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  What Unprepared Can Do - By Roy - Gillies Crossing BC

  Through The Ice - By RC - Quesnel, BC

  Can't Beat the Tide - By Pat - Rocky Mountain House, AB 

  Rough Waters - By Casey - Lethbridge, AB

  Back from the Dead - By RC Pryce 


  What Unprepared Can Do.

By Roy, Gillies Crossing, BC

     A number of years ago, my younger brother in law (Don), and I decided we'd go trapping for some extra money. We were living out in the wilderness already, while Don was taking some upgrading in the city. He had come home a couple weeks before Christmas and was going to be there for three weeks, so we figured that would be plenty of time to get some trapping in, and besides, once he went back to the city, I could go out by myself if we weren't finished yet.

      We had talked to the local native trapper and he told us about one part of his line that he or the others in his village would not trap. Apparently, many many years ago there was a settlement along Woody Creek, smallpox had wiped out everyone there. They now called it Graveyard Creek. We asked permission to trap that area and he gladly gave it to us. We got our licences and proceeded to gather equipment we would need for our adventure.

     We didn't have much for trapping equipment at all, so we had to borrow what we required. We didn't have a snow machine (there was just over a foot of snow by now) so that meant that we would have to walk in on snowshoes, about a 3 or 4 mile hike from the main road. We were going to bring a tent and set up camp along the creek as we didn't plan on walking in and out everyday. We then proceeded to gather some cooking utensils, tent, pillow, blankets, rope, traps, wire and whatever else we could fit on our toboggan and on our backs. No backpacks or anything else that would have made this any easier. It took us a few days to gather everything and be ready to go. For food we packed (other than the sandwiches we had for that day) some bannock mix, coffee, sugar, and some canned beans. We didn't bring any meat, "we're going to eat whatever we trap!" were our parting words.

     Oh did I mention, at the time we were planning this spur of the moment adventure, the temperature during the day was holding pretty steady at about -20 F and at night it would dip down to -40 F. We lived 75 miles from the closest city, so when you heard the weather on the radio, you didn't know how it was going to be where we were. Everyday, you'd just kind of guess as to how much it was going to warm up, but generally, once it turned this cold, it stayed for a while. We didn't care, we were young, and this was exciting, so off we went.

     We left at daybreak in Don's truck and got to the lake a short time later, it was a 10 mile drive from the house. We unloaded the truck, loaded the toboggan, and what we couldn't fit in we carried, along with one gun. It was over 500 yards from the truck to the other side of the lake. The temperature was holding at -25 F as we struck out on our snowshoes. We had to break a trail for the toboggan as it was loaded a little top heavy, so we took turns breaking trail and pulling the toboggan. There was a bit of water under the snow on the lake and every so often our snowshoes would break through and make things a little slow going. Once we got across the lake, we followed a game trail that ran through the pines along the creek.

     By noon we had gone far enough up the creek to set up our camp, a little clearing up on a knoll among the pine trees. We had set a few traps as soon as we started up the creek, so while I set out to gather fire wood and clear a camp spot (no we didn't bring a shovel), Don went up ahead to set a few more traps. I made a fire pit. got a fire going and put the coffee pot on. I then set the tent up and went about cutting a bunch of spruce and pine boughs for each of our beds. By the time we had everything set up and with enough fire wood, it was pretty well time for bed and the temperature was really dropping. It was a long tiring day, I was sure looking forward to laying down for the night to get a good night's sleep.

     Man, it was sooo good to lay down and sleep, that lasted for about an hour and half!!! The pine and spruce boughs were now compressed and hard as the frozen ground beneath us. I woke up shaking so badly from the cold that I could hardly strike a match, to light the gas lantern we had brought with us. This was our only means of heat, as the fire was too far from the tent to do any good, and if we moved it any closer, it would catch the tent on fire. We could only let the lantern run for a few minutes at a time as it would get too hot in the tent, and besides, we forgot to bring extra fuel. Pretty well every hour, we'd take turns lighting the lantern, that way you would only have to stick your head out from under the blankets every two hours. Were we ever glad when the morning sun came up and we could get the heck out of that tent. It had warmed up a touch, but now it was snowing.

