Monday, March 28, 2011

Do you Think you Know or Do you Know you Know?

I had a Battalion Commander who used to ask - do you know you know or do you think you know, whenever he was passed critical information.  I had an experience yesterday that highlighted the importance of this question again.

I was standing in church when an elderly gentleman collapsed forward and began to gasp.  I caught him as he slid forward and was able to lay him on a church pew with some help.  He was having a seizure and was very pale.  I asked a former police officer to call 911, asked his wife a number of questions that might help a first responder and then tried to take his pulse.  A neighbor and registered nurse, named Celia D'orazio, was suddenly by my side and giving clear precise instructions to me and another nurse who responded to my requests for help.  Celia called out pulse readings as I relayed the information to a person communicating on the phone to our local first responders.  The gentleman gasped, shuddered violently, and then laid his head in my lap.  Celia calmly said, "He doesn't have a pulse."

Here is the time when you find out, do you think you know or do you know you know.  I had an idea of what was supposed to happen next. Celia knew what was supposed to happen.  She applied immediate CPR and after an agonizing ten to twenty seconds, brought a man back to life. 

The first responders handled the situation quickly and professionally as the service continued after a short pause.  With my legs shaking and my bald head sweating profusely, I tried to act as calmly as possible for the benefit of my four children who had watched with great concern.  After the service, I talked to Celia about how exactly she performed the CPR. I was grateful for her expertise and decisiveness.  She was calm, though she said she was shaking on the inside.  My son later told me, she had vaulted over a pew as soon as I called for help. She and the other nurse - whose name I did not catch - were the kind of community leaders who selflessly serve others on a daily basis.  They went to church and saved a man's life.

Do you know or do you think you know?  It's a question you should answer for yourself for what is important to you.  It could make a big difference for someone. 

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