Thursday, November 15, 2012

Another story - life after death

[Photo: Protection Island lighthouse]
We met John this summer. Late fifties, early retiree. He anchored his 40' live-a-board sailboat just off Lasquiti Island. In the heat of the day we sat admiring it from shore with him. He had purchased it last year from a widow whose husband had spend over $200,000 getting it ready to sail around the world, just before the husband died. The boat sat for six years before John found it. When he retired from 32 years working in Alberta, he was desperate to live on a boat. Any boat. A hulk would do. He didn't care if it had a motor, he just wanted to live on the water. But he found a dream boat instead.  
He wasn't sure if he was up to sailing across deep seas, so he set sail with two friends, a retired FBI agent and a Navy Seal, two guys ready for any emergency, from Puget sound headed for the Baja. Off the Washington Coast they had engine troubles but John managed to jury rig some parts and they headed in to Astoria to make permanent repairs.
That was the last thing he remembered before waking up in the Portland hospital. He had been dead for 3 hours. His heart had stopped and paramedics had managed to keep him breathing. He arrived at the emergency operating room DOA and the doctor asked what the hell was he supposed to do with him. Someone said 'do what you can.' And the doctor did. John is alive 9 months later due to a series of little miracles: engine breaking down when/where it did, paramedics being so close by, the doctor doing what he could.
I asked if his friends had first aid training and had kept him breathing until the paramedics had arrived. He said they were both trained but neither had administered first aid for fear of being held liable. 
I didn't ask if they were still friends.

1 comment:

  1. That is an amazing story. And it hits close to home because of the demographics. Hmm...some friends.