Sunday, February 2, 2014

CPR in the real world: Moving Forward

Art was discharged from the University of Arizona Medical Center on Tuesday, after three days of evaluation and monitoring. His arteries are clear and his heart is healthy. He now has a pacemaker/ICD (implantable cardioverter defibrillator) to handle any future electrical issues. We think the episode was triggered by extremely low potassium levels. He's wearing a sling to remind him to keep his shoulder immobile until the incision heals. We hope it will come off on Tuesday when he has his first appointment with the pacemaker people. Then we will get back on our bicycles.

I am usually compliant with medical recommendations, and Art is sometimes not. I am relieved that he has not decided he can drive; he has an early morning meeting every day and has found rides to them all so I can sleep. He has not, however, decided to refrain from drinking coffee. I keep reminding myself that each person has a right to decide on his own quality of life. It is very hard for me to keep my mouth shut.

We went to a dance last night. It had been a week since Art got any kind of exercise and he got a little out of breath. He said he was fine - that the shortness of breath he experienced before he collapsed isn't the same thing as being out of breath. Still, I got paranoid. I told my friend Judy, a nurse, and she didn't say, "He should sit down and rest." She said, "You'll get over your paranoia."!

I called the woman who coordinates the CPR classes at the resort (it's actually called CCP, or Continuous Chest Compression, as the method has changed since I first took CPR decades ago). I told her I'd be interested in speaking at the resort and elsewhere about the importance of learning the technique.

So yesterday Art and I spoke to 300 people at the monthly coffee and doughnuts gathering. The meeting was broadcast via closed-circuit TV all over the resort. Art said, "My name is Art Myers. Last Saturday I was playing pickleball with my wife - and I was winning, 10-8 - when I got short of breath and dizzy. I went to sit down on the sideline. Then I died." He handed the microphone to me and I told the story. My concluding sentence was, "I am pleading with you to take the class. You never know when you might need to save a life." We'll see how attendance goes at the next class a couple of weeks from now.

The coordinator also sent our names and our story to the public health person in Tucson. I said I would be willing to speak any time until we leave here on March 22.

We have had wonderful support from family and friends, both here and at home. I had rides to and from the hospital every day (I lost my glasses that Saturday, and I have terrible night vision), visitors at the hospital, emails and text messages and phone calls - even a casserole! People stop us in the resort to ask how we're doing.

On the inside, I am still stressed. I have done some laughing, but no crying yet. I wonder if that will happen.

14 comments:

DJan said...

You are of course paranoid! As he said, Art actually died, and the CPR (or CCP) saved his life. You were in the right place at the right time, Linda. And now you are in the process of saving more lives. :-)

Out on the prairie said...

Sounds like good health is back.

Eileen said...

How good of the two of you to share your story. I'm sure many will be touched by it, and take the class either now or in the near future.

Glad to hear life is getting back to normal. I'm guessing the tears will come when you least expect them.

Take care!

Terra said...

That is great you and Art are doing public speaking about the importance of the CPR type training, your example of a recent and real life health crisis show how valuable the training is.

Olga said...

I am so impressed that your friend's response was "you'll get over it." All the same, Art is fortunate that you were there and kept a cool head. It is so good to hear that he is recovering nicely. Since I still think CPR, it has been too long since I had the training.

dkzody said...

Very scary to have this happen when you are away from home, but sounds like you are getting great care and have good people around you. From all I have heard about Tucson, the medical care there is excellent.

Judith Bell said...

Just read your last two posts. All I can say is Wow!

Betty said...

I'm glad everything turned out all right. It must have been scary for you.

Weekend-Windup said...

Take care of your health...

Meryl Baer said...

Wonderful to hear Art is on the mend, and the two of you are speaking about your story, a great way to help others.

Retired English Teacher said...

This story continues to amaze me. Like DJan said, "you are in the process of saving more lives." That is you. I hope you get relief from your stress soon.

Dee said...

Dear Linda, I read your last two postings about Art, his dying, your using UPR, his now being out of the hospital, the paranoid you have felt, and the wondering if you will begin to cry at some point. This story is one that you need to tell many people and I'm so glad that you have already started doing so. It inspires me to take a CPR class. I'll call city hall and see if one is offered somewhere near.

I'm so glad for the two of you that Art is okay and I'm wondering what happened when he went to his Tuesday meeting with the pacemaker doctor. Please let us know. Peace.

Grandmother (Mary) said...

Paranoia seems totally appropriate!

Paul Kema said...

Aloha Linda,
It's okay to have tears of joy! The other side of the story could have been the tears we all experience when we lose a love one. Enjoy the time you have - I am! Continue to tell your story, you make our lives better!