Sunday, November 18, 2007

What a morning

This morning during the scripture reading I heard a parishioner speaking. He has a voice that booms, even in a whisper, and is very easy to identify (partly because he's so loud and partly because he's got a New York accent). I started thinking to myself, K, you gotta be quieter. I was distracted from the scripture reading and he kept talking. I thought maybe he was explaining something to a neighbor, but still. He kept talking. I closed my eyes and tried to focus. Someone should tell him to hush. Why isn't his wife jabbing him in the side telling him to be quieter?? He's still talking and I hear him giving directions to the church...okay fine, maybe he has a friend coming who's lost...I'll let that slide. The scripture reading finished and a woman approached the chancel and called me toward her as my senior got up to preach, only he went to pray...okay, so I honestly thought he was going to pray for this man who had so rudely interrupted service. Then I reached the woman and she told me that a visitor had passed out and K had called the paramedics. OOOOhhhhh...oops, my bad.

I left the chancel and went to check on the man. We have a number of nurses in the congregation and they were all attending to him. They had him laid out on a pew and he was out cold. I stepped into the pew and Nurse E said, "He's not breathing. I think we have to do CPR. Can you do the breathing?" Yeah. (I think CPR is one of those things I assume I can do. You know, you see it enough times on TV and I did have that one class 14 years ago...sure, I can do that.) So I knelt down and listened and couldn't hear his breathing. Nurse E told me to go ahead and I tried to adjust his head, but it wasn't really adjusting, nor was his mouth really ready to open. His jaw felt clenched. (for the record, none of this is really registering for me...not in the EMERGENCY sense of it anyway.) Finally Nurse E was like, "you need to pinch his nose and breathe into his mouth. oh yeah. the nose pinch....of course. So I do and I breathe. "No, breathe hard, twice." (I hate to make light of what could have been a very tragic situation, but the breaths I was giving were little baby breaths, like the kind you blow on the face of a baby, not the kind required to fill someone's lungs). Nurse E did a few compressions and he responded. But he still wasn't breathing well and his pulse was still weak. So she told me to do a couple more breaths, so I did and after that he came to and opened his eyes. He didn't know what had happened but did know where he was. After a couple of minutes Nurse E had him sit up and he wasn't dizzy and seemed to be fine.

I checked back in with the men waiting outside for the ambulance and then went back to the chancel. I saw the EMTs come in and check him out, ask him questions, and they he walked

It was quite the experience. I've never actually had to do CPR on a live person, and like I said, my last training was 14 years ago. I think I might need a refresher course. For the record, if you ever have occasion to do this, it is helpful to have more than one person, the mouth might not fully open, and you actually have to transfer a significant amount of air from your lungs to theirs. No baby breaths.
out, unassisted, to the ambulance. Word was he didn't even want to go to the hospital, though they did take him as a precaution.

No comments: