I tried to save my uncle's life.
Wednesday, July 30, 2014
This past weekend 15 members of my family went up to Estes Park for a family reunion. It was just a beautiful place. We stayed on a property that had llamas and elk. We got to pet them and feed them if they wanted. The elk liked Mike and Ike candies. Funny eh? Jason and I went on a run, we as a family went on a walk/hike for over 2 miles at Lily Lake. We went and checked out the Stanley Hotel and drove up Trail Ridge Road and took some glorious pictures. As a family, each couple is in charge of a meal. We all go to the grocery store and buy our ingredients for our chosen meal. We have done it that way for years. My sister and her husband chose to be in charge of all breakfasts and lunches because they didn't actually pay for the rental of the property because they came at the last minute due to their jobs. My mom, dad, Jason, and I decided on tacos. I love my family reunions and it's so nice to be around my Colorado family especially since my grandmother is getting older and my great uncle and aunt are getting older as well. My grandma's body is good for a gal in her 80's. She still gets around. But her mind is really bad. She doesn't even know who I am anymore. She doesn't even remember the home she raised my dad, aunt, and uncle in that she sold and moved out of a couple years ago. She is now in assisted living and I know she is frustrated because she knows she is forgetting things. But she still remembers my mom as her daughter in law, my dad, and his siblings, and their significant others. She also still remembers her brother and sister in law who were also at the reunion.
Early Sunday morning, my Uncle Ron ran into our sleeping area with was in another house saying my other uncle wasn't breathing and was not responsive. My BIL and I are both CPR/First Aid certified as is my husband. Jason, Beav, (my BIL's nickname) and I raced over into the other house. He was laying on the bed and was unresponsive. We picked him up and moved him out of the room into the hallway on the floor. I had never seen someone like that in real life and I was so scared. Beav checked for a pulse and he didn't have one. I looked at him and said we needed to start CPR. I had only performed CPR on a dummy during training. Beav did the compressions and I did the breathes. We counted the 30 compressions out loud just like I was taught to and I lifted his chin to make sure the air was going in. We kept at it for 10-15 minutes until paramedics arrived. The paramedics worked so hard on him and stabilized him. At least 7-8 paramedics and police officers showed up. Getting him down from a 2nd story house with a narrow spiral staircase was impossible. Luckily, the owner of the property lives on the premises and he said there was a trap door on the 2nd floor that was used to bring up the furniture when the home was built. We were able to peel up the carpeting and open the trap door and transfer my uncle down on the board. I stood underneath the trap door with Jason, Beav, my Uncle Ron, and other officers, EMS to lower him to the bottom floor.
Jason and I took my aunt to the hospital in our car and later on my Uncle Ron, my daddy, my mom, my sister, and Beav came shortly after. They were able to establish a pulse and blood pressure at the house. When they got to the hospital, his heart just wouldn't go. They would give him epinephrine and his heart rate would go up, but then it would drop down. He just couldn't survive what we think was a heart attack. We were trying to get a timeline on how long he was without help before Beav and I got there and started CPR. It was several minutes from what we have figured out.
He was such a good man and patient one as well. My aunt is kind of a quirky person and he accepted her wholly for who she was. They were together for 40 years which was before my momma became a part of the family and they never married. I know he asked, but I think she was too scared to. She lived at his house, but slept in her own room. It's probably one of the oddest relationships I have been around, but it worked for them. She hasn't had a steady job for years and he pretty much supported her financially. His only family is his niece who lives down in Florida. She is mentally handicapped and lives in some sort of home.
I am very concerned about my aunt. She is a pretty awkward person socially so she doesn't have any friends. Like she couldn't just call someone up and say, lets do lunch. He was her companion. He was her friend. And now, he isn't here. I really, really hope that she will take this unexpected change in her life and do something positive with it. That she could do something like join a gym and start exercising, maybe get involved in a grief group so she can get her feelings out. I want her to put herself out there because she doesn't need to sit in that house alone in her grief.
Right now they are trying to find paperwork that states his wishes. Despite the fact that he had cancer at one point and had a triple bypass about 6 months ago, he didn't have all his stuff together for my aunt to easily find. My aunt was pretty sure he wanted to be cremated. It reiterates to us that Jason and I need to get our stuff together. Jason wants to donate his body to science because of his MS.
Despite everything, I am proud of Beav and myself for taking quick action to try and save him and staying calm. I didn't know I had that kind of calmness in me in the face of adversity.
I wish they could have saved him, but I guess God decided He needed a computer genius and he lived a fulfilling life for the 71 years that he was here.