Do You Know CPR?
Twenty-five years ago, I worked for a foodservice company that required all it's employees know the Heimlich Manuver, and CPR. We all had to take a couple hour course and get certified. Six months later, we had a patron that had too much to drink during a steak dinner start to choke....I walked over behind him, did the HM, the piece of steak popped out, (about a third of a 10oz Sirloin...yech....) and he went back to drinking and scarfing like nothing had happened....and I've never given the training another thought.
This morning, I had a lot to do, and had to stop for fuel at a big gas plaza/convienience store near the airport. As I was coming out the door with my coffee, I noticed a commotion a couple of pumps down from me. Two women were yelling at someone in a pickup truck. I couldn't make out what they were saying, but one of them was slapping the drivers side window, and the other was standing in the pickup bed slapping at the rear window and yelling. At first, I thought it was a "domestic dispute" or perhaps someone had cut somebody else off and it had carried over to the gas station.
As I got closer, I noticed that both women wore the uniform of the business there (Royal Farm Stores) and they were yelling at the man to "Wake up, sir, wake up!!" over and over. I walked over to the truck and saw a man slumped backward over the center console, head back and eyes rolled up into the back of his head, whites showing. The side window was open a crack, so I forced my arm hard down into the window, and my fingers were able to pluck the door latch open,(both doors were locked).
My hand reached for his neck, and without thinking, I pressed lightly but firmly for a pulse. His complexion was grey, there was no discirnable pulse, and I put my ear next to his mouth....no breath. There was a lady standing next to me talking to the 911 dispatcher, relaying my observations. By now there was a sizable crowd forming around the truck.
I popped the guy's seatbelt, and started to drag him out of the truck. I was amazed at how limp an unconscious person is. I was afraid of hurting his neck, he was so limp and everything at odd angles. He was almost as big as me, and I was having trouble getting him untangled, and there was some guy standing gawking, so I yelled, "You, give me a hand!" He turned around and walked away!!!! MF!!!! I started cussing at him!!!!
Did I tell you that the whole time this all is happening, the little voice in the back of my head is yelling at me, "DUDE!! JUST WALK AWAY!! LET SOMEBODY ELSE DEAL WITH IT....YOU DON"T WANT TO END UP PLAYING LIP-LOCK WITH THIS GUY!!!!"
Some little housewife about 105 soaking wet stepped in and kept me from dropping the guy, thank God. We got him on the ground without smacking his head on the pavement, and she took off her coat and we stuck it under his neck to tip his head back and open the airway. Eyes were still rolled up, no pulse, no breath.
I got my courage up, and stuck my finger into his mouth, to see if something got lodged in his throat...nothing. I pushed on his chest, and was rewarded with a little wheezy gasp; but the nothing. I started compressions, and the same lady said, "I know CPR, I'll do compressions, if you'll do the breathing".
Did I mention he was a scruffy lookin' dude with a none too clean beard?
I shift over as she starts counting compressions; at thirty, she stops, I pinch his nose, take a deep breath (as much to screw my courage up as for his benefit) and brreeeatthhe.
Just like they told us; he IMMEDIATELY "pinks" up. I finish the three breaths, she starts in on compressions and we start all over again. We get through about six cycles, and we can hear sirens getting louder by the second. At one point, I look down and see that the pupil of his eyes have rolled back down, but he's still out. Next thing I know, a guy in a blue uniform is pushing us out of the way, "It's ok now, he has a pulse". They slap and oxygen mask on him, pop him on a backboard, and in what seems like seconds, they're gone with him, sirens blaring.
I look at the lady, she sticks out her hand, we shake hands and both say "Thanks", and go on our separate ways.
I started shaking about ten minutes later.
That training was one hour over 25 years ago, and it stuck. Amazing.
PS. I went back into the store, bought a bottle of mouthwash, and gave myself a good rinse or two.