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Lions Club member Robert Wood, center, welcomes guest speakers.

“I’m alive because CPR works.”

This was Judge Tim Bryan’s opening remark to Marshall’s Lion’s Club and no one ever told the truth more than that. With a great sense of humor he told his story.

Feb. 4, 2021, also his birthday, he was setting up to speak at the Gladewater Rotary Club meeting about the Justice of the Peace Court system in Texas. There was only one other person there that day when Judge Bryan had a massive heart attack. Without warning, he collapsed and “dropped stone cold dead”. But that one other person, Leon Word, otherwise known as The Hushpuppy Man, knew CPR (Cardiac Pulmonary Resuscitation) and was able to keep him alive until the paramedics arrived.

Paramedics pumped on his chest, shocked him three times and rushed him to Christus Good Shepherd Medical Center in Longview. Through some very advanced life saving techniques, the doctors and nurses were able to open two blockages in two of the three main arteries in his heart. He was not improving and it was decided they would transfer him to Dallas Medical Center.

There he was placed on ECMO (Extracorporeal Membrane Oxygentation), a machine he described as a carburetor that allows the heart to rest and heal. Only 30 percent of patients placed on this machine survive. He had one nurse to take care of him and one to man the machine.

It worked so well for him that they were able to stop the medications. He shared that before all of this, he did boot camp workouts three times a week, saw a personal trainer once a week and ate healthy.

He had no family history, no chest pain and no high blood pressure. He was unconscious for four days and awakened to a huge hose in his neck connected to the machine and his wife fussing. She didn’t know where his money was or where his car keys were. He asked the doctor why eat healthy and exercise and you still end up dead? His reply? It’s just a crap shoot.

They cannot predict it, but he hopes he isn’t on the plane when this happens to the captain. He had to remain perfectly still for one month to prevent the hose from being dislodged and is now growing back hair in the bald spot that formed on the back of his head. He is slowly recovering, healing his sore ribs, is back at work and going to Cardiac Rehab.

Since only 2 percent of CPR recipients survive, it is so important to learn that skill and have the foresight to act if someone falls out in front of you. Mr. Word was making hush puppies that morning, little did he know that a skill he learned long ago would come in handy that day. Thank goodness he acted! He said either God has a plan for his life or his banker needs him to pay the bills. Either way, he is very fortunate to be here today.

Then Judge Bryan also related an interesting personal story that happened in his 30 years in law enforcement and public service. He and Chief Sheriff’s Deputy Hall Revis were returning from an FBI school in Quantico, Virginia with other law enforcement personnel, two weeks before 9/11.

Airport personnel would not allow them to board the plane because their badge numbers were not on the tickets. Maybe she thought they were going to hijack the 16 seat plane going from Dallas to Tyler? The airline called the local FBI director to vouch for them. He said the two were on the domestic terrorist watch list, but then made the necessary corrections and they were allowed on the plane to come home.

Concluding the program was Lion Shana McCann, emergency room registered nurse, who brought a CPR dummy provided by Christus Good Shepherd Medical Center Marshall, to allow members to practice the “real” feel of CPR. She described the strength and stamina to do CPR. Example given: chest compressions at 100 times a minute and must continue for some time until other medical personnel are available. She said the best way to count 100 compressions/min is to pump to the BeeGees song “Stayin’ Alive.”

She said to call for help first so paramedics can come with lifesaving equipment.

Also present was Lion Paul Moore, Jefferson Lions Club President. Jefferson and Marshall clubs are attempting to do a project together to provide its members a class to become CPR certified through The American Heart Association at the Woodlawn Fire Department. There were 21 Lions in the den and 2 guests. Lion Douglas Swafford dismissed the club with prayer.

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