The month of October is Cardiac Arrest Awareness month and I thought I would share information the American Heart Association posted regarding the differences between cardiac arrest and a heart attack.
I’ve always been a backstage kind of person; I prefer directing, stage managing, writing. I have performed onstage, and although, I enjoyed my experience, I soon realized I really rather be behind the scenes, and then one day two years ago, I performed some impromptu “dying” on the world stage. The “actors”, I have no doubt, wouldn’t for a moment consider themselves heroes. But what is a hero? In the television series Smallville, Clark Kent says, "The suit doesn't make the hero. A hero's made in the moment by the choices that he makes and the reasons that he makes them. A hero brings out the best in people." I just didn’t know what more to say to my heroes who were willing, ready, and able to help a stranger in distress. It’s not like Hallmark makes “thanks for saving my life” cards. (Trust me, I have looked). Nonetheless, thank you – Jesse, Pete, Mary and the rest of the Point Bonita YMCA staff, and thanks Ranger Eddy and Ranger Gibbs and the Golden Gate National Recreational Park Area for keeping me around a bit longer and not letting that morning be my final curtain call. You truly are MY heroes.
And now, I’m going to slink back to my little area “backstage”. But first, everyone reading this, please consider becoming CPR certified!!
I give this video a cheese factor of ten, but it's catchy and easy to remember and, hey who doesn't like to see firefighters dancing? The disco balls hanging from the ladder trucks kills me! Stayin' Alive recorded by the Bee Gees (1977).
"Wow. I guess disco really saves lives."
While doing some research on the Internet the other day, I came across this superb illustration set out by the American Heart Association on what is an Automated External Defibrillator and thought I would share. Click on the link for more details.
October is Sudden Cardiac Arrest (SCA) Awareness Month. More than 350,000 deaths are attributed to SCA every year in the United States and the survival rate is less than 10% unless CPR and defibrillation are utilized quickly by bystanders. I am a firm believer in everyone learning CPR, especially since the method of performing CPR has changed to a "Hands Only" approach. I also believe automated external defibrillators (AED) should not only be everywhere (high schools, libraries, churches, restaurants, etc.), and people should be properly trained on how to use them. When a person is going into sudden cardiac arrest seconds really do count. It can happen at anytime and to anyone and with a little training anyone can be hero.
I know a few of my friends think what happened to me back in June was a heart attack and that is furthest from the truth. It's fundamentally different. I like the "Apples to Oranges" campaign the Heart Rhythm Society is promoting by providing education and information to the general public.
My cardiologist explained it to my husband and I as a short circuit or when the electricity is suddenly turned off. In SCA, the heart simply stops beating. It's as if someone pulls the main breaker on your house to the off position - the power flow would be quickly disrupted, and all power to your house would be lost. The results are instantaneous from the moment the breaker is pulled. Sudden cardiac arrest functions in much the same way. The switch is moved to the off position and the heart malfunctions, loses power, and immediately stops. The person loses consciousness, as blood no longer makes it to the brain, and they stop breathing.
The heart will need to be restarted, which like using jumper cables to restart a dead battery on a car, an AED, shocks the heart back into hopefully a not so dangerous rhythm. On a side note, one thing I learned this past Monday, after meeting my rescuers, according to the final report from the AED device that was used on me, I had been shocked six times!! No wonder my chest hurt. Of course, it also dd not help, that a couple of my ribs were cracked while doing compressions on me. For those who are apprehensive about breaking ribs, at least victims can recover from a broken rib, and I have been told a time or two, that if ribs are cracking, not enough pressure is being used. By the way, Pete and Jesse, I forgive you.
A few years ago, my cardiologist told me about a new subcutaneous implantable defibrillator doctors were experimenting with in Australia and was hoping for FDA approval in the States soon. It was a device that required no lead wires to the heart and since I had an issue with breaking the lead wires, he had hoped this would be an option for me. However, both him and I had hoped that since twenty years had passed from my my sudden cardiac event, that hopefully I would never need one. What do they say about famous last words?
Boston Scientific: Subcutaneous Implantable Cardioverter Defibrillator
In addition, I am going to have to wear a Medical ID Alert Bracelet at all times from now on. I found this design. I love the double links with all the hearts. My only complaint is the bracelet doesn’t turn over, which could cause problems. Someone would have to unclasp the clasp. However, I do get lots of compliments. I had S-ICD engraved on the inside, so EMT's would be aware of my device in an emergency. My only other complaint are the daily emails spamming my inbox to buy ID bracelets. Thanks. I bought one.
I can't begin to describe how much my heart is breaking for the people of Japan following the catastrophic earthquake and tsunami that occurred on March 11, 2011.
My sister was an exchange student in Japan her senior year, and we ourselves have taken in cultural exchange students from Japan, while my cousin teaches English in Japan and has been posting on his Facebook status the conditions him and his family are going through--running out of food, transportation being difficult, gas stations out of fuel, and the frequent aftershocks. In addition, we have friends both stationed or working for the U.S. Navy in Japan, so we feel a close connection to the country. My heartfelt prayers go out to those suffering and in pain and those who lost homes and loved ones. I also pray the nuclear disaster is contained and these are no further victims.
Living in the Pacific Northwest and having experienced earthquakes, including the Nisqually quake of 2001, I have no doubt that it is not if but when a big one will hit us, and know the people of Japan will reach out to us just as we have reached out to them.
One way we can help is through donations to relief efforts. I recommend these sites.
American Red Cross
Doctors Without Borders
Love, support, and prayers.
"Hey. . . it's me."
I live in the shadows of the Olympic Mountains, in the State of Washington and I love camping, boating, hiking, and hanging out with my husband, our three boys, and two Bernese Mountain dogs.