Have you ever saved someone’s life before? It hadn’t happened to me until May 2014.
I drove from Bytown to Murès. Hours within which i stopped at the Canadian kennel in Elfield to drop my two lovely dogs, stopped in Harrisburg at Tim’s to get a coffee and filed up the gas tank and finally hit the Highway. Nine hours drive. One stop on the way to get some more gas. The weather was perfect and I enjoyed the wind entering my window. From time to time, I was playing with it as my left hand outside was surfing on or resisting to the wind spirit. No music, just the sound of me, the road and the whistle histing my hand. Nothing better to meditate, thinking of nothing, looking straight to the yellow line and making sure I am not over passing the speed limits. A smooth ride after all.
I arrived in Murès at 6 h pm and i went directly at my brother in law’s mother since I was to stay in the apartment upstairs that they rent for the family when they come for a visit. I wanted to be sure I had the key to get in. Thirty minutes later, after I put all my stuff inside and thanked my sister’s mother in law, I drove to my mom’s place and took in with me the food for the week. Mostly left over and fresh veggies and fruits bought earlier during the week for myself. I was a bit shaking after so many kilometres of road, speed and wind. A week before, I had decided I was going to travel to see my mom since she could not move out of her place. To much changes of environment for her mean stress and distress . This is what Alzheimer does to human being. And again, I was supposed at first to cut the drive trip in two by sleeping over at my sister’s house on the way, because it takes so long and I am not in my better years of my life. The day before I left Bytown, i called my sister to let her know that I was going to give it a try to drive to mother’s place in one shot, so no sleep over in Villemarie. So glad I did it.
Once in mom’s kitchen, i decided to prepare us a meal, some beluga lentils with rice and some veggies. Mother would help me by stirring the veggies on the skillet but would go back to her rocking chair saying that she was feeling dizzy. That happened a couple of times. I did not make any comments on it, neither took any action about asking why she would feel dizzy, although this was unusual complains from her. Julienne, one of her daily guardian, left at 7 pm for her home. Meanwhile, she was telling us some stories of her own and singing some of her own compositions. That made us laugh. Good and funny Julienne. One day I will write one of her story here, it is worth the read.
So, after table was set and we were ready to eat, it was around 7 h 30 at night. Mother was looking more at the lentils and the rice then eating it, taking one bite from time to time, enough to let me think that she did not like the meal I had prepared for us. I told her she did not have to eat it if she did not like the food. She was saying that she liked it and kept trying to eat. Then she says that she felt dizzy. She was laying back to her chair, closed her eyes and suddenly started shaking her hands and upper body. I was in a state of choc. Many questions rushed into my head. What is happening? Heart attack? Epilepsy crisis? What do I do? Then came into my head the publicity of the gentleman having a stroke. I started calling her name :
«Mother? Mother? Can you hear me?»
Nothing was coming from her mouth but the little food she had been eating. It actually looked like she had eaten more food I had first though, then I realize she was also vomiting.
«Dear God, help me!»
What would you have done if you were in my shoes?
I knew i needed an ambulance for her but since i did not know if the 911 emergency number to reach in the region i was in, i decided to called the only number i had in mind by heart, the one of my sister Joe. I called her, told her to call an ambulance right away because Mother was not fine at all. Without spending more than 15 seconds on the phone to tell her that, i rush to mother and called her name again. No response. Now her false teeth were almost out of her mouth plus the vomiting and her face look as she was in much pain. I got afraid she would choke on all that and decided to give her the first aid care.
Even though i have taken three time the First Aid courses in my whole life, i have never been in a situation where i needed to use it before then. I pulled her out of her chair by under her armpits and laying her down on the floor on her side with the proper position. I started to take was ever was left in her mouth to help her breath. some food was coming out but not the false teeth. As i was going to look further with my finger in her mouth, i heard her saying she was feeling better. She wanted to roll over on her back but i ask her gently to not move and that the ambulance were coming to take her to hospital.
«No, not the hospital, i am fine, i don’t need it she says softly» Her face looked greyish, her lips were pale but she still had her bright and scary metal blue eyes looking at me. I told her to not argue with me and that I was not in a position to care for her in this situation and hospital was a must since we did not know what had happened. Then I started saying « Well, if the ambulance is coming from Wolves River, you can die 100 times before the ambulance comes from there». A bad joke, I admit, but a reality, since i did not have any idea how emergency situation were being taking care of in this area.
Today, eight years later, mom is still alive, althougt in a care facility since 2018. Alzheimer is slowly damaging her physical agility. She loved walkjng around and sneeking in to help the staff changing bed sheets, taking her comrades hands to walk along with her. Today, 3 times a week, my dedicated brother visits her, feeds her to make sure she eats enough as the staff hurry up the meals time for each beneficiaries without taking to much care of if they ate enough or not. The schedule is more important… Yet, i am gratefull this staff cares for all these elders in lost of who they once were.
Have you updated you First Aid skills lately? Hurry up if you did not and rush to it if you have no idea how to care for someone who is in a serious health distress situation. Follow the link above for Canadian residents and make it your goal for the month.
Do you know who to call in case of emergency? What about the area where you live in ? It is always better to find out before then in a situation like i was in. I was half prepared for that but i have a quick mind and reached for some help. How would you respond in such a situation?