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.