Santa Rosa man, almost 60, begins nursing career after health scare

  • David Hobler's previous profession was that of an engineer. After a stroke that left him nearly blind and debilitated, Hobler worked his way back to health and studied to become a nurse, due to the care he received from two Kaiser nurses which strongly influenced his decision to change careers. (Kent Porter / Press Democrat) 2013

There can't be many nurses who start to work at Kaiser's Santa Rosa Medical Center when they're quite new to the profession yet aged almost 60.

Even fewer, no doubt, go into nursing in part because of the quality of the care they received when they were bed-ridden and nearly blind at that facility, and fearful that the happy, productive, independent part of their lives might be over.

David Hobler is a rare sort of nurse.

He had worked quite contentedly as an environmental engineer for 25 years when his world went whacky early one morning in August of 2006.

He'd traveled from his home in Santa Rosa to Phoenix for yet another long, on-the-road assignment that involved assisting firms with the software programs that produce hazardous-materials reports required by government agencies.

At about 3:30 a.m., he got up to use the bathroom. He was wondering why the room was even darker than usual when he fell on his face.

Alarmed, he picked himself up and did what any sensible person would do. He phoned his mother.

Alice Hobler Turbiville, then a retired nurse living in South Dakota, where her son grew up, told him it was most likely a problem with his blood sugar. "She said to crawl to the kitchen and drink some orange juice," he recalled.

He complied, but upon arising from bed a second time found that his vision was still impaired and so was his ability to control his left leg and arm. This time, he telephoned an advice nurse at Kaiser in Santa Rosa.

He recited the symptoms and she responded at once, "Get to the emergency room."

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