Monday, March 4, 2013

Carpe diem...Seize the Day!

I can't begin to tell you how many times I have said this to myself or others as a reminder to seize each day..."Carpe diem".

I have had a life changing experience that made me realize that the words were easily said but I never realized just how deep in meaning they were.

I have had many experiences, that as a Christian, I firmly believe God had His hand on in order to remind me that He is present in my life. People He has put in my path to humble me as I live my own busy life or at times I have felt sorry for myself forgetting the bigger picture that I was never alone living my life.

Last Friday, was one of those days for me. I woke up feeling like a sloth and it was really hard for me to pull myself together and start my day. I had things to do and places to be but no motiviation to do anything. I procrastinated the entire morning, and even when I was ready to walk out the door I procrastinated a little bit more to play a couple of games on my computer. Finally, after much ado, I was on my way down the road. Beautiful morning with sunshine! Little did I know that my procrastination was actually His perfect timing of my life that day.

As I drove, I noticed an orange car on the leftside shoulder and what looked like an older man struggling to push a child into a car. It didn't feel right to me and my awareness was up because of the recent news of an attempted abduction in a nearby town. I drove down a bit and turned around in a drive way, and as I rolled to a stop two car lengths behind him I flagged a garbage truck who had noticed me as I stopped. I got out of my car and called to the man to ask if he was okay and that is when I saw someone crumpled at his feet. The man looked grief stricken and yelled back to me "She's not breathing. Help me!"

This is when I really believe God intervened and put me on auto-pilot. I seriously have never had First Aid training.

I yelled to the Garbage Man and asked if he had his cell phone which he did, so I told him to call 911. I asked the man what happened and he said he thought she had choked on something based on what she said before she passed out in the car. He tried to pull her out to help her but she was too heavy. Her face was ashen and her lips were blue. She was on her knees crumpled. I sat behind her on my knees and pulled her back against my chest and began attempting the Heimlich Maneuver but she wasn't responding and she wasn't breathing. He then helped me to lay her on her back and I propped her head with my scarf. At this point, I didn't know if she was going to make it because I truly thought it would take a miracle and I wasn't trained to bring that miracle to her.

Again, He humbles me.

The words that came to me, as I pulled her jaw open and formed a seal around her mouth with mine to blow 3 quick breaths into her mouth, were "Please God, make me your instrument and spare this woman". That was when I heard a gurgle but she still wasn't breathing. I did 3 more and we suddenly heard her take a breath. I felt for her heartbeat and it was there and eratic so I began praying over her. The garbage man was talking to the 911 responder relaying what I had already done and that she was finally breathing but it was shallow. It was all so incredibly fast but at the same time it was as if time stood still.

Up until then she hadn't opened her eyes and I was worried that too much time had gone by without oxygen. I took my fist and began rubbing vigorously on her breast bone to stimulate a response from her but she was un-responsive. I finally asked the man what her name was to which he replied, "Henrietta". I got close to her face and firmly said her name. Her eyes popped open. Beautiful brown eyes! You can not imagine the joy and elation we all felt. I can almost liken it to when I gave birth to my children and the feeling you have when you witness new Life. I kissed her forehead and told her to stay with me. She tried to close them again but I kept saying her name and told her she had to keep them open for me until the EMT's arrived. She kept them open and focused on me as I continued to pray out loud over her, I can only imagine the feeling of confusion/fear she had to have a complete stranger sitting over her and praying.

The Sheriff arrived and then a first responder, by then Henrietta told her husband that she wanted to go home because she was cold. We had no choice but to lay her in the snow. The officer and the First Responder helped her sit up and get her in the passenger seat. She was completely dazed. I found out then that she had vomited in the car and I think she must have aspirated and choked. I gave them an account of what happened from my view and then I wrote down my information and gave it to her husband. I left a few minutes before the ambulance arrived.

I have talked to Henrietta twice since then. She has no memory of what happened until that point when she opened her eyes. She told me that she knows there is no way to repay me for helping her and I told her there was never a need to feel that. In the end it was God's will and He wasn't ready for her to join him on Friday. I told her to please "Pay it Forward" to others with kindness and love. She told me that when she woke up on Saturday the intensity of what happened really hit her and how close she came to not having another sunrise to wake up with. I have to admit it hit me hard, too. I am certain there is more to why God brought her into my life, and I look forward to getting to know my new friend and her family who love her dearly.

Even on this Monday, I feel quite emotional, so very thankful and blessed. I have had a difficult year but in the scheme of things I have to remember that this life was given as a gift and with a purpose, I can't take it for granted..NOT even for one day.


Lisa Shaffer said...

Mel, this is the most amazing thing I have ever had the pleasure of reading. You are an absolute blessing to this woman <3 You know those days where you ask yourself...what is my purpose? There's your answer. Incredible. Just incredible. Love you girl <3

Anonymous said...

Such a beautiful story - brought tears to my eyes!! So thankful you were there and listened to the Spirit.

Melissa Derrick said...

Thank you Lisa...I am so glad that it touched you. I feel this need to share my experience with others just to bring that hope and realization that we all have a purpose in this l

Hi Rae...thank you so much for letting me know that you read about my experience. I love your site, btw. Look forward to reading more in the future.