Tuesday, June 28, 2011

life is so very precious.

My drive home from work last night seemed tedious. People were in a hurry and no one was going anywhere fast. I was feeling annoyed at all the construction because my 15 minute drive took over 30 minutes. My energy level was also at negative 10 because Bill and I had a very productive and exhausting camping trip around Oregon for the last 4 days. I was in a hurry to get home after a long day in the office.

Less from a mile from my house, I was driving through a beautiful park in the neighboring area of Sellwood when I saw something out of place. There was a man laying on his face on the jogging path that runs parallel to highway 99. This man did not look right and I was puzzled because no one was stopping. I drove up over the curb(99 is VERY BUSY and a 50 mph road) and ran to check out the situation. As I approached, it was evident that this man was having a serious heart attack. I had my phone and started to call 911, while I was consoling him and telling him to stick with me. He muttered the words, "help me" before loosing consciousness. It seemed like an hour before others joined me, but it was probably only 10 or 15 seconds. We rolled the man over onto his back and his gasps for air were growing less frequent. His eyes rolled back into his head and he was foaming heavily at the mouth. The 911 operator then told me to start CPR. By this time, an EMT and a PA had stopped and started CPR, although it seemed hopeless. His pulse was gone, and he wasn't even close to breathing on his own. Finally the Fire engine arrived after probably 3 or 4 minutes and the crew took over. I was so relieved, but not hopeful. I felt like I had watched life leave this man's body and I was not confident that it would return. After about 3 or 4 minutes of using paddles and IV's to revive this man, they were able to get a pulse and he was even breathing on his own. I have no idea if his okay now, but I did leave the scene after it seemed that he was alive again.

I've seen many old people pass away. This was different. While we were all waiting for him to come back, all I could think about was his family, his wife, his teenage kids.... Here this guy was trying to get into shape with a run after work and he was in danger of never going home. Life is so precious.

I also felt a huge amount of respect and thankfulness for the job that the emergency responders do. Right after this situation, I was thinking, "maybe I should be doing something like that for a living?" and then I realized that I am maybe not the best candidate because I would be thinking about the families and the consequences of the losses that they see on a regular basis. Not fun. Thank you firefighters, EMT's, Police, ER employees..... Thank you so very much for all that you do.

Life is precious, so tell those close to you that you love them!

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