So it is really amazing how your day just cannot be planned in the least. Yesterday I planned to do my 9 loads of laundry and watch a movie. So I began my movie and put my laundry in, I walked to go put half of it in the dryer and when I get there I hear screaming and see two little girls run out of the pool area by me. I look out the laundry room window and see a lady screaming over a body laying out at the pool. It is a little girl and I immediately know what has happened. The girl had drowned in the pool. So I knew 7 years ago I was trained in CPR and scaled the pool fence and ran to the girl. I planned to immediately jump in and do CPR when I got there and help the girl, however what they didn’t train you for is what you will see with a real person, especially a 12 year old girl.
The child had vomit all in her mouth and was completely blue and limp. The site itself sent me in a momentary shock. I saw the lady who was there was not doing the chest pumps correctly so I moved her out of the way and began to do the chest pumps. I asked her how long the child had been like that because she looked dead, the lady was screaming and I got no response, I asked again and still no response. I finally asked her if she spoke English and even though I found out later that she did, she was in so much shock she said no and could not speak English.
I could not get myself to do the mouth to mouth because the Childs tongue was out of her mouth and her recent lunch of pasta all around(not mentioning the horrific smell), I thought of a million things within a split second of time that caused me to go into shock, but I managed to grab my cell phone and call 911. All this has been done in about 30 seconds to give you a time frame on how much was happening at once.
When 911 answered after a work around of hitting numbers and retarded bullshit, I gave them the address and an EMT got on the phone to help me help the girl.
At this point about a minute or a little more into this the entire family came running from their house. (oh yeah the girl was swimming with her friends without her mother, the person who was there could not swim to get the child out of the water and the hook to grab people was missing that day even though a week earlier I had seen it, luckily and the hero of this story, the 12 year old’s friend was there and jumped into the deep end and pulled her to the side for the lady to pull her out)
The family was screaming and I was a step back now to talk to the 911 operator in order to hear. I turned back and saw a man related to the family giving the girl mouth to mouth but no one else was helping him in a useful manner, there was lots of screaming and no English. The operator asked me to ask them questions but I couldn’t get answers so he asked me if I knew CPR and I said yes and he asked me to go help them do it correct. I sat by the child pushed the family away from hitting the child’s back and screaming. I looked at the man who did some mouth to mouth and emptied the child’s mouth of food and bile. We coordinated CPR I would pump 30 times on her chest or as many as the family would allow and he would breath three times, each time more and more food water and ick would come up. We would place her on her side and scoop it out of her mouth. The man on the phone asked me if she was breathing and I continued to say now, we continued this for about 5 minutes before the ambulance was in ear distance. In my head all I could say was please please start breathing before they get here, please time is very important now. The child looked lifeless, helpless and I thought of a million different things at once while this happened. I thought of the mother crying and her child dying in my arms, I thought of my laundry I left in the dryer, I thought of the world continuing to revolve even though life itself had stopped for us in that area, I thought of my friend back home who was a life guard wondering what he would be doing differently, I thought of a million things. I could tell you when a minute had gone by or 12 seconds. I could only see the child and I continued to do the CPR and continued to see nothing, just a lifeless 12 year old girl with so much life ahead of her. I also noticed a tracheotomy scar on her neck and asked if she had had one they said she had drowned once before. (that may have been a miscommunication, but I am not sure that is what I heard).Â I prayed they would get there so I would not have to attempt something I really had little recollection about.
The EMT on the phone helped me remember much of my training and we did what we could, although because of my initial shock reaction, jumping the fence wanting to save a life, getting to the girl and almost freezing for a split second and having to overcome in a the form of a 911 call, I still felt I was failing.
