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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Mar 2008
    Charlotte NC

    Default Lost one, Saved one.

    I lost my dear 88 year old mother last Thursday and buried her this Sunday. She was a nurse for most of her life and cared greatly for others.

    Today I went for a sail this afternoon as the weather was perfect, blue sky 75 and light winds. First inspection not until Tuesday at 2:30 and the wife knew I needed to be on my own for a while after the funeral.

    With only a few other boats on the lake I made two long spinnaker runs and felt like the world was spinning better and I could go home. On my final leg to the marina I noticed the only other sailboat on the lake was turning circles near an island. I have on occasion had to tie the helm over and use the head, so I thought that was the reason the Cal 22 was circling. When the time went on and the boat was getting closer to the island I thought something may be wrong and turned back to investigate.

    When I got close to the circling boat I could see the skipper lying on his back with the tiller in his hand. Hailing brought no response. I dropped my sails and started the outboard, which I had just repaired and tested for a short while. I seldom use the outboard and it is normally stowed beneath the seat. Luck or fate, it was ready to use this time. I matched up speed to the boat which was still circling and tied the two together with one of the sheets.

    When I got onboard the man was semi-conscious and unable to speak. Because he was grabbing his chest and in obvious pain, I thought heart attack. He would open his eyes and try to say something but no words and not able to acknowledge whether he had a heart condition. I tried to dial 911 on my cell but was unable to get through. It was my fault as for some reason I thought I had to dial *911. I was able to get the attention of a power boater that was setting in the middle of the lake, some 300 yards away. When the power boater arrived he was able to reach 911 but there were not any police or rescue boats on the lake. After 15 or 20 minutes of trying to explain where we were on the lake, as channel marker numbers were not making sense to the operator, we decided to lift the man to the power boat. Not an easy task with boats of different heights and two men lifting another over life lines. I was afraid were going to have to rescue him from drowning if we slipped. He was looking worse by the minute and the decision was made to take the risk. When we reached the marina the fire and rescue were waiting.

    The medic was fairly quick to think sugar diabetes, and took a blood sample. I don’t know much about sugar diabetes, but the medic said he was at 30? He gave the man a shot of something and about 45 seconds later the man was talking. Ten minutes later he was able to walk to the ambulance carrying the I V in his hand.

    Police that had arrived and went back to recover the sailboats, with me and Mike the power boater, said the man was 20 to 30 minutes from death with sugar that low.

    I think my mom had something to do with me being on the lake today. I think she turned my head and pointed me in the right direction. I am very glad I was there.

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  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2007

    Default Re: Lost one, Saved one.


    That's absolutely an amazing story!

    I'm very sorry for the loss of your mother. It sounds like she was a fabulous woman. I hope it makes her passing easier to deal with knowing what a great mother she was and remembering all of the wonderful things she did for you and others.

    Congratulations on being in the right place at the right time and having the courage and motivation to help out.

    In today's world of nothing but bad news it's great to hear something so encouraging.

    Thanks so much for sharing and I wish you the best.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Oct 2003
    Rockwall Texas

    Default Re: Lost one, Saved one.


    Great story. Sorry about the loss of your mother.

    Sounds like she did a great job raising you to be such a caring person.

    Rick Hurst

  4. #4
    Ron Bibler's Avatar
    Ron Bibler Guest

    Default Re: Lost one, Saved one.

    Way to go Vern... Sorry about your loss. Its only for a short time bub. you will see her some day...

    Some time back I posted a story about a lady that hit my new truck. Today I got a call from the Guy in the ford truck... He just called to say thanks for helping him get out of his truck that he flipped 3 times...

    Check in on your new boat buddy. always good to say Hi...

    Even with all the crap going on in the world We find guys like you Vern



    Last edited by Ron Bibler; 03-10-2009 at 08:15 AM.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Spring City/Surrounding Philadelphia area

    Default Re: Lost one, Saved one.

    I'm sorry to hear about your mother Vern. My condolensces.

    Sometime luck, fate, or just life puts us in certain situations. You were in the right place at the right time Vern. Amazing.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jul 2008
    Snowbird (this means I'm retired and migrate between locations), FL/MI

    Default Re: Lost one, Saved one.

    Dear Vern Heiler,

    My sympathies on the loss of your Mother.

    Hypo (low) glycemia - symptoms and effects almost identical to hyper(high) glycemia.

    At 30 usually comatose or semi-comatose and pretty close to death.

    If you hadn't acted when and as you did, this gentleman wouldn't have made it. You're a hero in my book.

    Not the same as one from Mother, but sending you a virtual pat on the back with an "attaboy".

    More than one smiling at you with tears in eyes. Its never easy.

    Sincerely yours,

    H.G. Watson, Sr.

  7. #7
    Don Belmont's Avatar
    Don Belmont Guest

    Default Re: Lost one, Saved one.

    Way to go.

    Though you have my condolences and prayers for your loss you were definitely in the right place for that fellow. As a diabetic I can tell you how easy that can happen.


  8. #8
    Ross Morgan's Avatar
    Ross Morgan Guest

    Default Re: Lost one, Saved one.

    The world really is spinning better thanks to you. Sail on Vern!


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