(It is Tuesday morning day 5; Mr. Leousis is once again replacing the gym teacher but not for physical education. Today, the class was supposed to have CPR. He addresses the students :)
"Normally, you people bug me to tell you a story, but today, I am excited because the story I am about to present to you, fits in with this course of CPR. I do not think a teacher could devise a better strategy to teach the importance of this subject than to speak about an actual personal life experience. There are three such short stories I wish to share with you. So here we go:
I was teaching at Bancroft Elementary school in Montreal when the importance of training teachers and administrators in CPR was beginning to take hold. It was the time of watching films on reels, there were no CD's or NetFlicks, so you can imagine how long ago that would be; I would say almost thirty-two years ago. At one such staff professional day, we were going to watch a film on procedures of CPR, to get a general understanding; after that, we would be trained using a manikin. In this long, 45 min. film, in which we observed such techniques as Chest compression, clearing airways, mouth-to-mouth technique, and so many others. By the end of the film, my head was spinning from overload.
I ended my school day and headed for home; it was an hour-long drive to the suburbs. I longed to get home and be with my young children, Yllet and Eiffe: Yllet was almost a toddler of two, and newborn Eiffe was only weeks old. I would typically attend to my son, Yllet, and read to him a children's story while my wife would nurse Eiffe, just before we turned in for the night: I had gone to bed, waiting for my wife to arrive. Usually, after nursing the infant, my wife would hum a lullaby as she would leave the baby's room until she came next door to our bedroom; this time, it was different; she had gone unusually silent!
Seconds later, she appears at the door, gasping for air, calling out to me, "Louis, the baby isn't breathing"! I immediately jumped up, went into the baby's room, and sure enough, the baby had gone silent. I picked her tiny body up and moved towards the bathroom sink where I tried desperately to think of what I must do; what had I seen in the film at school that day that I could use.
Sure enough, in the CPR film, there was a five-minute scene of someone holding a doll, fully rested on their left arm and using their right hand to try to dislodge whatever was stuck in the baby's mouth or throat. I tried doing this but to no avail; the baby's pink color was getting blue, and my panic was hitting the roof of my throbbing pulse! I called out to my wife to run and get the neighbor to care for our toddler while I tried mouth to mouth and whatever else came to my mind to try to save our baby. There was no time to call for an ambulance. We got into our car, a standard, VW, Rabbit model car. My wife could not drive a standard car so now, I had to manage all. Press the clutch, change gears while holding the baby in one hand, blowing into her mouth and doing much praying: "Please ancients save my baby!"
For a moment, I felt this calm as if the entire world around me was moving at incredibly slow, slow; I mean, "slow-motion" (Mr. Leousis emphasis). In the haze of sight and illusion, I could see a mother bearing her infant child in a nursing position, the infant content, Mono Lisa elusive smile, staring right at me. She spoke:
" Δεν υπάρχει δημιουργία χωρίς θυσία και τον πόνο. Κάθε φορά που η Γη φέρει βουνά υπάρχει ένα δάκρυ, κάθε φορά που μια μητέρα φέρει ένα παιδί υπάρχει πόνος. Μπορείτε δεν μπορεί να βλάψει ένα παιδί με σωματικό πόνο, αν είναι η αγάπη μετριέται και ζωογόνος - χτυπήσει το βρέφος τώρα!"
(There is no creation without sacrifice and pain. Each time the Earth bears mountains, there is a tear, each time a mother bears a child, there is pain. You cannot hurt a child with physical pain, if it is love measured and life-giving, strike the infant now!)
I could not believe what I was being told to do, how could I strike my infant, I hesitated. The hospital was at least 15 min away, the baby was not breathing, anger, and tears filled my eyes, and I cried out, please forgive me!
We arrived at the hospital gates, I got out holding my limp infant in my hand, there was no time. I gave her a crushing blow in the back, so hard that if she were not suffocated already from whatever was choking her, certainly, I would have killed her from my powerful blow!
As I saw this monstrous horror in my mind's eye, at the same time, I heard the most precious cry, which I will never forget… Our baby burst into a nagging, "wonderfully piercing cry," she was saved! We rushed to the emergency, placed her on a bed where the attending physician just pinched her baby fat, and said, "She will be o.k." I dropped to my knees as if I had carried the world of Atlas. I now knew that I should have followed through and listened to the words of the Elysium.
Till this very day, I always say, "Take Eiffe, put her on a plane and parachute her down, anywhere in the world. She will survive", she is "The Parachute Baby":
My "CPR," experience does not end there. Years later, at a Pizza Hut, while having lunch with my younger son, we heard some commotion around the bend of the restaurant. A mother's crying call for an ambulance, a father desperately trying to revive this six-year-old boy, the child was choking! I rushed over and asked the parents for permission to intervene; there were no vital signs.
I maneuvered my finger right down the child's throat searching and hoping to reach whatever was blocking his esophagus, without success. I thought of the Elysium's advice of persistent, loving pain, and I pressed deeper. I persisted and noticed that he was still alive when I pushed deeper into his throat and realized that he was gagging. He popped out a finger-sized piece of bread. He was saved!
I am no hero, but I always remember the skills of CRP and the wisdom of "The Light." Sometimes, we have to cause pain to save lives, as long as, "it is love measured and life-giving." We must take the risk at our peril if we are wrong; the only way to take ownership of your decisions and live up to your responsibilities towards others.
If I have not convinced you of the vital importance of learning CPR through my story, please accept the gift below, I hope it will someday help you save a life and make you a hero.
Oh, by the way, at the introduction, I mentioned that there are three stories I wish to relate to you; the next one will follow next time we have a class together... wait for the adventure!
By Elias Leousis,
(Η αγάπη είναι το μελάνι, η σοφία είναι το μήνυμα.)
Love is the ink wisdom is the message!
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