A moment of death, and life

One second, I’m staring into a dense fog rolling off Lake Michigan. The next, I’m staring at death knocking on a stranger’s door.

Some of the 20,000 bikers who were taking part in this morning’s Bike the Drive event along Lake Shore Drive were zipping past. I was thinking about the cup of hot tea I meant to bring with me. I hadn’t shot a single photograph when suddenly I hear a woman shriek. It was jarring. Life and its tendency to be fleeting immediately came rushing into focus, crashed in a heap on the dew-covered asphalt right in front of me.

It was clear what was happening. A man was having a heart attack. His adult son rushed to his side and yelled, “Dad! DAD!” He looked at another biker who was checking for a pulse. “IS HE GONE?”

Children along for the ride looked on quietly. Confused maybe. An order to call 911 was frantically issued. A woman stood and prayed. Other unsuspecting bikers cruised past, some quickly realizing the seriousness of the situation but knowing the best thing to do was continue on. It’s a good thing they did. Matt Dube, who by great fortune is a resident at Chicago’s Stroger Hospital, noticed the scene while riding the opposite direction. When someone screamed for a doctor, he rushed over to perform CPR. Dube pumped on the man’s chest for several minutes until emergency responders arrived.

Paramedics used a defibrillator to shock the man’s heart back to life, his arms suddenly moving again. Dube stood and watched alongside the man’s family, probably not yet realizing their lives were now forever intertwined. Seconds later, family members were whisked away in an ambulance and Dube made his way back to his bicycle. Beads of sweat still dotted his face.

Though obviously very sick, I’m told the man is alive and in stable condition this afternoon. He is 72.

Life can be short. Live big.

9 Responses to “A moment of death, and life”

  1. What a great story, thanks, God was with him, and the Doctor

  2. Thank you for sharing this incredible experience. When we heard yesterday what had happened to Father Wilson K. Roan, Rector Emeritus of St. Mark’s Episcopal Church (Waupaca, Wis.), we were shocked, of course. But how wonderful that he was surrounded by such support. It is grand to see how caring and competent people are: good Samaritans, indeed!

  3. The real miracle here is that Jesus Christ, in the person of Matt Dube, took a bicycle ride one Sunday and sustained this life until help arrived, and could bring His loyal servant back to life. Let us remember to give thanks to God our Father for another of His Son’s miracles.

    Thanks, also, to all of the other medical personnel who assisted in this miracle. I know that you save lives every day, but you have no idea of the reach of the reach of this child of God who is still here to serve our Master.

    Thanks also to jgeil for the compassionate photography and well written account of this miracle.

  4. Amen to the comments so far! God bless you, Mr Roane. May your recovery be swift and comfortable. Thank you jgeil, Matthew Dube, and everyone else who assisted at the scene.

  5. What an amazing story of God’s goodness and provision! Life is so precious. Blessings to Matt for his willingness to be of service. Prayers to family as they recover from this shocking yet sweet experience.

  6. I praise and give thanks for this blessing. I am so happy Father Roane is
    still with us . My life and the lives of many others have been blessed by his presence within our midst. I rejoice with his personal family and St Marks family . God is good all the time.

  7. What a compelling story – thanks for sharing, J

  8. I’m happy this story had a happy ending. But I’m also glad there was a someone who knew CPR. Maybe people will take this as a lesson to go get your certification. Believe me… it helps people a lot more than praying.

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