Friday, September 15, 2017

Heimlich Maneuver

©9/14/2017 Linda Goodman

Image result for heimlich maneuver


A decade ago my husband, Phil, and I were having dinner at a restaurant in Chester, Virginia. I was about halfway through my salad when an elderly woman came running to our table crying,  “Please, please, help my husband! He’s choking, and he can’t breathe!”
Phil immediately stood up from his chair, rushed over to the man, picked him up out of his chair, turned him around, wrapped his own arms around him, and administered the Heimlich Maneuver. On the second rapid squeeze, a huge (for one swallow anyway) piece of steak came flying out of the man’s mouth and landed on the floor.
The quite shaken woman thanked Phil profusely, and the man even offered to pay for our dinners. “Nonsense!” Phil told them. “You could have approached anyone in this restaurant, and they would have done the same.” We left the restaurant without leaving our names. Nor did we get their names. I felt extremely proud of my husband. He acted like it was nothing, but he had saved a man’s life.
A week ago, I myself had the opportunity to administer the Heimlich Maneuver for the first time.  Because of a problem with my well, I was doing laundry at my daughter’s house. I was in her bathroom when I heard her choking. I called and asked if there was anything wrong, but there was no answer, just more choking.
Without a second thought, I ran into the kitchen. Her face was a drink crimson, and she was gasping for air. I ran up behind her, put my arms around her, and squeezed for all I as worth; one time; two times; three…..nothing….she continued to choke.
“Don’t worry,” I hollered. “I’m going to call 911.”
 I picked up my cell phone and started to dial, but I was so frantic that I could not remember her street address, or even the name of the town she lives in. I thought it was all over; that I was going to lose my only child because I could not remember her address.
Suddenly the choking stopped. She was still gasping, though the air was now getting to her lungs.  Deep sobs wracked her body. “I thought I was going to die,” she cried, once she was in control of her breathing again.
It turned out that she had not needed the Heimlich Maneuver at all. She was having a throat spasm, one of the many symptoms of a chronic disease that she is fighting. This was the worst spasm she had ever had to deal with.
Still the situation made me realize that I need a refresher course on CPR and the Heimlich Maneuver. I figure that if I review these procedures over and over again, I will have the confidence I need to be able to perform them when necessary.
I also make sure that my address book is with me and up to date at all times. A daughter is a precious thing. I will not lose mine because I cannot remember her address.



(Now that this whole incident is behind me, and I have had time to process it, it makes me think of the movie The English Patient. Kristen Scott Thomas’ character died because the man she loved had a name that was too difficult to spell. Details are important.)

Tuesday, August 8, 2017

Heartfelt Memories

By Linda Goodman

©Linda Goodman August 8, 2017

Today I attended a funeral for the sister of one of my fellow church members.  As part of the service, the minister asked for those who knew the deceased to share a memory about her. Some lovely, heartfelt moments came from those memories. They warmed my heart.

When I was 13, my baby sister Evelyn’s best friend, Ann, lost her father to a heart attack. I escorted Evelyn, who was 11 years old at the time, to the funeral at the Methodist church that was just across the street from our house apartment building.

Besides Ann and the woman she lived with, Evelyn and I were the only ones there. Ann had been taken from her mother after her mother had gone on a drunk and had set her own bed on fire. Rather than take Ann in, her father paid a women to take care of her. Ann lived in the woman’s home. Her father picked her up every Saturday morning and brought her back to the woman’s house just after dark. Often he invited Evelyn and me to spend the day with them. He told my father that he had no idea what to do with a child, and that having Evelyn and me along for the day took a lot of pressure off of him.

Ann’s Father would always buy us lunch. Afterwards we might go to a movie or a ballgame, but usually we just spent the day in the bowling alley, where beer was served freely. Before he took us home, he bought us chocolate milkshakes and treated himself to one more beer.

I cried when no one came to his funeral, but I was crying for Ann; not him. He was Ann’s only family, and Ann loved him more than anything else in the world. I knew she was scared. I was scared for her! Did her daddy have a fund set up to take care of her? If he did not, how would the woman who cared for Ann get paid? Would she still take care of Ann if she did not get paid?

I also knew that Ann was devastated that no one, other than Evelyn and me, had come to his funeral. She thought that her daddy had lots of friends at his work. She was so distraught that I could not help but feel her pain. I made a vow right then and there that I would do everything in my power to go to the funerals of the people that I knew. I would go for their families, assuring them that their loved ones were special people who would be remembered with honor, respect and love.

