"How long was she under?"
"Five minutes?" the teenager cried. "Maybe more, I don’t know!"
I scooped my patient out of the water and laid her on a dry portion of cement beside the pool. The pretty little pig-tailed girl with chubby cheeks and dimples looked to be about eight years old, and as cute as a button, but her lightly freckled face looked dull and colorless, her eyes as lifeless as a plastic baby doll’s.
"I only took my eye off of her for a minute," her sister exclaimed. "I’m so sorry! Is she going to be all right?"
"Quick," I said tearing open the plastic wrapper for an Ambu-bag. "Get the monitor." My partner grabbed the EKG monitor and removed the electrode cables. "Somebody start compressions." I placed the resuscitator unit over the patient’s mouth and gave the bag a squeeze. Her chest rose and fell. Water trickled from the corner of her mouth. One of the firefighters removed his helmet and knelt by my side. He placed his hands on her chest and started pushing against her breastbone with a verbal cadence of one, and two, and three…
"Folks," I heard my partner say, "please stand back. Give us room." He pulled the backing off of a sticky electrode pad and attached it to one of her legs. He repeated the process on each of her other limbs while the firefighter and I performed CPR. "Okay," he said turning on the unit. The EKG monitor beeped. A harsh, erratic, jumpy yellow line traced across the screen. "Let’s take a look." He placed a hand on the firefighter’s arm. "Hold compressions."
The firefighter stopped. I held my breath. The EKG line flattened out, hiccuped once, and then grew into a regular patern of uniform complexes. Oh, thank you, Jesus!
I gave our patient two more full ventilations and then watched in amazement as she opened her eyes and began to cough and choke. We rolled her onto her side, careful to protect her head and neck as the clear pool water drained from her mouth and nose. "Non-rebreather," I said reaching out and snapping my fingers. Someone placed a hissing oxygen mask into my hand. I placed it over her face and waited, speaking quietly to her and praying silently as I coaxed her back to life. "Come on," I said. "You can do it. Come on back to us, come back." And slowly but surely she did. She pinked up. Her eyes opened. And then as if waking from a nightmare and realizing it was all just a terrible dream she closed those innocent blues again and began to cry. I closed mine too, but I began to pray. "Thank you, Lord. Oh, thank you, Lord."
Lord, I’m struggling. I feel like I’m drowning down here. I can see the surface but I just can’t seem to get there. Help me! Give me your hand, Lord. Please save me!
Have you been there? Where the cares of this world make you feel like you’re about to drown? Well next time you find yourself in the midst of a raging tempest with the wind shrieking and waves crashing all around, remember you’re not alone. Jesus is right there with you.
"Save us," his Disciples cried. "We’re going to drown!"
And look what Jesus did. He woke from his sleep. He stood and boldly rebuked the storm. And the wind and waves subsided. And peace fell over the scene.
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