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In the Nick of Time
"A lot of people joke about CPR courses," says Columbus native Terry Meyer, "I admit even I once made a few cracks about mouth-to-mouth and so on. But the truth is, CPR is no laughing matter. I know that much now."
It was a warm July afternoon when Terry and one of his agents, Don Feist, were setting up for their Red, White and Boom duties.
Terry was showing Don around the Trautman Building downtown, where he would be acting as a security guard for the remainder of the night. A hardworking husband and father, Don was lively and ready to assume his station for the evening.
Terry Meyer, left and Don Feist discuss the joys of being alive.
As the two men chatted briefly before their goodbyes, however, Don did something unexpected. All of a sudden he rolled his eyes, took two steps backward and keeled over on the floor. His face turned a deep shade of purple and he gave the sound of a "death rattle."
Terry didn't even have to think. Having become CPR-certified at American Red Cross, a United Way member agency, he knew exactly what to do. Immediately Terry checked for a pulse and breathing -- there was neither. He then beckoned for a lone bystander to dial 9-1-1 and wait for the medics in the lobby. Meanwhile, Terry ripped his partner's shirt open and saw a scar on his chest, a sign of past heart problems. Terry then did a sweep of the mouth, removed a piece of gum and started CPR with two rescue breaths.
"I knew he was getting the air because the color would come back to his face and then disappear again," remembers Terry. He continued CPR for 15 minutes until the paramedics arrived.
The medics shocked Don several times and were able to get a heart rhythm. At the hospital, they thanked Terry for keeping him alive and for preventing any permanent brain damage. Don was released within the week. While he cannot remember any of the incidents on that fateful night, he lives to tell about it. "I would not be here today without the Red Cross," says Don. "My experience has confirmed my belief in the power of CPR. I think all people should be trained to perform this vital, life-saving task." Today, Don and his wife are CPR-certified and encourage everyone in central Ohio to become the same.
As Terry can attest, "You just never know when you will need it next."
©2005 United Way of Central Ohio.