“I can’t feel a pulse!” I said placing my hand on my patient’s neck. “I’m starting CPR!”
I laced my fingers together and placed them palm side down in the middle of my patient’s chest. I pushed down with all my might starting the count in my head, feeling the recoil of the chest wall after each pump.
“…3 and 4 and 5 and 6… push the code button, we need some help!” I said to the nursing aid in the room with me.
“What’s happening? What’s going on?” the patient’s family screamed behind me.
I wanted to answer, I tried, but my focus was on saving this woman’s life. I stopped chest compressions long enough to give her breaths and then returned my hands to her chest, keeping the counting going, knowing the rhythm was important.
Soon the room with filled with my co-workers. Each person knew their job — patient connected to the AED, rescue breaths given, medications pushed.
“I’m clear. You’re clear. We’re all clear!”
The familiar chant registered in my brain and I stepped back from my patient. Her whole body jolted and hopped up from the bed at the electrical current directed at her heart.
The pause was just long enough for me to feel the shake in my arms. I found myself panting, out of breath. Adrenalin surging through my veins.
“Shock delivered, continue CPR!”
One of my co-workers stepped in my placed and continued pumping of the chest of my patient, forcing the heart to circulate the blood to the vital organs.
Sounds of sobbing touched my ears and I remembered the family. My patient’s husband and daughter huddled in the corner.
I walked over, “Because of her heart attack, her heart went into a bad heart rhythm. One that doesn’t circulate the blood or support life. We are trying to get out of it.”
They nodded and me, eyes are big as saucers, watching everyone work. I stood with them, knowing my place was with this husband and daughter. My co-workers worked… medication, CPR, breathing, shocks and soon the words I was hoping, praying, to hear were spoken,
“I can feel a pulse!”
My patient began to move her legs around, she opened her eyes. Her husband grabbed onto me for support, the strength in his legs gone.
“Quick! Get a set of vitals, get some labs and let’s take her to cath lab,” the doctor barked out orders.
“She’s gonna be ok,” I said to the husband, “she is gonna be ok.”
This was not my first code experience or my last but each time I go through something like this, I say a prayer of thanks for my health and that of my family’s health.
Keeping your heart healthy is so important and there are many ways that a person can do this: exercise, eating right, getting enough sleep. They are simple things but they really matter.
Heart disease effects all people. It doesn’t matter you age, sex or creed. You only have one heart… you must take care of it.
I walked in the door after my shift, exhausted. Home was right where I needed to be after a day like that. The kids raced up to give me a hug and welcome me home like I had been gone for days not just hours.
“Hey babe,” Jeff said, “How was work?”
“Too exciting,” I said with a sigh.
“Hungry? I saved you some pasta,” he replied.
I couldn’t help but smile and feel like the luckiest woman in the world as my eyes found my dinner, whole wheat pasta with Prego Heart Smart sauce, beans and milk. Something simple but so good at the same time.
“Thank you,” I said to him, “Thank you for taking care of my belly and my heart.”
Step 1: Submit a photo below that shows how you care for your heart
Step 2: Fill out the information required including your name, email address and zip code.
Step 3: Write a short contest entry (up to 200 words) that corresponds with the photo and share how you care for your heart. Please be honest and sincere with all your thoughts and remember to tell us in 200 words or less.
Step 4: Confirm you’ve read the Official Rules.
Step 5: Log in through your Facebook account.
Step 6: Submit your contest entry.
You can share your contest entry on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and visit AddressYourHeart.com for recipes, tips, and downloadable coupons for heart-healthy products from Campbell.
This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of the Campbell Soup Company’s Address Your Heart initiative. The opinions, text, and images are all mine.