Eagle-Vail woman’s life was saved last Valentine’s
Vail, CO Colorado
VAIL, Colorado ” Lynn Blake is back skiing after her heart stopped on Valentine’s Day last year.
“It’s taken pretty much a full year for a full recovery,” said Blake, a mortgage broker who lives in Eagle-Vail.
Blake doesn’t remember anything about Valentine’s Day last year, but she knows that several of her former co-workers at the Vail Valley Partnership helped save her life after she collapsed at the chamber of commerce organization’s office in Vail.
Blake’s former co-workers said they helped save Blake’s life with cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR), along with Vail firefighters and paramedics who showed up four minutes later.
“If it were not for the fire department and the people at Vail Valley Partnership, I would not be here today,” said Blake, who was 27 last Valentine’s Day.
Vail resident Sue Froeschle thought that her boss, Michael Robinson, was asking who wanted CPR training when he asked if anyone knew CPR, she said.
Froeschle said, “I do,” and Robinson told her he needed her in the conference room.
“I literally bolted from my seat,” Froeschle said.
Froeschle got to the conference room and saw Blake, whom she had never met, lying on the floor not breathing.
Scott McDonald, director of finance, put his mouth on Blake’s and gave her two breaths as Froeschle placed her hand on Blake’s chest and pushed 15 times. Someone called 911.
Blake’s skin color was dark blue, McDonald said.
Cardiac arrest is when the heart stops beating, stopping blood flow from the heart to the rest of body. During cardiac arrest, a person collapses, loses consciousness and stops breathing.
“I’ve never seen anyone that color,” McDonald said.
Froeschle and McDonald repeated the breaths and chest compressions several times.
As she barely began to breath, Blake’s normal skin color returned and she started moving her arms and head. Firefighters arrived and shocked her three times with a defibrillator and an ambulance took her to Vail Valley Medical Center.
Froeschle left the room.
“My heart was pounding,” she said. “I went back to my work station and I was just trying to take my mind off the whole thing.”
A helicopter was supposed to fly Blake to a Denver hospital, but she was taken in an ambulance because it was snowing too hard for the helicopter, she said.
Blake had brought candy hearts that morning, her second day at work, McDonald said.
“You never know what’s going to happen,” McDonald said. “A normal day at work and then something like that happens in your office.”
Froeschle said most people never get the chance to save someone’s life.
“Valentine’s day will never be the same for me,” she said. “I will always think of Lynn.”
Blake has not forgotten the people who saved her life, she said.
“There’s not a day that goes by without thinking about them,” Blake said.
McDonald had taken a CPR course more than a decade before, but when he breathed into Blake’s mouth it came naturally, he said.
Froeschle had taken around a dozen CPR classes through the years, she said.
“I can assure you when you have to do it, you know what to do,” she said.
Blake spent two weeks in the hospital. She had little energy in the several months that followed, but has gotten back to downhill and Nordic skiing this year.
Doctors never have been able to explain exactly why Blake went into cardiac arrest. Blake eats healthy and exercises, but she was stressed from her previous job, had just planned a wedding and gotten back from her honeymoon.
“Who would have ever expected that to happen to me?” Blake said. “Everyone was just absolutely shocked.”
Blake now has a pacemaker and defibrillator implanted in her heart to make sure her heart beats properly and to resuscitate her if she experiences cardiac arrest again, she said.
Blake and an American Heart Association staffer will give a Heart Saver Award to the Vail Valley Partnership, the Vail Fire Department and the Eagle County Ambulance District Thursday.
“Everyone who did the CPR on me thought they would never, ever have to use it,” Blake said. “But it does save lives.”
Staff Writer Steve Lynn can be reached at 748-2931 or email@example.com.