On Saturday Kara, the kids and I were driving through eastern Connecticut when we spotted a woman at the side of Route 138 in Voluntown. She was on the ground on her back, with a bicycle on top of her, in obvious need of help. We immediately pulled over as another woman ran to the her side. We learned they were friends. The victim was in full bicycle gear wearing the nylon shorts and shirt bikers wear, a helmet, and her shoes were fastened to the pedals with latches. She was gasping for breath and her lips were turning blue.
Her friend told us the woman had collapsed while biking and as she told us her name it appeared to us the woman had stopped breathing. Kara and the woman’s friend began to administer CPR while I explained to the 9-1-1 operator where we were and what had happened. The friend began mouth to mouth resuscitation, while Kara started chest compressions.
I couldn’t help but think at that moment that this was someone’s mother and wife, and we were the only ones around to be with her in what we feared were her final moments. I held the woman’s cold hands and we all talked to her, encouraging her to hang on and breath, and reassured her that she wasn’t alone and we were here to help.
Another biker came over and helped with the compressions and within minutes another person pulled over, who thankfully was an off duty EMT. He took over the chest compressions and looked for a pulse. She was breathing again.
Before long, state police and volunteer firefighters with life saving equipment had arrived, and then the ambulance. The woman was carried out on a stretcher and rushed to Backus Hospital some fifteen miles away. The woman’s friend was visibly distraught and burst into tears when I gave her a hug.
On the way home, Kara and I explained to the kids what had happened and we both agreed we need to be trained in CPR, ASAP. I was certified years ago when I worked at a restaurant in college, and Kara and had learned a long time ago also, but she knew pretty much exactly what to do in terms of compressions. Kara slso talked about how “time is brain.” It’s imperative to get the blood moving quickly to avoid depriving oxygen to the brain, which can lead to brain damage.
We called the hospital later and found the woman had indeed survived and was out of the emergency room. We pray for her full recovery.
UPDATE: September 27th The woman called Kara to say she’s doing great. She spent a few days at Backus hospital and then returned home to Maine where she is spending time with her grandchildren, and very happy to be alive.
Categories: Health & Fitness