Thursday, Februarry 4, 2010
‘He’s my savior’
By SUE WATSON
Sara Power, librarian at Marshall Academy, was eating lunch at her desk in the elementary school library last week when she seemed to have aspirated some food and was choking.
Moments later after asking for help, Drew Rappa got a chance to try the Heimlich Maneuver for the first time.
“I was eating and something didn’t go down and I tried washing it down and it didn’t work,” Power said, retelling her story for who knows how many times.
She realized washing it down had not worked and it was getting harder to swallow and at that point she could hardly get out “I’m choking” to Rappa, who happened to be in the hall and was checking out of school.
“She came out of the room with her hands holding her throat,” he said in retelling his side of the incident. “It sounded like she was gargling water.”
What happened next was instinct, Rappa said.
“He dropped what he had and had the presence of mind to call for help,” Power said. “I turned and he put his arm around me and gave enough pressure to do what was needed.”
What happened next was not like what you see in the movies, Power said. She threw up.
Rappa said he had some information about the Heimlich from classroom posters to go on, but had not studied the maneuver.
“I was supposed to leave early that day, but something made me stay a little while longer,” he said.
Rappa said he put his knee against the librarian’s back, put his fist just above her bellybutton and pushed.
The rest of the day was kind of dreamlike for Rappa.
“It was pretty much of a shocker for the rest of the day,” he said. “I was in disbelief.”
“He told his mama, ‘it really works,’” Power said. “He was there and so he’s my savior.”
Shortly after the maneuver was a resounding success, people began responding to Rappa’s call for help.
“After I spit up, I was just fine,” said Power.
Now she is being more careful with her chewing and eating, she said.
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