Two years ago this week the world lost a beautiful and wise soul. My stepdad Jerry was 62 and way too young to die. Jerry was not just healthy, he was obsessed with being healthy. He was a life long vegetarian, he rarely drank and he was known for coming up with "crazy" health concoctions to keep himself in peek health. Years ago he read an article on the benfits of eating tumeric and ginger. He started putting both in his morning smoothie. He is also the person I credit with allowing me to find my dharma in Yoga.
Jerry was slim and strong and by all outside standards the picture of health - not just for a 62 year old but among all adult men that I know. He did have slightly high cholesterol but apart from that his Doctor gave him a perfect bill of health. Then, on August 4, 2013 the inconceivable happened, he had a massive heart attack and went into cardiac arrest. He was on a treadmill at his gym. He was rushed to the hospital and spent 2 weeks on life support before the final decision was made to let him go.
Thanks to amazing medical technology his heart recovered but the cardiac arrest had stopped the oxygen flow to his brain - he was brain dead. At the time of his heart attack there was no one at the gym that could perform CPR or use a defibrillator. For Jerry, the short window of time before the ambulance arrived was too long. Without immediate CPR the damage was irreparable.
There are no guarantees with CPR but one thing is certain, the chances of recovery increase A LOT. Its still hard for me to reconcile how he could be at a gym and not be given CPR. Standards seem inconsistent among gym employees and virtually non-existent for Yoga teachers/studios.
If you are a in the fitness industry or a yoga teacher and you are not already, I urge you to get certified in CPR. Working with healthy populations at studios you may not think of CPR as an essential skill. I hope this story impresses how illness can be lurking unseen. My moto here and in life "Take nothing for granted".
Even if you are not in the healthcare profession CPR is an invaluable skill. You never know, one day you could give someone the gift of life.