Little did I know till after, NO ONE called 911, NO ONE was helping, other than the one man who helped me perform CPR. The parents were understandably in shock and unable to make reasonable decisions. One lady kept turning her on her side and hitting her back which apparently has JUST been added to the CPR course, but this was more of trying to wake up her baby, so I had to stop her a few times. They even tried the Heimlich, when I would have to divert my attention to the 911 guy who wanted me to ask questions but no one was speaking English. I don’t even know now how I was able to push away parents fighting me to get to their child for me to perform the way we did, and me someone no longer certified trying to help someone else’s child, someones blood, it was frightening, what if I wasn’t doing things right, who the hell was I. I was also pulling away the children so they would not have to see. Like I said so much happened in the longest 5 – 7 minutes in my life I could not comprehend that I was helping nor did I know.
About 15 seconds before the ambulance EMT crew got there to help, the girl took a breath, but not the breath like in a movie where they cough a little water and are all better, more of a struggling breath, but a breath non the less. We were unsure if it was reaction to the CPR or not, so we waited a moment with her on her side and she stopped, we did CPR again and she did it again and then again, in 5 – 10 intervals. It was not promising, but it was something, at this point the EMT guy was over us and sticking a tube down her throat. The guy on the phone said, like a cliche movie line, “you can hang up now but you did a good job”. It made me feel a little better but just for the cliche stance of it.
At this point about 6 police officers spread us all apart and began to talk to everyone to get the quickest stories to help the EMT understand what had happened. It turned out the little girl saw her swim to the deep end and just since, no splash nothing.
The EMT kept asking if she had fallen or hit her head, but she had not. The EMT was trying to get medical history so I asked the mother who spoke little English and was frantic and relayed it to the EMT. I kept pulling the kids back from looking because if I was in shock I didn’t want them to see what I just saw especially the girls sister.
At this point they performed another tracheotomy on the girl and put inflatable lungs in her. As they took her away the police said it didn’t look good and she was in critical stage 3, meaning she would die.
Now that the adrenaline started to come down, I stood off to the side with the lady who ran the complex and asked if I could smoke, she said I could light anything I wanted. I lit a cigarette and the man who had been helping me ran over asking for one. We sat there taking the deepest drags ever. I remember the sound from his cigarette being pulled so hard into his lungs. I also remember that I had my socks on because on the leap over the 8 foot fence I kicked them off to run faster. I took my socks off because they were covered in terrible stuff and I sat with my smoke on the verge of throwing up. Even during I wanted to throw up but I fought. I then began to cry but held back not feeling comfortable with the people there.
I began to walk out of the pool area as they prepared the crime scene. I stood by the laundry room with the man and his wife for what seemed like forever only able to see a few feet ahead of me and nothing to the sides. People kept coming up and asking why they couldn’t go in the pool and one girl walked by and asked if someone had drowned, which I found to be very tacky and then the girls sister said, â€œYes my sisterâ€ without the slightest inflection in her voice, the child didn’t even know what that meant. I wanted to punch the girl who said it. I wanted to cry for the girl. I called a girl Joanna from work and as I walked to my apartment people tried to talk to me but I couldn’t see them and walked right by and I began to break down. The adrenaline was leaving me and the tunnel vision was taking over. I walked into my house and began to cry when I saw my reflection I leaned on a wall and fell apart. I went out to smoke again and Joanna came, when she hugged me I fell to pieces again. I cried in heavy spurts. Even now today I want to cry more but I don’t feel it until it is right on the edge and quickly over.
Joanna stayed with me for about a half hour as I couldn’t stop talking, talking about every moment, talking about my laundry, talking about random shit, everything and anything in my head had to come out I couldn’t stop talking. It helped it felt good to talk but I couldn’t help but realize I had froze when I first saw this girl even if it was just a split second. This girl I thought I could save now about to die. I questioned everything I did, I didn’t think anything was useful. Joanna left after I calmed and I called my dad and we talked for a good hour. He told me how majority of CPR does not revive people. I was praying, I was talking to god, I am not very religious but I prayed so hard. I was wondering, maybe god needed help and so I was there, but now I needed gods help. When I got off the phone with my dad I called my lifeguard friend Sean back home and asked him what he thought, he said with what I had and no kits or anything I did the best I could, he said even just doing chest pumps can be good enough sometimes. It made me feel better but I still paced and could not see in front of me. I went in every now and again and watch a little of the movie I began and finished my laundry, the rest of the time I smoked through two packs of cigarettes.
