The importance of CPR
by Trisha Keith
I remember the day my husband died, May 19th, 2009. I had just gotten home from work; my two small children and Mother In-law were home. My husband, Justin, had his tonsils removed and sinus surgery two days earlier. He was taking a nap, I poked my head in but didn’t want to wake him and suddenly there was a choking sound. I turned the lights on and his skin was grey like that of a very ill person you would see in the hospital. The choking sound was his body trying to breathe, he was not breathing and he would not wake up. Panic consumed me as I dialed 911. I did not know CPR so I tried everything else I could think of to wake him up, at one point I was literally smacking him in hopes of startling him awake, nothing happened.
It felt like it was taking forever for anyone to arrive. If I had known CPR I might have been able to help, but I didn’t so instead I prayed, because I did know God, and I knew he would get me through. FINALLY a police officer arrived, my husband is not a small man, he is 6’4” and 280 pounds, this police officer was a very small woman approximately 5’2” and 115 pounds. However, she proceeded into the bedroom he was napping in, because in my head he was still just napping, and she performed CPR for a few minutes until the EMT arrived. When the EMT took over, he moved my husband off the bed and onto the floor where the CPR would be easier to administer. After a very quick rundown of the history of what just happened the EMT administered a drug called Narcan, which will reverse the effects of any narcotics in your system. They then rushed him out the door on a stretcher to the hospital.
My Sister in-law was home at this point so we loaded my younger son into the car and headed to the hospital. My older son was on his way with the rest of our family. We arrived at the hospital to be told we needed to wait. Consumed with worry the whole time, we waited until finally someone came out to meet us, he introduced himself as a chaplain. My brain exploded with worry, a chaplain must mean he did not make it. Am I a widow? He escorted us back and I saw my husband sitting up, staring at nothing. I was so relieved to finally see that he was alive, though we later found out that he was pronounced dead three times on the ride there. The EMT said it is nothing short of a miracle, and if we had waited even one minute longer to call or without the few minutes of CPR administered by the police officer first to the scene, he would probably not have survived.
I recommend that everyone take CPR, even if it seems unnecessary. I never took CPR because I did not understand the importance of knowing it. I never could have predicted that my husband’s life would one day depend on it, that our future would depend on it. You hear people tell you all the time that CPR is a good thing to know, but you do not understand just how important it is until someone you love depends on it to live.