Saving a Life

I saved a life recently. I tell you this because CPR works. I often wondered about Heimlich who developed the Heimlich manoeuvre for choking. He used it once, in his care home, a year before he died. I bet he was thrilled. That’s how I felt about CPR, dozens of practices on dummies but never for real.

I was in Stratford with three 15-year-old grandchildren, walking to the church where Shakespeare’s buried. An elderly man collapsed as we passed. I got him in the recovery position, then eyes gawped open, he stopped breathing. I started CPR while another man called an ambulance. It took several minutes until he started breathing again.

“Sorry,” he mumbled, “I slipped. Can you help me up?” I asked him to stay down, that an ambulance was on the way.

“I can’t go to hospital,” he responded, “my friend is being buried.” He pointed to a coffin being carried into the church. The other man cancelled the ambulance and walked away, which was weird. I walked the old boy slowly to the church, making him talk, gave him feedback, then passed him to his wife. He promised he’d go to hospital after the service.

Three white faces stared at me. “He could’ve died, Granddad,” one said.

“We could’ve slipped him in with his friend,” I replied, “two for the price of one.” They laughed and relaxed.

He’s scrambled my head since. Was he ok? Did he go to hospital? We need Shakespeare’s “Seven Ages of Man” for comfort:

The sixth age shifts
Into the lean and slippered pantaloon,
With spectacles on nose and pouch on side;
His youthful hose, well saved, a world too wide
For his shrunk shank, and his big manly voice,
Turning again toward childish treble, pipes
And whistles in his sound. Last scene of all,
That ends this strange eventful history,
Is second childishness and mere oblivion,
Sans teeth, sans eyes, sans taste, sans everything.


First published in Swindon Link

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *