Was it luck or St. Pat that saved Charlie's life?

EDITOR'S NOTE -- The Gazette's Luck o'the Irish story-sharing project drew but one entry, - but what an entry it is - from Renate Frates of Sequim.

For her outstanding story, she gets this traditional wish: May the road rise to meet you and may the wind be always at your back.

St. Patrick outdid himself on his special day in 1997.

My husband, Charlie, experienced sudden cardiac arrest due to ventricular fibrillation.

He is still here to recount the many strokes of luck that day.

The light on the peak of the RV barn was burnt out. He put a long ladder in the bed of the truck, climbed up and retrieved the bulb.

It could have happened then, letting him fall 30 feet to the concrete below.

He then drove to Port Angeles to buy a replacement bulb.

It could have happened then, while driving, possibly causing chaos on the highway.

Charlie then went out to the greenhouse to do some work. I told him I was going to run errands after a while. When I was ready, I thought, "Oh, I think

I'll go out and tell him I'm

leaving now."

That's when it happened, and I was there.

The survival rate of a sudden cardiac arrest outside a hospital is only 5 percent. Here is the rest of the luck that day:

There was a phone in the outbuilding. I was able to do CPR, also by luck. (Many years ago, I had helped Charlie study for his EMT exam).

Fire department responders were close and came quickly.

Finally, St. Patrick performed the main event.

Charlie's heart got started in record time, and he was left without brain damage as well.

Eight strokes of luck in one day! It must have been his mother's tiny bit of Irish blood.

Renate Frates


P.S. Charlie, a career firefighter, really would want me to credit the fire department.

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