When my own father died, my biggest fear was that no one would come to his funeral. On the evening of August 10, 1987, the hospital had called me at my parents’ apartment to let me know that my father, who had suffered from multiple myeloma for 11 months, had passed away.  I called my brothers and my sister.  We all gathered together with my mother, trying to imagine our family without its anchor.  Tears flowed freely at first.  All we could see was darkness.

I need not have worried about people coming to the funeral. The chapel in the funeral home was full. This surprised all of us, as my father was not one to socialize. I did not think he had a lot of friends. Then something amazing happened: the minister extended an  invitation for those in attendance to share stories about my father. I heard stories about my father that were completely new to me. Neighbors told about good deeds that he had done on their behalf, never mentioning his good works to others. Co-workers told stories of his integrity and kindness.   

Then the family chimed in. My brother Lee told the story about how my father had once gotten his foot stuck in my mother’s favorite coffee pot.  Then I told the story of the time that Daddy thought the preacher was the Fuller Brush man.  My brother-in-law Donald told about how he and Daddy had saved a neighbor woman from an ax murderer. My sister Evelyn told about the day Daddy had just walked right on into the wrong house to wait for my brother Lee to come home. My brother Allen told about the time Daddy had made delicious biscuits, but had not checked the measuring cup first.  Our biscuits were filled with screws, nuts, and bolts. Suddenly the tears were replaced by laughter, and the image of our father suffering in that hospital bed was vanquished.  The stories enabled us to celebrate the strong and vital man that he had been, the man whom we were blessed to call father.


I will continue to keep my vow and give comfort and support whenever someone I know loses a loved one. I pray that you will do the same. No one should have to be alone when a loved one is taken away. A kind word is always appreciated. Heartfelt memories are golden. 

Sunday, July 30, 2017

Intruder

(c)Linda Goodman July 30, 2017 

     In the spring of 2013 I went grocery shopping and returned home with a car full of bright blue, plastic Food Lion grocery bags. My husband, Phil, and I had just moved to Waxhaw, North Carolina a few months earlier, and we were enjoying our  peaceful home in the woods. We lived on a one-half mile long street that had only ten houses on it. All our neighbors worked for businesses in Charlotte or Monroe, so they were not home during the day. My husband, however, was retired; and I worked my storytelling business from home. Sometimes the dead silence felt creepy. As I got my groceries out of the car I thought to myself, if a wild animal (coyote, bear) were to attack me, no matter how loud I screamed, no one would hear me. 
     
     Carrying several bags of groceries, I walked up the sidewalk on my way to the front door, when I glanced at one of our garage windows and noticed a man dressed in black, wearing a wide brimmed black hat, walking across the garage. It took a minute for my internal bells to sound the alarm. SOMEONE WAS IN MY GARAGE! 

     I looked again, but saw no one. Was my garage door locked? I couldn't remember.  That man could be in my house at this very minute, I realized. He could be waiting in a closet or behind a door to rob me, or worse! 

    Take it easy, I told myself; don't let your imagination run away with you. THINK! My husband was fishing with our son-in-law that day. Neither of them would be of any help to me. My cell phone was in the house. As usual, I had forgotten to put it in my purse before I left for the grocery store.

     I considered that I could get back in my car, drive to the convenience store down the road, and call the police. That was probably the smartest thing to do; but I did not act smart. I panicked. I took my key out of my purse and opened the door.

     "Phil, honey," I yelled, "I think there is someone in the house. Get your gun out of the car."

     I was hoping that this would scare the man into running out the back door, but nothing happened.

     "Whoever is in here, you better leave," I shouted. "We have a gun and we know how to use it. My husband has a sharp-shooter medal from the Marines!"

     Nothing happened.

     I lowered the register of my voice and did a fair impression of my angry husband, "We are going to leave and come back in 10 minutes. If you are still here when we get back, I'm going to blow your head off!"

     I deposited my grocery bags on the front porch and went back to the car. I drove to the convenience store and got myself a half-and-half ice tea. After hearing my story, the store clerk convinced me that I should call the police. 

     Ten minutes later, I stood on my front porch waiting for the police to arrive. When they got there, I unlocked my front door. As they searched my house I mourned the ice cream bars that had surely melted by that time. This was not turning out to be a very good day. No one had ever invaded my home before. I would never feel safe in this house again.

     The two policemen took their time and did a thorough search. They found no one. 

     "He must have run off while I went to the convenience store," I advised them. "He was probably scared of my husband's invisible gun."

     "Ma'am, there was no one in your house," the younger of the two policemen insisted. "There was no sign of forced entry, either. Did you leave one of the doors unlocked?"

     "Impossible," I said. "I am adamant about locking my doors. I check them over and over again before I go anywhere."

     "Where did you say you saw this man?" the policeman asked.

     "He was walking past the garage windows," I replied.

     The policeman's brow furrowed. "Was he walking on air?"

     "What do you mean, was he walking on air?" I asked.

     "Well, Ma'am," the policeman explained, "while we were searching the garage, I noticed that the garage windows were seven feet off the ground. The man would have had to have been very tall for you to have seen him walking past those windows."

     That had not occurred to me, but I had to admit that the young policeman was right.

     The older policeman decided to add his two cents, "It was probably old Sully," he said. "Old Sully had a fit when he found out that homes were going to be built on this land. It was land that was taken from him to pay back taxes. He took to wearing black after the building started. He was in mourning for his land."

     "Well that proves that I saw someone," I concluded. "The man I saw was wearing black. Are you going to arrest this Sully person?"

     The older policeman shook his head. "We can't arrest Old Sully, Ma'am. He died about three weeks after the construction of these homes began. You're not the first person on this street to get a visit from him. Reckon he is still mad about his land."

     After the police left and I had put my groceries away, I went through everything in the house to make sure that nothing was missing. Early that evening, while I was reading on my back deck, I saw a black flash streak through the woods behind our house. "Bye, Old Sully," I called out. "Don't come back. It's my house now."

     I never saw Old Sully again.

Tea In Tripoli: Book Recommendation

By Bernadette Nason
Pulblished by Brave Bear & Company
Recommended by Linda Goodman

I know that I have read a good book when (1) I am hooked from the first word, (2) I put off watching television shows and movies that are promising because I cannot put the book down, (3) I go into mourning when the book is over, and I cannot get it out of my head. Bernadette Nason's memoir, Tea in Tripoli, meets all three criteria and then some. This story of a young woman who believes that she can escape her troubled past by leaving her home in Winchester, England to take a job as an oil company secretary in Libya has it all: humor, angst, danger, and heartbreak. Nason is a first rate narrator who is not afraid to expose her own weaknesses. In doing so, she finds her strength.  


To find out how you can get your copy of Tea in Tripoli, email Bernadette at bnason@austin.rr.com,

https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/16910249.Bernadette_Nason

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Jesus' Disciples Went Out to Pray


©Linda Goodman,June 27, 2017
            

(to the tune of “Five Little Dinosaurs Went Out to Play”)

Jesus’ Disciples went out to pray
In the Garden of Gethsemane one day,
But Judas was coming, and some soldiers, too.
Peter said, “Jesus, I’ll take care of you.”

Jesus’ Disciples went out to pray
In the Garden of Gethsemane one day,         
But Judas was coming, and some soldiers, too
Judas said, “Jesus, we have come for you.”

Jesus’ Disciples went out to pray
In the Garden of Gethsemane one day,
But Judas was coming, and some soldiers, too.
Peter took a knife and cut an ear in two.

Jesus’ Disciples went out to pray
In the Garden of Gethsemane one day,         
But Judas was coming, and some soldiers, too.
Jesus healed the ear and said, “Shame on you!”

Jesus’ Disciples went out to pray
In the Garden of Gethsemane one day,         
But Judas was coming, and some soldiers, too
They took Jesus away, as they were told to do.

No Disciples went out to pray
In the Garden of Gethsemane one day,         
Jesus our savior died on a cross.
The world had suffered a tragic loss.

Jesus’ Disciples went out to pray
In the Garden of Gethsemane one day,         
It was three days later, and the Lord returned,
Saving us with Grace we had not earned.

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Revolution of Small Kindness

©Linda Goodman, May 16, 2017

Just when I had decided that the world was going to hell in a hand basket, a flock of earth angels convinced me that there was still hope. A few days ago, I threw on a tee shirt and a pair of  jeans and went to the Belk in Lancaster, South Carolina to exchange am ill-fitting bathing suit.

