Saturday, June 02, 2007

In the Blink of an Eye!

When K died on April 13th, I was reminded how quickly our loved ones can be snatched from us. Today, that lesson was driven home again.

This morning, while Z and I were at work, a couple in their fifties seated themselves at a table. I grabbed 2 menus as I took an order of food to another table. As I was heading to the new table, the husband started screaming: "Call 911!! Call 911!!" I grabbed the cordless phone, dialed 911, and headed back to their table. I've called for an ambulance several times in the past and I know that 911 dispatchers LOVE to play 20 questions. I wanted to be able to hand the phone to the husband, so he could answer their questions.

The wife was growling for breath and sliding off her chair when I reached the table. Two of our male customers leaped to help the husband get his wife to the floor. It took me 3 tries to reach the 911 dispatcher. The first 2 times I dialed, I got the: "The number you dialed cannot be reached. Please try again." recording. Damned phone company and their unreliable phone lines!! I quickly told the dispatcher that we needed an ambulance for a woman who had, by this time, STOPPED BREATHING!! Mercifully, the dispatcher only asked one question:"Does anybody there know CPR?" One of the men knew CPR, but we couldn't get the limp woman rolled onto her back. She weighed at least 300 lbs.

The dispatcher said: "The ambulance is on its way!", and I hung up. I threw the phone to the boss, telling her to call the railroad depot so no trains would be blocking the ambulance's path. Then I ran outside to make sure there wasn't a train getting ready to leave.

When I returned, the men had gotten her breathing started again, but she quit breathing twice more before the Sheriff's deputy arrived, ahead of the ambulance. The deputy was carrying oxygen and a portable defibrillator. The deputy was defibrillating the women when the ambulance arrived.

The husband, 2 men, deputy, and 2 EMTs had a helluva time getting the woman onto a stretcher and onto the gurney! The EMTs quickly had her hooked up to a breathing machine and a heart monitor, before they wheeled her out.

The heart monitor was making an ominous "eeeeeeee" sound, with no little heartbeat blips. We all prayed that she made it, but it didn't look good. In less than 30 minutes, a woman had gone from talking and smiling with her husband, to a limp form on a gurney.

I found Z outside, grinning nervously. "Mom, I've been feeling depressed lately. I'd been thinking that maybe I needed some kind of off the wall, near-death experience to shake me back to myself. It's weird, but God just did that for me, didn't he? This tragedy could've happened anytime, but God made sure it happened when I was here to witness it. My problems are small compared to what this family is going through. Life is precious....and fragile....appreciate it!"

29 Comments:

At 6/02/2007 7:00 PM, Blogger Cherie said...

Out of the mouth of Z!!

Wowie! What an event to witness. Great that you were there to take charge! Whew.....

Do you know how she is, poor thing?

I'm going on a diet - right now!

 
At 6/02/2007 9:22 PM, Blogger Vancouver Voyeur said...

Wow, talk about driving home a point. Great quick thinking about the train. We have drawbridge issues here.

 
At 6/02/2007 10:56 PM, Blogger SME said...

Wow. I'm so proud of Z that he could see the positive in this and not be brought down by it instead! I feel for that husband and any family they might have. Obviously he thought she was fine, if they were going out to eat.

 
At 6/03/2007 8:27 AM, Blogger tshsmom said...

Cherie, I didn't really do that much. I felt rather helpless. :(

None of us recognized them, so I assume they aren't locals. Hopefully the paper will have an update on her condition. I feel so bad for her family!

Boss and I said the same thing about dieting. ;) We all know that extra weight is bad for us, BUT, we didn't realize how it can hinder a rescue operation...until NOW! :(

VV, Boss and I have discussed emergency vehicles and trains many times. Our street has been cut off for 45 minutes MANY times, so it was the first thing we thought of. :(

SME, I got goosebumps when Z said that!
Yeah, they were laughing and talking when they came in. In a "blink of the eye", she was near death.

 
At 6/03/2007 8:57 AM, Blogger Laura said...

It's weird that something so morbid can just snap you out of a funk, isn't it?

I hope she's ok.

 
At 6/03/2007 9:01 AM, Blogger tshsmom said...

Laura, that's exactly what Z said! Life is strange.

 
At 6/03/2007 3:41 PM, Blogger IEAT_SNOWMANPOOP said...

Wow that's a scary situation.

 
At 6/04/2007 9:51 AM, Blogger Jeannie said...

It's a powerful lesson to learn whatever your age.

 
At 6/04/2007 10:22 AM, Blogger tweetey29 said...

I hate those tracks. I mean I remember going to the beach with my grandmother and getting stuck behind them for a long time. But anyway arent they suppose to stop the train and separate it if emergency vechiles are coming through?? I am glad Z realized what he did.

 
At 6/04/2007 10:39 AM, Blogger Wandering Coyote said...

Well, I'm glad someone was able to get something positive from that situation. I also thought of the weight issue. I had to be transported via ambulance when I put my back out at the gym a few years ago. I didn't weigh anything near 300lbs, but I'm also not light by any means. It was awkward. In fact, the fire department had to come and lift me out. A story for another time...

 
At 6/04/2007 11:14 AM, Blogger zydeco fish said...

Wow, what a story and what a closing comment.

