Chicagoan Charles Bell started gasping for air; his granddaughter Marquitta Trotter started pacing behind him, asked what’s wrong, and offered to help. “I was bugging him,” Trotter said, but “he wasn’t saying anything.”
He was still gasping for air at the hospital, and yet the desk nurse still asked why he was brought there. Trotter was presented with do-not-resuscitate (DNR) paperwork and called her mom and grandmom about what to do.
She asked her grandfather what he wanted. “He said, ‘if it’s time to go, it’s time to go baby. Just promise me you will be the best nurse you can be.’ I was like…yeah okay,” said Trotter, ending her “long, emotional story” with a joke. Charles Bell passed away a week later.
“I got into nursing to change the nursing community,” Trotter said. “You get a lot of horrible nursing. When this position came along, I wanted to be able to change that.”
Marquitta Trotter, a licensed practical nurse now for 10 years, is a Nurse Manager at Golden Years Homestead, at 8300 Maysville Road in Fort Wayne. She just started at the end of March.
“I love what I do, I love being a nurse, and I love seeing people get better.”
Trotter will hit her goal of registered nurse (RN) in two years. Life has slowed down for the mother of four; she’s only got that one job. For the two previous years, Trotter worked at a breakneck clip only reserved for the hungry, holding down two full-time jobs at Englewood Nursing Home and CSL Plasma Center, while going to school, while being a full-time mom.
Trotter: “One job was third shift, so 10 P.M. to 6 A.M. But I would have to be at my next job at 9 A.M. I would go home, sleep for a couple of hours, then work 9 A.M. to 5 P.M., come back home, sleep, do homework, and get ready for [my] 10 P.M. [third shift].”
She had classes Tuesdays and Thursdays at Ivy Tech, “starting at 8 A.M., so when I got off at 6 A.M., I would go home, sleep for 45 minutes, then go to school.”
Trotter was hungry to prove a point. “It was hard. I could have sat back and collected welfare but I was always determined to show that hard work pays off. I always tell them to reach for the starts, the sky is the limit.”
With fruits and vegetables in her bag, with granola bars in her car, Trotter did that thing. She stumbled just a little when her schedule caught up to her and a bad grade caused her to sit out a semester. But only a semester.
Trotter became pregnant with the first of her “little crew,” Marquisha, when she was a 17-year-old senior at Northrop High School. “People turn their cheek because I was really young when I first had kids,” Trotter said.
She passed on a program to help teen moms attend school at their own pace. “I was not doing that. I was going to graduate with my class.” That meant taking Marquisha with her to school sometimes when her dad couldn’t make the pick-up. The young mom dropped her first daughter off at the dean of girl’s office; the first time Trotter did it, the principal walked the halls with her, feeding her some ice cream.
One of Trotter’s teachers would bring extra blankets to her classroom; the u-shape configuration allowed Marquisha to stretch on the blanketed floor, as long as she didn’t cry.
That little girl is a 21-year-old senior at I.U. Bloomington now; her studies in fashion have taken her to England and studying Spanish has currently transported her to the Dominican Republic. All of Trotter’s kids are at various stages of finding what they want and getting awards because they already know. Her son Terrence, 19, was featured in Issue 9 of the Fort Wayne Ink Spot for his graphic design achievements.
“I have strong minded kids. They’re never going to let anybody walk all over them,” she said.
With two of her kids, a younger Trotter moved out of her parent’s house. “My dad said that I wanted to be grown.” After places to stay fell through, she was homeless, a total of three times, and lived out of shelters with two kids.
Trotter was in abusive relationship for two years and would go to nursing school with bruises on her face. When asked about them, she said, “don’t ask. I’m here. I’m passing my tests. It’s under control.” When it got too much, she left her boyfriend to live into a homeless shelter in Indianapolis, before coming back to Fort Wayne to begin again.
Trotter: “For the younger women who think they can’t make it with kids…yes, it can set you back but don’t let it stop you because my story is never ending. That would be my one encouragement.”