     We stoked up the fire, made coffee and bannock for breakfast and set out to check the traps we had set the day before. That night we had muskrat for supper. It was the only damn thing we caught that first day. By the time we went to bed that night (after stocking up on more boughs) it had snowed about 4 inches more. We didn't bother knocking it off of the tent, we figured what the heck, we'll just leave it on there for insulation. The snow will help keep the heat in. Well, let me tell you, that snow did two other things also, it made our four man tent squeeze down to a two man tent and every time we lit the lantern, it would rain water on us and our blankets. We were in for another night from hell. 

     Well, that night turned out as bad as the night before, cold, tired and now getting sore from our makeshift beds. But, we said we were going to stay out for three nights so we had to suck it up to make the best of a bad situation. We had our usual breakfast of coffee and bannock then went and checked our traps. We had caught a couple of beaver and muskrats, then as we approached one of the other beaver houses where we had set a trap, we saw what looked like a war zone. Sticks and snow thrown in every direction. In the beaver house itself, was a hole dug into the side of it and all we could see was two beady little eyes looking out at us. We couldn't figure out what exactly was going on, as we were using snares, drowning sets and body grip traps, that are all humane types of killing traps. That way nothing has to suffer for any amount of time. Our first thought was that we had caught a wolverine, one of the most ferocious animals in the bush. As it turned out, we had caught a fisher in a snare, the way he was held there just made him really angry because he couldn't escape, but he wasn't hurt either. With one shot of the Ruger .22 rifle, he was disposed of and we had our first good paying fur.

     That night we had a triple "B" feast. Beaver, Beans and Bannock. We then tried to get as much of the snow off of the tent and build a bit of a shelter over the tent in case it snowed any more. (like it wasn't going to, this was the end of December, for the love of pete) There wasn't much we could do with the beds, when it gets down to -40 F and you don't have some kind of soft foam under your butt, it's going to be uncomfortable. There was just enough fuel left in our lantern for one more night, if we used it sparingly.

     Well, somehow we made it through that night, checked our traps and made sure everything was working properly. If too much snow accumulates on the traps they will not release properly, resulting in less fur, thereby wasting valuable time and effort out on the line. Before we headed for home sweet home, we loaded up the toboggan with our fur and headed out just before noon. As we were crossing the lake, we started seeing more and more water coming up into our tracks. The lake was starting to flood itself. When it's this cold and you have a lot of snow on the lakes, the snow insulates the ice from getting thicker. Depending on the water flow coming into the lake will determine how much the lake will flood. The perfect scenario would be to have a really cold snap and have the lake freeze with a nice clear ice about a foot or more thick. But when  you get snow mixed in with the ice, it doesn't make for a safe structure. Same as building a house, you need to start with a really good foundation.

     When we got to Don's truck, we had to build a fire under the motor to warm up the oil before it would start. A bit of diesel and a rag in a tobacco can does the trick. At least this was the one thing we planned far enough ahead for. Were we ever glad to be home with our family. Don wasn't married, but his mother and younger sister were staying with us for the holidays.

     After looking after our fur, skinning, scrapping and stretching, it was time to get a good night's sleep. Gathering items and getting some much needed supplies to set up a better and more comfortable camp, we headed out the next morning. We drove up to the lake only to find that the lake was now completely covered in water. It was almost a foot deep at the shore line. There were no other roads around the lake, this was it. We attempted to go around the lake on the only side that we could access, but it was surrounded by swamps and they were flooded too. We had no way of getting to our camp until the water that flooded the lake froze over hard enough to walk on. We were going to have to wait this one out, we were extremely disappointed, but also glad to be able to spend some quality time with the family, after all, it was the Christmas holidays. 

     To continue on with the story, we had to wait for another three weeks before the ice was thick enough to walk on, about 4 inches thick. As it was freezing, we were also getting some more snow. Good ice is clear, you don't need as much "good ice" to walk on, as you do with snow ice. It was a waiting game, to say the least.

