2022 was the year two of my kids decided to make the news
Happily, both are still with us, and this is a very special Christmas for the Strauss family.
In our daughter Tasia's case we have her friend Charlie Tucker to thank and these news stories are about the award he received for being the “vital link.”
“When Tasia Strauss collapsed on Dec. 19, 2021, Charlie Tucker instinctively jumped into action, utilizing his military CPR training.
His actions that night helped save Strauss' life, an act for which he was honoured for on the one-year anniversary with the BC Emergency Health Services Vital Link Award.
He was lauded a hero.”
My husband Norm said it best on a recent facebook post, so I”ll just quote him here:
“Exactly one year ago tonight, for reasons that an entire team of cardiologists are still trying to figure out, my daughter's heart stopped beating.
We were in Mexico at the time. My wife got a very anxious call from our son Levi in the middle of the night. An ambulance had taken his sister to the hospital. Cardiac arrest. What?
Needless to say we were stunned.
In near panic, we looked for the next flight home. At that time, covid antigen tests were still mandatory. It took us a day to get on a plane out of Puerto Vallarta. In the meantime there were frantic phone calls. Induced coma. On a ventilator. Possible brain damage. A friend had performed CPR for an inconceivable seven minutes until the ambulance came.
By the time we got to Calgary airport we received word that our daughter had been awakened and remembered her name and there was evidence her ‘sassy' sense of humour was intact though she was very groggy and had not much short term memory. We started to breath deeper breaths.
By Christmas she had received an operation to install a permanent defibrillator in her chest. She'll have it for the rest of her life. The cardiologists called her a Christmas miracle. A few days later we carefully brought her home.
Last night BC Ambulance Services held a special ceremony to award Charlie Tucker, the young man who had the courage and presence of mind to save our daughter's life, an award of merit. Richly deserved, young man.
Sitting at the event while the paramedics retold the story from the perspective of the first responders and the dispatcher who took Charlie's call, was a revelatory experience.
Life is precious. That's a good thing to remember this Christmas. Another good thing to remember is that there is such a thing as heroes though they don't wear masks and capes. That idea is actually kind of silly. But paramedics and those who work in ICU, doctors, nurses… they deserve the highest measure of our respect and gratitude every day.
That's our daughter Anastasia standing beside Charlie Tucker.”
I'm so proud of them both: of Charlie for saving my daughter's life, and of Tasia for fighting to live and surviving.
It was such a special evening, and a wonderful way to lead up to Christmas. As Tasia said, we've become closer as a family and really value our time spent together. I'm pleased we've been able to document the experience and the great outcome in this way.