Saturday, February 06, 2010

When My Heart Goes Pounding

Note : this is going to be a painfully long blog. But I hope you will read it to the end. Because like me today, you might just be able to save someone's life. 

My mom said its a gift. I dont know.

The minute I opened my eyes, my heart went pounding madly. Like I had just done the 100m dash. Oh no, not again, was my thought. You see, everytime I have this pounding heart episode, something is bound to happen. Either to me, to someone I know, family or friend  or even a total stranger, sometimes I am there and sometimes I am not. I've had this episodes that resulted in news of death, brush with accidents, being at the right place and the right time to lend a hand, or something.  I told my husband to be careful today. He was going golfing. He looked at me and  I simply put my hand on my chest. He told me to be careful too.

I hate when this happens. Sometimes the pounding would go away and nothing happens.  Sometimes it stays the whole day, even two days without anything happening. But most of the time something will occur, even if its something small, like tripping on the stairs. But I am always glad when it stops pounding because whatever it was, then it has passed. Its over.

I decided to go for a walk after dropping Yana at the agent for her L class.  Just to calm my nerves. My heart was beating furiously, I swear I could hear it go thump, thump and thump, and then thumpthumpthumpth! Just before we left, I saw a safety pin on the floor. Picked it up and without giving it a thought, put it in my pocket. That pin, I think, saved someone's life today.

I reached about 720am. Quite a number of people were already there.  Walking with a friend or alone. I started my walk and read some quran verses to calm my nerves. But my heart just pounded harder. I walked 2 rounds. My heart didnt get any better. One last one I told myself.

Ahead of me I saw this guy bent at his waist, coughing. As I got nearer he suddenly stood up straight and started to stagger backwards. I reached just in time to catch him from the back and staggered with his weight but managed to put him on the ground. Felt a sharp pain in my right knee. Took one look at him and I knew he just had a heart attack and going into a stroke. Few people came to help. I propped him against a guy. Told someone to call the ambulance. Found his phone and passed it to someone to try and get his family member.

The man was really weak and his face muscle was loosening. I panicked. Then it all came back to me. What I had been reading all these years and committed it to memory and all the things to be done, that I had played in my mind over and over again came back in a rush. No point in doing the the stroke test. He definitely had one. Next step. I needed something sharp. THE SAFETY PIN. Most of the joggers are with us by now. I scanned the crowd and saw Karen and nodded to her. She came over immediately. I started pricking his fingers one by one and let a drop or two of blood flowed and told Karen to rub his other hand, and did the same with his other hand. And methodically without thinking I did his earlobes. And suddenly the ambulance siren was blasting, and two guys were with us. I told the medic what happened and what I did. Someone shouted "I am his son". I stood and watched the medic checked him over and do their thing. His son came over and I cant remember giving him my number or taking his. Next thing I knew he was already in the ambulance and ready to leave. One of the medics came to me. "Kak you saved his life" patted me on the back and then they were blasting away.

Suddenly I had to sit down. Someone produced a bottle of water. I gulped it down. Now the people fussed over ME. I am okay I told them. Just in shock. Need sometime to recover. No one continued walking, they stayed to talk about what just happened. Karen stayed with me till I felt better. One guy asked me if I was a nurse and how I knew what to do. I simply smiled. Didnt trust myself to start speaking for I might just burst into tears that was so threathening to come. I felt better got up and got an ovation from the crowd. Some of the older guys came and patted my back. One told me that he hoped I would be around if that happened to him! They walked me back to my car and made sure I was ok. I assured them I was. I drove straight to my GP. My knee was throbbing. I think I must have twisted my knee when I caught him and staggered with his weight.
Slight swelling. Told him I have a run tonight. He looked at me and sighed. "Ok, I will give you a jab" but no guarantee. If you walk and there is pain you stop. I promised to be a good girl and listen to my knee. Before 10am  I was home, I showered and had breakfast. And sat and replayed what happened. I shuddered at the thought that things might have gone wrong. And realised. My heart stopped pounding. I dont know if what I did saved him. But I do know that I tried my best.

