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Saving Life

Choice not chance

Waking Up

Sometimes you wake up early and start to go about your daily routine and everything is just as normal as you would expect. My routine today was in fact just perfectly normal. Up at six and in the kitchen, water and a push of my favorite morning button, the KitchenAid coffee maker. I routinely grind the latest Costco version of organic coffee beans in my trusty Titan conical burr grinder right before I go to bed in the evening. I do this because it’s a bit noisy and I like it nice and quiet in the morning. This morning was special because it is my day off and the weather in Carolina Beach has been sunny and warm so I was looking forward to a little coffee and reading time with my latest book, Boys in the Tree by Carly Simon. I love to start out these days on our porch with the morning sun streaming in over the pines that separate our home from the Atlantic Ocean. Another love of days like this is that I get to jump back under the covers with Daryl and wait for the coffee aroma to waft through the atmosphere of our home and beckon me to get up and fix the coffee. This morning was no different than any other morning in my nice life, except that Daryl wanted to read her book in bed but had forgotten to bring it in from her car last evening. So I dutifully threw on my shorts and hopped on down to her car to retrieve her book, while she sipped her coffee and waited patiently for my return. On the way to the car I couldn’t help but feel the warm southern air and a very gentle sea breeze. I had that nice feeling of thankfulness that I am living and practicing alternative medicine and chiropractic in such a beautiful place. The big question of the day became, should we take our beach walk first or should we go to Planet Fitness and workout, decisions, decisions.

The Routine

After that wonderful morning Cup of Joe and a couple of Carly’s chapters, I did a little book-work and Daryl got up and fixed us some breakfast. Hey, fair is fair. I got the coffee, and this morning the book, and she made the breakfast, right? Well, this little routine is so “us,” that it is more robotic than it is routine. It’s almost hilarious how routine it is. Whatever, we finally decided on the workout as the first order of the day and slowly but surely got on the right garments and shoes, washed off the night time from our faces and slathered with some Young Living Essential Oils: Frankincense and Myrrh being our latest facial skin favorites. We’re getting older now and we need all the help we can afford. After fumbling around with a key fob, that we decided would be good to put our Planet Fitness passes on, off we finally went. A quick check of the mail and letter drop off and boom, five minutes down the road and we were there.

This is Life, Let’s Live It

We checked in, put our key fob on the wall, and hit the treadmills for a little warm up. Today was going to be my upper body and abdominal routine day and I was getting pumped. I did a power warm up: 20 minutes at 4.0 speed with the incline set at 7.5. 250 calories later and sweating, I was off to the pectoral pumping machines. Today I was set to finally reach 10 full pull ups after nursing a sore shoulder for the last few weeks. Just as I was finishing my abs off and then helping Daryl get her weight right, on the pull down machine, we heard a loud thump and a little crash in a direction opposite the free weight area. We stood up and craned our necks to see behind us a fallen Planet Fitness warrior. One, then two other gym members, as well as staff members, started towards the fallen warrior. The man was having a seizure and lying very still with shallow labored breathing. I knelt down beside him on his right and another warrior was on his left. He stopped breathing and we quickly stretched him out for CPR. I, always a chiropractor, was careful to support his neck, fearing a possible neck injury from his fall. Once in position I yelled, “Call 911.! Then I said firmly, “We are doing CPR, is anybody trained?” The man on my left didn’t say anything, but seemed in control. The fallen warrior became our fallen angel, and his teeth were clenched tightly, so I tipped his head back and pushed my air through his nose. Success: his chest inflated. My new fellow warrior colleague began chest compression, as the staff arrived with an AED. As they put the patches on the chest, our angel coded again. I pressed my fingers into his TMJ regions and pried opened his mandible, only to find some dentures, which I promptly removed. I gave him another deep breath through the oral passage with his nose pinched and again, a nice chest expansion but no pulse. We waited as the AED monitored the heart rate and reported nothing. There was still no heartbeat or breath, so we stood back and “pow!,” a huge volt went into our angel, yet he remained unresponsive. I quickly repeated the breaths and the chest compression resumed. Again, success, as a pulse returned, and labored breathing began. His facial skin color began to return from ashen to pink. 

With our angel’s breathing and pulse restored I encouraged that the compression cease and in a short time the EMT’s arrived. There were a few Sheriff’s and several EMT s and they quickly took control. It was a challenge to separate myself from our angel, but I did, and I closely stood by and carefully observed the EMT s prepare their subject for transport to NHRMC. Up to this point nobody in the gym knew our angel’s name. The staff started taking names of all those present and by a process of elimination discerned his name, which I feel I should not disclose. Once the EMT s had him on the gurney and in the ambulance I was finally able to take my own deep breath and reconnect with Daryl, as she gave me a comforting hug. The last EMT walked by us and thanked me for saving our workout comrade’s life. It was a nice pat on the back that I didn’t really need, but I found it rewarding.

The gym was suddenly empty except for a few members who were trying to get back into their workouts. Everyone there seemed sullen and stunned. Daryl and I tried to finish our workouts but decided to cut it short, wanting instead to change our head-space. I thought today that I would use this experience for my blog,  because it was so damned unusual and so out of routine, but it provided that slap that you sometimes need to remind you how very precious life is and how you have to be ready for almost anything. Today our angel is thankful that there were a couple of dudes in the gym that were able to ready themselves quickly. I am thankful that Daryl and I chose the gym instead of the beach walk and that we lollygagged our way through our morning and didn’t hit the gym too soon or too late. Keeping life in perspective, it all worked out just perfectly for everybody today, even the injured. My message here is that life  always does have a way of working out, but we have to be living in the present moment to have the full experience. We have to save life and I am not just talking about saving a life. We have to save all the life that we can not just for ourselves but for every living entity in our sphere of influence.  I am happy to report that I spent most of my morning living in the present moment and for that I was ready. This is life and life is good. Be ready!

Dr. John Weisberg

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