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Battling the Panic: How I Nearly Lost My Mother to a Heart Attack

Hello, everyone! I’m Cherry and I’m a Certified First Responder in Columbus, OH. I was quite moved when I read the personal post of the Yolanda survivor a couple of months back. So I wanted to share my own story. I wanted to share the time when I was relatively new at being an EMR.

I had always wanted to save people and I had saved up enough money to register for an emergency medical responder course. Training was hard. I had to remember so much and the physical tests were tough as well. I somehow managed to pull through and I was pretty pleased with myself about it.

I got my certification and I felt like I was on top of the world. As terrible as it sound, I was actually constantly scanning the horizon for any incidences that may require my assistance. Don’t get me wrong. It’s not that I wanted people to get hurt. It was just that I was so eager to test out my newly acquired knowledge and skills.

But you know that thing that life always says right? Be careful what you wish for.

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It was a pleasant Sunday brunch for me and my family. We’re a close bunch so we always try to bring the whole family around for Sundays. I was in the kitchen scraping off the last bits of Mama’s famous Shepherd’s Pie when I heard the commotion in the living room. I had to run and see what was going on. The kids were crying and my siblings were panicking. They were all around a crumpled body. My Mama right there on the floor, grasping at her chest and gasping for air.

I wish I could say my training kicking in and I immediately swooped in to save the day. I was hit by panic, just as badly as my siblings were panicking. I felt like I was at such a loss. The demons of panic clawed at my chest but I had to resist. I had to remember I needed to give emergency medical care. It took me a while but I knew I had to do this!

I yelled at my sister to call 911 and tell the dispatcher that Mama was having a heart attack. I bent down to where she was and loosened any tight clothing. She was unresponsive so I had to administer CPR. I felt my finger shake throughout the whole thing. It took the ambulance around 4 minutes to get to our house where they whisked her away to the hospital.

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I was in such a fright. What if I had done something wrong? What if I did more harm? Yet, somehow, I didn’t. I still have my Mama.

The EMT told me later on that I saved her life. I can tell you for a fact that you will feel panic. What’s important is to remember your training and fight the panic. Ram through your fright and you will save a life.