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Rachel's El Camino: It's not just a walk!

Hello fellow SCA survivor's and ICD recipients!!

The 25th Anniversary of my SCD will be this December. To commemorate this achievement, I will be walking over 500 miles on - the centuries old spiritual pilgrimage trail - the El Camino de Santiago, starting in France, and ending at the sea in Spain.

I was 33 yrs old when I experienced my initial SCA, and spent 47 days, in 2 hospital, and 3 different states. I experienced temporary blindness ,and lasting visual impairment as a result of oxygen deprivation to the brain. Like many of you, it is a miracle we are alive.

Back in 1992 there was no literature that dealt with the psychological impact of adjusting to this life changing event, so I wrote the book titled SUDDEN DEATH: A Survivor's Story, that was published in 2000. For about 2 years I was honored to be a guest speaker at various medical venues across the country, where I shared my unique experience with medical professionals ,and ICD recipients.

The Day I Woke Up to a Real ‘Life’ Medical Emergency

The Day I Woke Up to a Real ‘Life’ Medical Emergency
2016
by Connie Hansen
On the morning of July 4th, while vacationing in Ludington, MI. with family and friends (at a resort with cabins on Hamlin Lake), I woke to my husband Mark gasping for air. I knew something was very wrong but not sure what was happening. I could not get him to wake up, a seizure perhaps? Seconds later I ran to the nearest cabin to instruct our friend Heather to dial 911, her husband Eric (an Air Force Medic) races back with me to find Mark now on the floor face down in a fetal like position, hardly breathing. Eric rolls Mark his back and straightens him out as best he could. Mark stops breathing. Eric initiates mouth to mouth. Seconds later my brother-in-law Erik (same name) darts in the room (news traveled fast). Erik is a Police officer/Medic/Fireman.

Changes

I would just like to know if any one of you experience changes in your looks

Everything went perfectly... after the Sudden Cardiac Arrest

Healthy 25 year old female drops dead. Yeah, those things happen. My husband and I got a phone call at ten o'clock on a December night at our home in Houston with the news that our daughter had collapsed and was 'stabilized'. That was all the news we were going to get until we showed up in person in Ithaca, New York. I packed for warmth and death. After the longest airplane ride in our lives, we walked into a hospital room overwhelmed with beeping machinery and our daughter, small and unmoving, attended by a serious team of doctors and nurses. Even at this point, she was everyone's miracle--a survivor of Sudden Cardiac Arrest.

AED vs. CPR

The difference between performing CPR and using an AED

  1. An AED is a device that examines the victim's heart rhythm and advises the rescuer as to whether to administer a shock or to resume chest compression. The AED either delivers the shock when you press the button or it delivers the shock automatically.
  2. CPR pushes oxygen-bearing blood to the heart muscle and brain. The preservation of these two organs determine the degree you can function if resuscitated. CPR also delays the transition from a shockable rhythm to a non-shockable rhythm.

Which is better?

How to Help Your Loved One Come Back After SCA

If you're reading this perhaps you are lucky enough to have a loved one who survived sudden cardiac arrest. Wonderful! Let me share my personal experience with you in case it can help you unlock your loved one's mind and bring he or she back to his or her old self.
My dad had a SCA and was lucky enough to get CPR after a minute of collapse. He was in a coma for a few days. Upon waking from his coma he presented almost as a stroke victim and was unable to talk, feed himself, walk, etc.. The hospital would make some attempts to rehab him with PT and OT however most of the time the staff would not do much with him and say he was "sleeping". Well, after my own research into the matter I began to direct his care and help ensure that he reach his full potential at the time.

I'm Still Dancing on This Side of the Ground

On July 16, 2016 in celebration of life, I will be spending dinner with the two bystanders who used their collective CPR skill to save my life. On November 15, 2016, I was driving a big rig with a 53 foot trailer full of the United states Mail, I drove for a private contractor. I was traveling over the Sierra Mountains and Donner Summit in the first snow storm of the year when I suddenly died. This is more than a dramatic statement, because when the heart stops one dies. Miraculously 29 weeks later, I am reporting to you that this was my first and only Sudden Cardiac Arrest. This is 1 in 6 with a happy ending.

My Incident

Last October, I was jogging on a treadmill at my gym only going 5.2 mph, which is a slow pace when suddenly everything went black. There was no white light, no shining tunnel just an instant and complete blackout. The next thing I remember is being flat on my back on the now still treadmill with about six people surrounding me. They were asking me questions about what my name was and what day it was. I was confused but I remembered my name and the fog quickly cleared. That's when I saw the AED paddles on my chest and realized that something quite serious had just happened. The EMS had not arrived yet but I was surrounded by a very professional gym staff that had applied CPR and the AED shock, which converted my heart into normal sinus rhythm.

33 States Now Require CPR Training Before High School Graduation. What Are the Others Waiting For?

June 1-7 is National CPR-AED Awareness Week. It's time to start teaching all students CPR and how to use automated external defibrillators (AEDs) before high school graduation.

Flashback. It was 30 years ago. I was moving from New Jersey to Indiana and I only had a few days left before heading west. So I took a chance. Just before the big move, a friend drove me to the city to meet with an editor at PARADE Magazine. I wanted to write an article about the need to teach cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) in schools. Widespread CPR training was then--and is now--a passion of mine. 

CPR Realities

Your ability to perform CPR has nothing to do with strength - it is determined by your weight, your weight distribution, the stiffness of the victim's chest, and the method of chest compression - manual (with then hands) or heel ( with the heel of the foot.)

Use of heel compression quadruples the number of people that can perform 2 inch compressions for ten minutes.

When the people who are most likely to have the opportunity to perform chest compression, it it likely that they wil most likeiy be able to do so with Heel Compressions,

Write with questions to bobt [at] slicc [dot] org

best

bob

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Mission & Vision

The mission of the Sudden Cardiac Arrest (SCA) Foundation is to prevent death and disability from sudden cardiac arrest. The vision of the SCA Foundation is to increase awareness about sudden cardiac arrest and influence attitudinal and behavioral changes that will reduce mortality and morbidity from SCA.

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