In 1993, Yumang started working at the VA in Manhattan. "She was an excellent nurse," said Yvana Etienne, RN, who worked in the ICU with Yumang. "She was great with the patients. She never left a job unfinished. She never complained no matter how hard the assignment was." Etienne said Yumang was an even-tempered team player and a problem solver. "Some people would throw a temper tantrum, but Gina was always peaceful and say 'What can we do?'" When Yumang found herself caring for Covid patients, she shared with her brother her concerns about getting ill. While Etienne said Yumang took extra precautions at work, all the nurses were vulnerable to exposure. Rommel said his sister spoke with deep sadness about the many people she saw who were dying alone without their family at the bedside with them. In early December, Yumang started showing signs she was ill. She eventually ended up in the hospital on Dec. 17. Dennis, too, became ill and landed in the hospital on Dec. 19. He passed away just three days later. It fell to Rommel to tell his sister that her husband had died. Just seven days later, Rom- mel spoke to Yumang via Facetime as she gave her con- sent to be intubated. "I told my sister that we loved her, and we will take care of her son, and we will pray for her." Regina Angeles Yumang died on Jan. 17, 2021 at the age of 62. Rommel said he is where he is today, a nurse case manager in Houston, thanks to his sister. He said it was the remit- tances that Yumang sent back to the Philippines that helped pay for his schooling. She also paid for the recruiter who helped find him a position in the United States, and his first car when he arrived in the states. "It was always about paying it forward," said Rommel. Kenneth said his mother instilled in him the importance of family. "I made her a promise, I would keep relatives close," recounted Kenneth. "I would always value them and I would make time for them." Kenneth said it is natural to grieve for his parents, but that he was fortunate to have them the time that he did. —Rachel Berger J A N U A R Y | F E B R U A R Y | M A R C H 2 0 2 1 W W W . N A T I O N A L N U R S E S U N I T E D . O R G N A T I O N A L N U R S E 23 Regina Yumang

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