I went to the apartment complex employees to see if they heard anything and they shook my hand and called me a hero, but all I felt was upset because this girl may die. They didn’t know any updates. Even as I type this I can still smell the vile smell that was around that area with the girl. No doll no CPR course can prepare you for what you see in reality. I still see semi tunnel vision and am unable to shake the first image or the image of the people over her body. I do remember paying little attention to the people around though so I could concentrate on the girl.
I called my sister and my mom. They all said I did everything I could, I felt after that that maybe I did, but I still was upset at myself, knowing now though that I could do better. What I learned is invaluable and if this ever happened again I could do better. But that didn’t help the now.
The police said I should email them to get an update tomorrow or the next day or whenever, but even then not being family I felt as though I may not know for a few days and that ate at me.
So for 4 â€“ 5 hours from the incident I replayed it a thousand times, but it was helping to keep talking about it. Around 6 I got a called from the Irvine police. They said the girl was alive! I was smiling uncontrollably.Â They said little more so I didn’t know if she had brain damage or what condition, but they said they wanted to send someone over to ask me a few more questions. I said ok.
I sat outside and waited for the officer. When he got there, he asked me if I knew why he was there and I told him no, but I figured he wanted to ask me some more questions since the whole situation was very unclear. But he said no. He told me the girl began to breath in the ambulance to the hospital on her own and at the hospital she woke up and was fine, without any brain damage. Then he pulled out a badge(coin) of Recognition and said, when the EMT got there the girl had regained her pulse. What me and that man had done had brought the girl back to life. He said we do not give these out to people often but we felt since you saved a life you deserved this, it is a great honor to give it to you. I was in shock. All I could think was, the girl was alive when the EMT GOT THERE. WHAT WE HAD DONE had ACTUALLY brought her back. I did the right things even though I felt because of my shock I had failed the little girl. I couldn’t stop smiling and laughing, I asked the officer if he would go to the house of the man who helped and he said he was already going to go there and he gave the girl who swam and brought the girl out of the water a badge too. She was a true hero!
I saw them walking outside and ran up to them to thank them, and the man said, “I could not have done that without you, you saved the little girl.” I said the opposite right to him. It was amazing how our minds worked we were completely dependant on the other person yet we both thought the opposite on the outcome. I am grateful for the girl who saved her and the man who helped me.
I called my family and told them and they were very happy. I could now actually sit down and feel better. I guess I actually did do the right thing even though looking at it I know I can do better next time. But nothing prepares you for this kind of thing. I feel stupid telling people I got a badge because I didn’t do this for recognition I did this to save the girl and I still feel that had it gone the other way, what I did may not have been to the full potential that I wanted it to be, but I also understand how this kind of situation can change everything you think and how you react, but I am just glad that when my brain failed on the initial reaction I was able to quickly divert to 911 and then do what I couldn’t in the first 10 seconds with the guidance I was helped with.
I hope these parents realize how lucky they just got and learn to take care of their children. I hope the pool makes sure they don’t loose important life saving devices and perhaps think of adding a CPR kit to the area.
And this is how my Sunday was spent.
Life is tricky sometimes.
I am thankful for everyone who helped me with this. You all helped me more than you know.
The description of the coin states:
History of Challenge Coins
Challenge Coins Surfaces during the World War I Era. The practice of carrying a coin designed specifically for a unit was popular with the Army Special Forces. Carrying the coins at all times and presenting it when challenged to prove affiliation with that unit resulted in a number of consequences for those who could not produce a coin, the most popular required the coinless soldier to buy a round of drinks. That practice continues to be popular today.