Once the transaction was complete I walked out to my car, only to find that my car key was missing. I went back inside and starting rummaging through my purse, but no luck.

A woman nearby noticed me and asked, "Is everything okay?"

I shared my dilemma with her, and she began helping me look for my key. Others saw us and joined in the hunt. There were about six ladies checking every nook and cranny in the store. Still no luck.

 Finally, one woman said, "Empty your purse."

"I have already done that three times," I told her.

"Do it again," she insisted.

In this case, the fourth time was the charm. I found the key hiding behind my checkbook.

I thanked everyone profusely, and they all said they were glad to have been of help. The woman who told me to check my purse again recommended that I get a bigger key fob.

As I walked to my car with my key, I noticed a policeman approaching me. "Uh-oh," I said to myself. "What did I do now?"

The smiling policeman said to me, "Are you the lady who lost her keys?"

I confessed that I was.

"My wife called me on the phone and told me to get over here and help you out," he announced.

"Voila!" I exclaimed as I showed him my key."But thank you so much for coming to my rescue."

As he walked away, he hollered back to me, "Great tee shirt!"


I looked down at my lime green tee shirt, which I had thrown on without taking notice of the message on the front, and read, "I am a volunteer in a revolution of small kindness," followed by a quote from Stephen Grelet, "I shall pass this way but once; any good that I can do or any kindness I can show to any human being; Let me do it now."
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Sunday, April 16, 2017

Reading Lesson


© Linda Goodman, April 2017

                In 2012, my friend Les and I, under the auspices of the Virginia Storytelling Alliance (VASA), started a story club for kids at a downtown branch of the Richmond Public Library.

We had about eight storytellers in the group, ages two through fourteen.  Les was truly gifted when it came to keeping the attention of this diverse group. The toddlers enjoyed him as much as the teens did. Surprisingly, they all wanted to tell stories.

Of course, it took a few warm up exercises to get the kids loose enough to share with abandon each week. Les had a multitude of such exercises in his belt.

One afternoon, Les told me that he had a reading exercise for them. Each child would be given a piece of paper with a sentence or two written on it.  Each sentence was another step into the main event, a story. 

“Wait a minute, Les,” I warned him. “Joey (not his real name) doesn’t know how to read.”

“I will take that into consideration,” he replied. I breathed a sigh of relief.

The strips of paper were distributed. The exercise began. Students were eager to see how their sentences connected with others. One by one the sentences were eagerly read, until, finally, it was Joey’s turn.

Joey glanced quickly from side to side, and then focused on Les, who was not being sympathetic as he stood waiting for Joey’s contribution to the story. “Well, Joey?” he inquired as he patiently waited. “Go on.”

The look of shame on Joey’s face was heartbreaking. “I don’t read,” he said.

“Joey, you can do it. I know you can. Now read the sentence.”  Les gently insisted

Joey held the paper closer to his eyes and read, “Out ….in….the…barn….” It took him two minutes to read a sentence that should have taken no more than 30 seconds. Les did nothing to hurry him along, just continued to patiently wait until the entire sentence had been read.  Watching this ordeal was agonizing. Joey’s shame and discomfort were palpable. After finally getting the job done, he crumpled up his slip of paper and tossed it into the garbage can.

“Oh, Les,” I thought to myself. “How could you? This was a child who worked hard each and every day just to keep his head above water. Why would you subject him to this humiliation?”

Les stood up from his chair, walked over to Joey, and shook his hand.

“Joey, you are my hero,” he said. “This was an easy exercise for most of the class, but it was hard for you. But you stuck it out in front of everyone until you got the job done. You are the bravest boy I know.”

How beautiful to see the various emotions parade across Joey’s face: confusion, anxiety, relief, happiness, and pride.

I learned three things from Les that day: (1) do not excuse a child from a difficult task. The world is a hard taskmaster that does not cut breaks. A child must be taught to accept challenges. (2) The child who makes the attempt to succeed in spite of possible humiliation deserves to be acknowledged for his courage in trying. (3) Children don’t want to be treated like babies. They want to be taught how to gain confidence.

I left Richmond at the end of 2012. Les and the story club, now called the Story Warriors, continue to work on stories and have been included in numerous conferences and festivals. I hear they are looking for some new members. If you live in the Richmond area, you might want to check them out.