 
At 6/04/2007 2:28 PM, Blogger Squirl said...

I hope that woman is okay. It sounds like a lot of people, including you, jumped to the rescue in a hell of a hurry. Maybe it will have been enough to keep her alive.

How wise of Z to find what he did in it.

 
At 6/04/2007 6:57 PM, Blogger tshsmom said...

Poops, it WAS!

Jeannie, soooo true!

Tweets, the ambulance arrived in 10 minutes. It takes longer than that to separate the train! :(
By law, they're not supposed to block the street longer than 10 minutes, but they do it ALL THE TIME!

WC and ZF, for a kid his age, with anxiety issues, Z amazed ME with his response!

Squirl, unfortunately, nothing we did made a difference. Today, we heard through the grapevine that she was DOA.

 
At 6/04/2007 10:23 PM, Blogger The Zombieslayer said...

Yikes, what a thing to experience at that young an age.

I can't believe you thought of the train. That's incredible. Dang, we'll definitely need you around when the zombie plague starts. You'll be the one with the clear head.

 
At 6/05/2007 7:00 AM, Blogger tweetey29 said...

I got goosebumps just now reading some of the other responses. I know what you mean with that darned train. It sucks. Well it sucks she didnt make it. I mean life is so short and I mean it hurts because you know I have realized after my aunt passed away a few months ago, my mom is my only living relative besides my real dad and his family but I dont know them that well.

 
At 6/05/2007 4:49 PM, Blogger tshsmom said...

ZS, Z and the 16 yr old dishwasher hightailed it out the back door, to stay out of the way. Smart kids! When I went back in the building, after checking on the trains, the Boss' 9 yr old grandson was standing there, watching the whole thing. I sent him outside with the other boys. Boss thanked me later...she hadn't thought about how this might have affected the kid. :(

I'm really good in a crisis! I'm clear-headed and efficient. After the emergency has passed, I fall apart. After the ambulance left, I was shaking so bad I couldn't operate the credit card machine. :(

 
At 6/05/2007 6:07 PM, Blogger Great White Bear, said...

It is so good Z took this as a positive life experience. We should all rmember that life is shourt and to appreciate every moment!

Perhaps this would be a good time to point out to the boss that every business should have a portable defibrillator, and someone who konws how to use it.

 
At 6/05/2007 6:09 PM, Blogger Great White Bear, said...

damn, gotta break out the reading glasses and proof read my comments before I post them. Sorry about the spelling!

 
At 6/05/2007 6:19 PM, Blogger tshsmom said...

GWB, right now, I'm trying to talk her into one of those ball respirator thingies to do mouth-to-mouth. I'm pretty sure that a defib machine is outta her price range.

Bifocals, my friend! ;)

 
At 6/05/2007 10:05 PM, Blogger Shawn said...

That's a pretty crazy thing to have happen. I bet everyone was pretty shaken up afterwards when the adrenaline rush faded.

It's amazing when a group of people all come together and function smoothly like that. Funny how people react to stressful stuff like that.

 
At 6/06/2007 10:53 AM, Blogger Gardenia said...

Awesome post. Yes, life is fragile. When the doc told me I could've died from the pulmonary embolism thing - it drove an appreciate for being alive home too - I think the lesson I learned was enjoy life while you have it, love hard, try to die old, (not young) and leave a beautiful memory - to re-write the old song! Z is a wise one, hmmmm? Good thing you were there and so quick acting - did the lady live, or do you know? I know she flatlined but wondered if she came back...

 
At 6/06/2007 9:40 PM, Blogger tshsmom said...

Shawn, I'm always pretty shaky, post-adrenaline rush. :(

Situations like this always renew my belief in humanity.

Gardenia, she didn't make it. Her obituary was in the paper today...she was only 57!
This is the first time that I've watched someone die. It changes your life.

 
At 6/07/2007 7:46 AM, Blogger tweetey29 said...

Oh my goodness. That is so sad. I feel for her family. Was she a local then? I mean if her obituary was in the paper she had to have been a local. Or close by.

 
At 6/07/2007 5:57 PM, Blogger Pam said...

Dang, I'm sad she didn't make it. People "don't make it" every day and yet when you are there and you witness the ending, it affects you deeply, doesn't it?
:-/

 
At 6/07/2007 6:13 PM, Blogger tshsmom said...

Tweets, she graduated from here, but hasn't lived here since then.

Pam, I've discovered that death isn't the type of bond that I prefer to have with people I meet! :(
I hope she knows how much she touched all of us.

 
At 6/08/2007 9:37 AM, Blogger mister anchovy said...

I think of the old gospel song, Death don't have no mercy in this land: He come to your house and he don't stay long, look in the bed find your mother gone, death don't have no mercy in this land.

 
At 6/08/2007 12:55 PM, Blogger DirtCrashr said...

Holy crap!!

 
At 6/08/2007 6:26 PM, Blogger tshsmom said...

Mr A, that's soooo true!! None of us are exempt.

DC, you've got that shit right!

 
At 6/10/2007 3:34 PM, Blogger Bridget Jones said...

Holy cows, Tshsmom. Glad that all of you were there, it sound like she had lots of helpers, even if it didn't work.

How smart Z is.

 

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