I realize I ended this week's episode with a rather sudden shift in tone and subject matter, and I mentioned not wanting to go into further detail as to why.
Truth be told, I'm still coming to terms with the experience, and every day, its getting easier to understand what happened, but what I realize is that there are only positive things that can come from sharing the story, especially because it has a happy ending. THANKFULLY.
I didn't want to get into details during the show cause I didn't want to dilute the message, or misconstrue my reason for doing so.
But honestly, it weighs heavily on my heart, and I think writing about it might actually help me to move beyond it, and might actually encourage others to take action of their own if ever they are in a similar position.
Last weekend, I was at a pool party with lots of friends and families. Towards the end of the evening as it was getting dark, I decided to throw on some goggles and dive into the pool to see if I could swim from one side to the other while holding my breath. When I started underwater, I notice a dark form on the floor of the other side of the pool. Unsure what it was, but fearing it might be a person or child, I suddenly found myself swimming as fast as I could to investigate and sure enough it was the body of a little boy, my friends son.
Holding my breath underwater was never easier at that moment, I still hadn't come up for air. Adrenaline is a crazy thing. The boy was lying on the pool floor, face down, absolutely still and completely colorless. It was as if he was lying on your living room floor, but at the bottom of 4.5 feet of water. He had drowned. My reaction was to swim to him as quickly as possible and lift him out of the pool, which I did. This is a scene that has replayed in my mind countless times since then. It's kept me up at night and its brought me to tears.
My memory is somewhat splotchy but I remember coming up with his body and screaming "Help! Help! I need help!" over and over as loud as I could scream, at which time THANKFULLY his parents were there quickly, running over and pulling him from my arms.
I then recall his mom on top of him at the side of the pool doing chest compressions and counting up to 30, then pausing as his dad breathed into his son's mouth 2-3 times. At which time his mom began swiftly compressing his chest counting loudly to 30 as she did it, basically repeating the process. I learned about CPR prior to having our first child so the process wasn't foreign to me, but watching two people who REALLY knew what they were doing (he is in fitness, she is a nurse) was really powerful. Knowing that it was his parents made it even more so.
This went on for around 2-3 minutes, though my sense of time is warped. All I know is at some point, I eventually saw the boy twitch a few times ("he's moving! holy shit he's moving..."), move his arm, and finally vomit all over the pool while still lying on his back.
CPR continued until it was obvious that he was lucid and by this time, the ambulance had arrived. He was whisked away to the ER with his parents. My wife and I kept their 2 year old daughter with us to take care of her while they went to the hospital with their son.
Something to know about drowning is that simply reviving a person who has drowned does not in fact mean they are out of harms way. Secondary drowning is something that happens when water enters the lungs, like happens when someone is drowning, and restricted breathing as a result of that trapped water can take place anywhere between 1-24 hours after the incident. Risk is low (1-2%) but significant. He had considerable water in his lungs and pumping his lungs of water still resulted in about 10% of the water still in there that they couldn't pump out. He was monitored in the hospital for 48 hours to be safe.
He was also given a multitude of brain scans and tests and all tests came back positive. No brain damage, something that begins to set in after around 4-6 minutes of no oxygen to the brain.
We don't know how long he was in the water. Based on his skin color (grayish to blue) when I found him, and based on the tests and oxygen saturation in his body, the hospital expects he was likely in the pool for around 2-4 minutes. Meaning had I not gone into the pool when I did (a freaky, random decision on my part cause I NEVER swim laps thanks to a shoulder surgery years ago, and I also NEVER wear goggles cause I don't actually own any), he would likely be brain damaged at the very least, or worse yet, dead. We literally got to him, and revived him at the last possible moment.
We were lucky. So fucking lucky.This boy has been given a second chance at life. His parents were given a second chance at having a son.
CPR LITERALLY BROUGHT HIM BACK TO LIFE FROM DEATH.
Because of quick action on our parts, he is alive. On Monday while at work, I got a text message. I checked it and it was a photo of him in his hospital smock, smiling and playing. It hit me hard. That being two days after the incident. If anything had happened differently, I could instead be getting a text message with details of his funeral. Instead, I got a picture of him being a four year old kid, happy and healthy, and ALIVE.
This is why I didn't tell the story on the show. Please don't mistake this post for being a story about me and how I helped. This is not my story. This is about how knowing what to do in an emergency actually saves lives, and that's important stuff. If YOU know CPR, something that takes little time to learn.... YOU could be the one to bring someone back to life from death.
Can you even understand how powerful that is? You are literally a super hero. Magical powers. All that shit. Knowing this is the difference between life and death.
(deep breath) OK I feel better.
Become CPR certified, please: http://www.redcross.org/ux/take-a-class
We also have some of your responses to our "are portable gaming devices dead?" question from a few weeks ago, plus some super-awkward social media problems!
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Episode-wise, I'm excited to welcome onto the show my friend and my former Tekzilla co-host ! He's going to set you straight on the best home automation setup. Plus, we talk about following (or not) awkward acquaintances on Instagram.
Keep sending in those questions to me via email, or on Twitter using the hashtag #DearVeronica. See you next time!
- Sword & Laser2007 - present
- Revision3 CorporationVideo Host, 2008 - 2013
- Future USVideo Host, 2008 - 2011
- Mahalo.comVideo Host, 2007 - 2008
- CNETAudio Producer, Podcaster, Video Host, 2004 - 2007
Veronica is a TV host, podcaster and writer based out of San Francisco. You can catch her every week on the Sword & Laser sci-fi/fantasy podcast, and monthly on the Vaginal Fantasy hangout (it's a book club, don't worry).
On TV, Veronica was the host of the Doctor Who 50th Anniversary special on BBC America; she has interviewed the cast of Game of Thrones for the Season 5 premiere, and has regularly appeared as a tech expert and commentator.
As an event host and emcee, Veronica has worked with clients including Sony, IBM, Disney, Intel, Chevy, AOL and many more. Married to the wonderful @ryan, momma to fur babies Bodega and Devo.
- Emerson College