I arrived to find my mother in the critical care unit with lines and tubes running everywhere and her looking so weak and frail that I could not imagine how she can possibly pull out of this. I only ask that you keep my mother and father in your thoughts and prayers for us.
Just a bit of history that I would like to share--My parents were high school sweethearts and recently celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary--actually 51st this year! My Dad is head-over-heels in love with my Mom to this day! I never saw my parents argue and they were enjoying my Dad's recent retirement with lots of travel and a recent move to Gainesville, GA where alot of their friends live. They were the rare couple who you see still holding hands and smooching in public; they enjoy sports and travel, shopping and church together. They are still like young teenagers in love!
My mom has always been the picture of health--she does not smoke or drink, she is an avid fast-walker and can out-walk most 20-year olds! She also participates in aerobics classes and has always been a healthy eater and has been thin (except when she was pregnant) all of her life!
On Saturday, my parents were watching the East Carolina/Virginia Tech football game after returning home from a shopping trip. My Mom told my Dad that she felt 'weird' and in mere moments, she was slumpped over in her chair. My Dad, after ascertaining that she was non-responsive, phoned 911 and was immediately instructed to get her to the floor and begin CPR. My Dad, scared to death, delivered CPR to my Mom for nearly 14 minutes until the paramedics arrived. She required defibrillation a couple of times before leaving the home and again in the ambulance. The doctors are not going to do any surgery until she is stable and they are able to determine the amount of brain function that she has; they cannot tell that until she is able to be weaned from the sedatives which are keeping her blood pressure down. We still don't know much more than we did on Saturday but, she is 'hanging in there' for now.
The thing that is simply amazing to me is that my father, who has never given CPR, worked for nearly 14 minutes on my mother. Fourteen minutes! That is an eternity to someone alone in their home, giving CPR to their soul mate. I cannot imagine how he did that. As a former nurse, I've given CPR many times but, never longer than 5 minutes and never alone for more than 1 or 2 minutes! Most health care professionals will tell you that you simply cannot keep this pace for more than 5 minutes without some relief. And, most of the time in a health care setting, the family is asked to leave during these times and the family never sees the paddles brought out and used on their loved one (defibrillated/shocked).
I cannot tell you how proud of my Dad I am. He is truly my hero and when my Mom does recover, it is because of his tireless efforts and immediate response time in the home. All weekend, we have asked him if he is sore or needs anything and he continuously says no. He has not slept more than 4 hours in as many days and looks like he could go another 4 days! He is truly amazing!
So, if you would, please keep my parents in your thoughts and prayers and by all means, learn CPR--you never know when you may need it.