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Viewpoint: A hero in the family

by Larry Belle Mission resident Ed Pednaud is a hero in the eyes of our family, and to me personally. Ed is my son-in-law.

by Larry Belle Mission resident Ed Pednaud is a hero in the eyes of our family, and to me personally.

Ed is my son-in-law. In short, his quick, calm and decisive action saved my life this past September while we were in my boat off the west coast of Vancouver Island.

On that eventful morning my wife chose to stay on the beach in the cabin with our two wonderful grandsons, Grant and Henry. Our daughter, Rae-dene, and Ed joined me aboard my boat for a run out to the fishing grounds on the outside waters of Nootka Sound. We started fishing about 10 miles from our float cabin. Each of us was wearing a medicated patch behind an ear to prevent nausea, etc. Nausea and sickness can be an issue when you boat in the ocean swells that are common in the offshore waters.

Ironically, I had never had a problem with nausea and sickness in the past. However, I decided to use one of the medicated patches on this occasion. One of the side effects of these patches is a dry throat. I recall experiencing that side effect while we fished and enjoyed another spectacular day on the water of Nootka Sound.

It was late morning and I was feeling a little hungry so I reached for a handful of almonds to eat while we fished. Almost immediately after I tried to swallow the almonds I knew I was in trouble...I could not swallow them and they were stuck in my throat. I tried desperately to clear my throat but couldn’t. At that point I reached for a bottle of water and took a drink, but still I could not clear my throat. In hindsight, my reaction to choking was classic. In desperation I clutched my throat, turned away from my family and collapsed against the back of a seat in the boat.

Ed quickly identified the emergency at hand and reacted swiftly, calmly and decisively. He performed the lifesaving Heimlich manoeuvre on me. My condition was obviously deteriorating very quickly at that point as I did not recall that Ed had used several rapid succession thrusts before the blockage in my throat was expelled, and I began to breathe again. My daughter later told me that my face was turning blue while her husband worked on me.

Simply put, Ed had saved my life. Obviously, I couldn’t be more thankful. Ed is truly a hero in our family.

I urge everyone to consider taking a basic first aid course. You never know when you might be able to assist someone in distress. Of course, on that beautiful morning in Nootka Sound I could have never imagined that it would be me in need of emergency lifesaving first aid. Both my wife and I have taken basic first aid courses. Thankfully, so had Ed.

Everyone is capable of saving a life by recognizing the signs that someone is choking and then by performing the Heimlich manoeuvre.

Larry Belle is a retired high school teacher and counsellor. He and his wife Imi are active boaters.