How did I know what to do? Simple, my husband is a heart patient. He had angioplasty when he was 35, 99% blockage of the main artery  and come June this year, it will be two years since he had his bypass operation. He just turned 48 and as healthy as he should be. After his angio doctors told us that even with the procedure done, he still would face the risk of a blocked artery that might cause a heart attack or stroke. Unfortunately for him its hereditary. Both his parents and their siblings all have a heart condition. Most died of heart failure, even his own father succumbed to heart attack. He was genetically flawed, the doctor said. So I went online and look for ways to help when someone has a heart attack or a stroke. What can be done to help. I am sure you would have had received emails about how to detect that someone had a stroke or how to deal with it. I came across two articles that I thought was a good one. Some medical journals say this is not accurate but I think today I have proven it otherwise. I memorised what needed to be done. And I would play it over and over in my mind, how to do it, and do it right. Since he did his angio and till he had his bypass, I would from time to time read back the article and play it in my mind. Just in case I have to do it to him. I slacked a lot in the last two years because his bypass meant he was not in any danger of sudden blood clot or heart attack. And I am glad it all came rushing back to me. I will retype the notes here.

His son called me around 11ish with good news. He was in ICU but stabilised. I might go and visit him this afternoon before I head out to Putrajaya. Oh yes I am coming tonight. I am now putting ice pack on my knees. Its not too bad. You will see me tonight. I would probably walk all the way. Kissing my sub 3 hours target.(Err 2:59:59 is still sub three right??) I will just finish it in style with  my glow in the dark bracelets just like how my heart is glowing now.

I am so glad for the dropped pin (even though there's always one in my wallet,  it meant running to my car to get it) and that I decided to walk and calm my nerves. Because sometimes when I have this "episode" I simply stayed home. I thank God for guiding me and giving me courage to help the poor man. And I thank him over and over again for not letting this man die in my arms. I browsed thru FB before writing this and Kash's  update was "what is there to do on a race morning?" I guess I had one hell of a morning :). I lost my cool at the very same place a few days back, I hope today I redeemed myself!

Signs of a Stroke
The National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke notes these major signs of stroke:
Sudden numbness or weakness of the face, arms or legs
Sudden confusion or trouble speaking or understanding others
Sudden trouble seeing in one or both eyes
Sudden trouble walking, dizziness, or loss of balance or coordination
Sudden severe headache with no known cause

If the victim is aware do this three simple tests

. ask the person to smile
. ask the person to raise both arms
. ask the person to speak a simple sentence (my name is ali)

if they cant perform any of this its a sure sign of a stroke.


(do not wait, call ambulance immediately when any of the above symptoms occur and describe it to the despatcher)

Bloodletting, the procedure I did, some medical journals said its doesnt help in anyway but some argued it does help the victim. its an ancient chinese procedure that is supposed to release the the blood and hence prevent further clotting. do read up on these and make up your own mind.

Sterilised a pin or needle (or as clean as u can get it), prick abt 1mm from the fingernail. prick till blood comes out. if it does not start to drip squeeze with your fingers. do all ten fingers. victim shd be looking looking better of become more conscious. if the mouth is crooked pull on earlobes until its red, and prick each earlobe for two drops of blood. victim should be in much better state. get help immediately.

Try to remember this. You might just save someone.


Kumar Ramasamy said...

Outstanding Job June !!!!! Its amazing what you did, saving a life !!!!! Quick thinking too, the safety pin was definately put there in your path for a purpose I guess, but still I am speechless, outstanding job period !!!!

rara said...

God bless u for saving his life.
and u take care ok.. don't push urself too hard tonight. takut melarat pulak ur knee tu.

Sue said...

June, that is an amazing story. Good job!!!!!

yeen said...

wah proud ada aunt like u..