If you have not been required to by a job or any other life circumstance, take CPR at your first opportunity!
Tonight when my husband and I were having dinner, by a beautiful lake and on our vacation; a fellow diner was seemingly in distress. A woman seated nearby to him started going from table to table asking if anyone was medically trained–she thought he was having a stroke. When we looked down the row of four-top tables we saw his head was slumped over. My husband got up to see what was happening.
The people around him, a group of older men who all golf together, spend time here every summer so the staff knew him well. The director of activities (Lisa), who’d helped us earlier in the day, was standing next to my husband. She said paramedics were on the way. By the time I got down to the table, my husband was helping the paramedic get the man laid out on the floor. Lisa began chest compressions. I identified myself who was someone who is trained in CPR. The paramedic handed me scissors and said, “cut his shirt off”; which I immediately did.
I stood in line and waited for my turn to do chest compressions. While I was confident in my skills to do it, I was grateful when 5 more paramedics showed up. My husband and I backed off and stood with the group of men who’d been dining with the man now on the floor. Lisa began asking all the remaining diners to leave the room; we went upstairs to wait for news of the outcome.
The paramedics worked for over an hour on the man, who as it turns out, was diabetic, had a replacement heart valve and was overweight. As we sat waiting in the lobby we watched waiters, waitresses, and other resort staff go back and forth. Finally, Lisa came upstairs. She was clearly upset. The lovely man who was a regular at the resort had died.
When it seemed the right time, I went to the desk and asked if I could talk to Lisa. I told her how amazing she’d been…cool, calm, responsive. I gave her hug and she didn’t let go for a while. She thanked me for helping.
Today there are SO many people to thank, but I’ll focus today on the employer who required me to be certified in CPR and to the instructors who taught me.