Melanie Baldwin – CPR Saves Lives Like Mine
Melanie is an active American Heart Association volunteer in Las Vegas who writes in honor of National CPR and AED Awareness Week.
On June 15, 2013, my husband and I were at home and he was hanging a picture for me. I suddenly collapsed and started to turn blue. My husband grabbed his cell phone, unlocked the front door and started Hands Only CPR while he talked to dispatch so they could send help. Without his quick action there wouldn’t have been much of me to save. He continued the CPR until they arrived, which was under four minutes, and they took over. They shocked me eight times trying to get my heart to start beating again, but no luck. They put me on the automated CPR machine that did the compressions for them while they transported me to the hospital.
I was clinically dead “without a heartbeat” for 45 minutes. They were about to call time of death in the Emergency Room when my heart started beating again. That was the beginning of a 10-day hospital stay that started with them chilling me and putting me in an induced coma. I went into the hospital on a Saturday and Monday they pulled the tube out and slowly woke me up. I had no memory of what had happened, which I consider a blessing. My husband remembers everything and to this day can’t even talk about it. The scariest moment was when they removed the breathing tube because no one knew at what capacity I would be functioning. I was discharged on June 25th and it was a few weeks more before I could go back to work.
I’m grateful every day that my husband was able to jump in and perform CPR on me when I need it and I hope we are all in a position to do that if called upon. Imagine watching someone you know and love collapsing and not being able to help them, we all need to learn CPR.