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Posts Tagged ‘CPR’

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“Have the courage to say no. Have the courage to face the truth. Do the right thing because it is right. These are the magic keys to living your life with integrity.”
W. Clement Stone

The more I write about the things which happened when I left the Police Force, the more I’ve come to realise how much really happened throughout my time in uniform. It still seems incredible that so much can happen in short amounts of time, yet it is the nature of the job.  However, this is another small yet poignant episode from after I had officially stopped being a police officer.

It was a dark and drizzling night in the middle of winter, cold and bleak when all you wanted was to get back home and into the warmth again. I had been with my daughter at her dancing lesson and we were just leaving. Another class for the adults was about to start.

I was going to say that there are few things which make your blood run cold other than….. but that is wrong. There are many things which make your blood run cold when you wear a police uniform and you carry that feeling with you. So, as we walked along the driveway towards the very busy main road at Sunnybank, the sound of squealing brakes and a solid thunk made my stomach drop. I knew there had been an accident.

It was dark, peak hour, cars were rushing to get home and all six lanes were full.  A bus had just pulled up at the bus stop in front of the church. I’m not a ghoul, but I needed to see if I could help, so I rushed my daughter along. There was a body lying directly along the lane line marking in the road, between the first and second lane. The bus was about to depart and cars were sailing blithely past the prone body. In the dark and rain he was almost impossible to see. No-one was making an effort to get out to the body.

I told my daughter to wait at the bus shelter and as soon as a small break appeared in the traffic I dashed into the road. The old man looked to be in a bad way. I yelled for someone to call police and ambulance and to divert traffic. It was at times like this that I was thankful I had kept up with my first aid. I checked for vitals and gently for injuries. He was so frail I knew there had to be some damage there, even though I couldn’t see much blood in the poor light.

Thankfully, the instructor from the dance class came out with some able bodies and they made a cordon to divert traffic away from the body, at least ensuring our safety. One of the women from the dance class had arrived to keep my daughter company. Someone appeared with a blanket and the message that the ambulance was coming but traffic was holding them up because of the peak hour traffic.

I had my doubts the old gentleman would last long. It was cold on the road and I could feel bones moving under my fingers so I wouldn’t take the chance to move him. He didn’t regain consciousness so I kept him in the recovery position and kept talking to him. There was little else I could do. Then the moment arrived I was dreading, I could no longer feel a pulse. Easing him onto his back I started CPR. Whether it was my ministrations or prayers I don’t know but he began breathing again and I felt a thready pulse once more.

Time seemed drawn out like spun candy, and the ambulance seemed to take forever to arrive. I was performing CPR again as they pulled up and thankfully let the experts take over. They took all the information they needed and carefully placed him on the gurney.  As I rushed back across the road and collected my daughter I thought it might be the last I heard about it, apart from my husband who was not impressed that I had performed CPR on an unknown man, who might have AIDS or anything at all. It was, after all, very difficult to disguise the fact that I was an hour late home and covered in blood!

However, one of the ambulance officers had given me his card and I called to find out if the old fellow had made it. Unfortunately he hadn’t, his frail body hadn’t been able to withstand the car or the effect of the road on him and he passed away at the hospital. It was there I thought this story had ended.

Several days later my son arrived home from school looking very uncomfortable. He asked me if I remembered a good friend of his, someone he had known since Preschool. I did, he was a nice young boy.  He then asked me if I had known the name of the old gentleman I had helped a few nights ago. That was something I had been unable to find out as he had never regained consciousness.

He told me that the old fellow was in fact his friends grandfather. He had been trying to run across the six lanes of traffic to catch the bus home that night but hadn’t made it. The family wanted to thank the unknown lady who had stayed with their father and grandfather until the ambulance had arrived, but she hadn’t left her name. He thought they must have been talking about me since there had been no other accidents reported since then.

I was grateful for the thought but I didn’t need thanks. The thanks I received were in being able to help someone who needed another person to be with them in their last moments and let them know they were not alone.  What more could I really want?

It brought home to me how, a simple act such as mine, could have far-reaching consequences. My son could not have known that I would be there that night or that his friends grandfather would be in an accident. Yet all these individuals were drawn together, unknown and yet joined by lines of connectedness we hadn’t known. “Six degrees of separation” at play for us to see.

Compassion is a very powerful force.

May love and compassion find you always.  Susan x

“for there is nothing heavier than compassion. Not even one’s own pain weighs so heavy as the pain one feels with someone, for someone, a pain intensified by the imagination and prolonged by a hundred echoes.”
Milan Kundera, The Unbearable Lightness of Being

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