3.05.2013

Back From Death

First off, I just want to say thank again to those of you who donated based on my last post. You have no idea how much I appreciate it.

Now, I want to tell you a little story. In my EMT class, we've been learning about how to manage cardiac arrest and recently just read an article on the innovations in prolonged CPR and induced hypothermia as ways to keep someone from dying.

In our last class, my instructor invited a couple in to talk to us, of which the man had survived being clinically dead for about 9-10 minutes after a major heart attack. I'm going to call them Lena and Jim. Jim said he really remembered nothing after passing out at the gym, till about 2 weeks after he'd been brought home from the hospital. Lena's story (and courage), were really something to be proud of. She said that the trainers at the gym had immediately begun CPR, which likely saved his life. When he was awake in the hospital though, after surgery, he had lost his short term memory almost completely. Lena's brother was there, and she recalled every time Jim would see him, he'd call out, "John! Where you been, man? I haven't seen you in forever!" even if John had been there all day, and just crossed the room into Jim's field of vision. She said there weren't a lot of times during this experience that were very amusing, but I'm going to tell you two that I thought were the most poignant.

In the hospital, Lena and her daughter would sit on either side of his bed, and make sure he ate everything off his food tray. Once, it went like this: 
Daughter: What'd they give you to drink today, dad?
Jim: [takes a sniff and a sip] Blech, sweetened iced tea. [puts it back down]
[3 minutes later]
Daughter: What'd they give you to drink today, dad?
Jim: [takes a sniff and a sip] Blech, sweetened iced tea. [puts it back down]
[3 minutes later]
Daughter: What'd they give you to drink today, dad?
Jim: [picks it up and looks in the cup] I don't know, but I ain't having any! Someone's been drinking it!

The second was when Jim had already come home from the hospital. This one's a little PG-13, but also kind of adorable. Jim didn't start to remember anything long-term until about 2 weeks after his hospital release, so almost 2 months after the attack. During this time, Lena was desperate, in her words, "to get her Jim back" and tried a number of games and tricks to get him to remember anything. One of these games was called Word of the Hour, in which she'd pick a really easy word (e.g. clock or book) and try to get Jim to remember it for 30 min-1 hr. This had been going on mostly unsuccessfully for about a week and a half. One day, she got frustrated, turned around to Jim, lifted up her shirt, and yelled, "Boobs! That's the word of the hour, Jim! Can you at least remember that?! Boobs!" And whaddya know, an hour later, Jim had remembered his first Word of the Hour. From that point he began to get better and better.

Jim and Lena both mentioned to us that the event significantly improved their outlook on life, and that they pay much more attention to their health now. I think it was really an important reminder to me to not take my time and my loved ones for granted. I've got this schedule right now in which I'm seriously over-committed, but it was a reminder to call my parents more often (or at least email them), to tell friends I haven't seen in a while how much I appreciate them, and to pay more attention to how I treat my body. I love hearing things like this, because not only are they moving and beautiful in their own regard, but I don't know about you guys, but I definitely need that kick in the pants sometimes to stop being lazy and un-awesome. I'm sure impressed if you read all that, and hope it inspired you to live a little better.

5 comments:

  1. This story is a wonderful reminder to not take our loved ones for granted and to take care of ourselves.

    Tracy @ Sunny Days and Starry Nights

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  2. it's so true not to take your loved ones for granted. last year almost every single adult in my family had some sort of health issues, so i know how true this is!!!

    http://www.spinning-threads.blogspot.com

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  3. to living better, appreciating life, and finding the laughter! :)

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  4. aw such cute stories amongst the bigger issue. Things like this really do help me to put life in perspective and appreciate people more. Thanks so taking the time to share this story :-)

    Cherry Lane xx

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  5. I love that story! Really makes you wanna go live up every day and enjoy life day by day! We get so caught up in stress about homework, school, work, boys, we forget all the wonderful reasons we should be happy and all the people that make us happy! Thanks for the reminder :]

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