Don't Curse the Nurse!

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CPR and Praying – Both Done Better In the Kneeling Position

on December 29, 2016

Instead of being on the road driving toward my parents for dinner at 4:50, I was on my knees in one of the rooms of my next door neighbor’s home.

“One and two and three and four. One and two and…”

I ignored the 911 operator on speaker phone (she was going too slowly). My sweet neighbor was yelling, “We’re fine. She’s a nurse. My neighbor’s a nurse.”

We weren’t fine.

I wanted to cry, not because of stress, but because despite his disheveled appearance, I knew I was doing compressions on someone younger than me, someone who my instincts told me, had given up. Hope is an integral part of my belief system, and sensing its absence blanketed me with grief for the stranger lying below me.  There was also the small pop felt under my hand on the fifth compression and I knew I had cracked rib. Guilt, major guilt. Irrational. But it was there anyway.

I also felt alone. You’re never alone in the hospital. You never go through this alone. There is a whole team. Sometimes so many, the extras that can’t find any way to help are sent back to their normal duties.

He took in a garbled breath, and in the background, the sounds of sirens could be heard entering the neighborhood. I stopped CPR, and with my fingers under his jawbone, lifted his chin. He took in two more rumbling gasps of air. His lips flapped when he exhaled.

Now at his head, I noticed with more care the deep gash across his left brow, the blood on the carpet, and a foot away, a syringe with a bent needle. It confirmed my suspicion that demons were winning the fight for this guy’s life.

Heavy footsteps signaled the arrival of help. I kept my guy’s chin thrust upward, watched his chest go up and down, and remained in a scrunched up position between the door frame. A long legged paramedic stepped over me and threaded an IV into his hand. After the mom explained her son’s history, they administered Narcan – reversing the sedative effect on his heart, oxygenated him, and assisted him to a stretcher for his visit to the nearby hospital.

His mom thanked me profusely and in the same sentence, told me she’d also had a bad day at work. His dad also thanked me and finished by saying “I’m so embarrassed.”

I told them everyone has struggles and hugged them both.

I got to Mom and Dad’s by 5:12.


15 responses to “CPR and Praying – Both Done Better In the Kneeling Position

  1. Christy says:

    What an intense time. I can’t imagine how hard that was to do that on you own (of course God was there with you) knowing there was nobody else to call on. Great work and oh, so sad.

  2. BETH says:

    Are you talking about street drugs? I wonder if the kid may have taken too much accidentally. Parents often react in different ways–the permissive, indulgent mother and the overly strict father.

    • Susan says:

      The neighbors are in their late sixties. I estimate the son to be early thirties . Unfortunately, in a weary voice, the mom gave a detailed history that didnt support this being a poor choice due to niavity.
      It was a surreal experience for me.

  3. joey says:

    It’s amazing that your training and your good heart can bring someone back from death. So sorry for all of them, addiction is a vile monster.

    • BETH says:

      The news is full of such accounts that did not turn out so well. I cannot forget the picture of the couple with a four-year-old buckled in the carseat and the two of them passed out from opiates.

    • Susan says:

      I talked to the dad today. All he told me was that his son was resting He went into details about his son’s diabetes then asked me jokingly if I wanted the family dog, a Rottweiler, that was roaming between the yards.
      The new year is starting out in an interesting way 🙂

  4. Kelly says:

    Wow Susan!!! You saved his life!! You are amazing…I had no idea this happened. I hope he can clean himself up after getting this second chance thanks to you!!

  5. Kaleem says:

    Powerful story. Keep it up!

  6. Whoa..craziness! I’ve never done cpr outside of work, hope I never have too. Your neighbor’s son’s PCP should prescribe mar and teach his family how to use it! That’s what we do in the community setting for our high risk patients.

    • Susan says:

      I’ve made a few suggestions, but I limit it, and my involvement. I’ve heard yelling and fighting over there.
      I live alone and have to set boundaries that allow me to give of myself what my parents need. They both have dealt with significant health issues this last year.
      * Collectively, all on our cul-de-sac keep an eye and ear out for anything that gets out of control.

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