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A Life-Saving Chain of People

Bill credits his survival to those who took action.

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Off to Portland for Father’s Day weekend with my wife, son and daughter-in-law this past summer. That Sunday was perfect and I started Monday morning with my usual 6:00 a.m. walk. Was out by myself with a heavy fog lifting to a promising day. I am told that after a ¼ mile or so, almost to the waterfront, I suddenly collapsed. About 30 seconds behind me was a cardiologist out for a morning run. He reached me on my hands and knees in what he described as a prayer-like position. I had gone into cardiac arrest, had stopped breathing, and was blue in color. While the physician began CPR, another bystander called 911.

After 5 minutes of cardiopulmonary resuscitation, EMT’s arrived with a defibrillator and shocked my heart so that life sustaining rhythm returned. Then into the ambulance, an airway and IV inserted and off to the hospital where I awoke 2 days later and met my second wave of guardian angels. Nurses, physicians, and my ever-constant wife, sons and daughters-in-law. My care has been such from my initial trial to my recovery that I haven’t come anywhere near a why-me moment. Although I never lose sight of how lucky I am to still be around, luck had nothing to do with my survival. I was blessed to have a life-saving chain of people who one after the other had the courage and knowledge to help a stranger.

The strongest link in that chain of survival was the physician who gave me the chance to begin my journey to eventual recovery. I am certain that he struggled to the point of exhaustion but didn’t come close to quitting on me. What can I do? I don’t fully know yet, but I’m headed off to obtain my CPR certificate in several days and from there it’s full speed ahead to fight this disease for myself and, most importantly, for others.

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