Full disclosure here: I am currently grieving the loss of my grandmother, and this article is likely just as much fueled by emotion as it is by practicality.
If I am to ever end up on some psychiatric couch through this process, I probably will not be disclosing the feelings I hold due to my family and I’s recent loss. Instead, the topic of discussion will likely be about how I have witnessed my mother resuscitate both my grandparents, and how that shook me to my core.
To me, the term “CPR” was just three letters reserved for this week’s episode of Grey’s Anatomy. At most, it was something I would have to learn should I ever decide to take a hiatus from writing and go get my teaching credential. At least that’s how it was up until recently.
I will never forget seeing my grandfather’s eyes roll into the back of his head as he passed out in the church foyer six years ago. It’s only been two or three weeks since my mother and I heard a thud come from my grandmother’s room, and discovered her unconscious and not breathing in the middle of the floor.
My family and I are very fortunate that we have a longtime practicing registered nurse in my mother, who in both of the above scenarios jumped into action and was able to prolong my grandparents’ life until they could receive full medical attention.
My point in telling you these stories is that you never think it will happen to you until it does. Cliché, I know.
According to the American Heart Association, nearly 383,000 out-of-hospital sudden cardiac arrests occur annually; 88 percent of which occur at home. While effective bystander CPR provided immediately can double or triple the chances of survival, only 32 percent of victims receive CPR from a certified bystander.
Less than eight percent of people who suffer cardiac arrest outside of the hospital survive.
I wish I could say that these statistics were as effective as life experience, but who am I kidding. If someone collapses in front of me, I’m likely going to flash back to when my grandparents did the same, not to some quick Google search for medical inquiry.
However, next time (and I hope there is never a next time), I wish to be prepared to the best of my abilities. Should a passerby, friend, family member, or God forbid my own CPR certified mother suddenly stop breathing, I do not want to be caught like a deer in headlights.
I look forward to the coming discussion with my mother about how and where to get certified, and what to expect. I anticipate becoming trained and certified even more. The old saying goes “better safe than sorry.”
Get CPR certified. Be prepared. Learn life-saving skills. Pray you never have to use them.