As a Girl Scout, I took first-aid classes and practiced CPR on the inflatable dummies. We were taught that CPR had the ability to bring someone back to life after a heart attack. It does, and I never thought I’d need anything else to save a life.
One May afternoon while working with my father in his accounting office, he clutched his chest and turned blue in the face. He started falling, and I grabbed him and eased him down to the floor.
His eyes were quickly glazed over, and he lay there without moving. And as much as I tried to remember the exact procedure for CPR, I couldn’t recall anything beyond compressions on the chest and air blown into his mouth when the nose was pinched and the head was in a good position to do so.
The color came back into his face but quickly faded. I reached for the phone and called 911. They sent out an ambulance and carted him off to the hospital, where he was pronounced dead on arrival.
I was grateful he hadn’t had anything more than momentary pain. And as I watched the response of my mother, brothers and sisters to my dad’s heart attack, I realized that the pain of someone having a heart attack wasn’t only restricted to the actual patient.