The last weekend in April is an annual kick off to my golf season. An executive length golf course in southwestern Ontario offers a great value golf and stay package which our group has taken advantage of for over 15 years. It’s generally cold, or wet, often both. On few weekends’ we’ve left sunburned but often the ailments are self-induced and barley related.
This year, it seemed our greatest concern was a forecast for the coldest temperatures yet. And after a mild Friday morning, winds from the north dropped temperatures into a below zero wind chill and players were looking to finish to get back to the warmth of the rooms and a stocked beer fridge. But with three holes left, and with no warning signs, my uncle, the eldest member of our group dropped to all fours. It was a massive heart attack and in seconds he was rigid and breathless.
At dinner and throughout the night, there was multiple conversations, all seemingly the same; many of us simply wouldn’t know what to do if faced with that situation. As good fortune would have it, Uncle Charlie had three playing partners who all were trained in CPR and took immediate steps, all of which saved his life. Opening the airway was a critical first step. As that was happening, one of the others called 911 and helped direct paramedics to the exact location on the course (accessible off a cul-de-sac for the ambulance). The three worked as a team to provide the essential chest compressions needed to do the work of Charlie’s heart which had stopped beating. They were able to bring back a heartbeat and truly saved Charlie’s life.
Jason Truncale, Charlie’s nephew, is a US Navy veteran who was trained in CPR while working as a service crewman on USS America, an aircraft carrier. John Wales and Rod MacDonald are former staff members at Trent University and cite their training within their unique roles in the university as providing them the knowledge needed to act quickly and with confidence. As fate would have it, Uncle Charlie was with the right members of the group to save his life. He was also at one of the more accessible locations on the course.
These three acted heroically and understandably, won MVP honours for our golf weekend.
Reflecting back, I am going to use this as a lesson to get training myself in CPR, I was trained in high school but that was some time ago now. It is training I hope I never need to use, but only hope that I could act with the quickness and confidence that Jason, John and Rod did. A tip of the glass to three guys who were prepared to do what so many of us only wish we could do if such a situation arose. I urge you all to consider CPR training and prepare yourselves for a situation you hope to never face.
Uncle Charlie is doing better now, he’s still in hospital and is facing a procedure that I am sure he hopes will get him back to fishing, a little golf and maybe in time, back to his weekly 3-pitch game in his over 70 league. Charlie is 83. And I look forward to celebrating his 84th birthday and welcoming him back to the golf weekend next year!
Special thanks and acknowledgement to the first responders in Lambton Shores and incredible doctors and nurses at Sarnia General Hospital.