     Don had long since gone back to the city, so my other brother in law (the one we borrowed the equipment from) Jake and I planned out how we were going to retrieve everything we had left at Graveyard Creek. The morning we went out to execute our plan, the weather was still extremely cold. We had snowshoes, two toboggans, a thermos of coffee and some lunch. As it turned out, it took us all day to walk in and find all the traps. It wasn't just finding them, it was digging and chopping them out of the ice. Next came digging the tent out of the snow without destroying it. Everything else, like the pots and pans, we had left hanging in the trees. By the time we reached the lake, it was starting to get dark and turning colder.

     It was still light enough we could follow our tracks crossing the lake, the thing that slowed us down though, was we each had a toboggan to pull, the snow was deeper and some places the snow had drifted across our trail. We were about half way across the lake when Jake's snowshoe broke through the ice and down to one knee he went. Every time he'd try to lift his leg up, the snowshoe would catch on the bottom side of the ice and he'd have to re-adjust and try again. By the time he got his snowshoe out of the hole, his boot was full of freezing cold water. For those of you that have not worn snowshoes, your boot is laced to the snowshoe by way of a harness and the harness is attached to the snowshoe. You can't just pull your boot off, it all stays together until it gets unlaced.

     Once Jake was out of the water and away from the hole, we took the snowshoe and his boot off of his foot. He was wearing felt lined boots, so we emptied the water out of his boot and wrung out as much water as we could from his sock and liner, before putting them back on. As we continued on our way, we walked very cautiously as we headed out towards where the truck was parked. If we had another incident like this one, we'd be in real trouble. By the time we reached the truck it was dark and the thermometer attached to the side of the mirror said -42 F. Jake's boot was frozen solid and his foot was getting painfully cold. As I started to unload the toboggans into the back of the truck, Jake climbed into the driver's seat and hit the key. All the motor did was moan. It turned over about three times and the battery died. We were devastated. What next?

     When the truck wouldn't start, we debated whether to build a fire by the truck or walk a couple more miles to the closest neighbor and see if they could help. Jake figured if he kept walking, his foot wouldn't freeze up any more than it was. That neighbor was Lon, a guide who lived on the shore of the lake further down the road. Jake and Lon had a feud going on, but we figured under the circumstance maybe he would help us out. Our other option was Joe and his wife Joan who ranched about four miles further down another road. We also knew our wives would start to worry now that it was dark and we hadn't returned home yet. There were no phones, no way of letting them know that we were okay.

     As we approached Lon's house, we could see the lights on and smoke coming out of his chimney, going straight up into the atmosphere because of the cold weather. Jake elected to stay by the edge of the driveway as I walked to the door of Lon's house and knocked. Right away I could hear a dog start to bark and Lon yelled at him to be quiet as he came and opened the door. He invited me in and the heat from the wood stove felt so good on my cold face. I explained what had happened and that if he could just come and give us a boost to get our truck started, we would make it home alright. His first question was if Jake was with me, I replied yes, he was out by the driveway and very cold. He said "I'm sorry, but I don't think any of my vehicles would start in this kind of weather and you should walk down to Joe's place and see if he could help you", he then opened the door for me to leave. What respect I had for the man left that night, we never spoke again.

     Jake and I had to backtrack about a mile before getting on the road to Joe's ranch. As we approached the gate to the ranch yard, we could hear the diesel generator running and knew Joe would have his truck plugged in and ready to go. When we got to their door, Joe invited us in and promptly asked Joan to pour us each a hot cup of coffee. We told them our story and Joan started immediately heating water as she told Jake to take his boots and socks off. She then instructed one of her girls to go get some dry socks and a spare boot liner. Joan got Jake to soak his foot in some warm water and massaged his foot to get the circulation going again. In the meantime, Joe put on his parka and winter boots, then went out and started his truck.

     Once Joe had his truck warmed up, he drove Jake and I to our homes. He said he'd help us get Jake's truck going tomorrow, in the daylight. We stopped at Jake's truck and grabbed whatever valuables we had in there and left the rest, there wasn't going to be much for traffic in this kind of weather. As we drove up to our house, I could see a fire going on under my truck's engine. My wife was trying to get our truck started to go and look for us, her and the kids were getting pretty worried.

     Now there were so many things that we just were not prepared for! Today there's no way I would go out in the bush when it's that cold, without the proper equipment or the means to provide the adequate shelter to stay overnight. In our vehicles all we really carried back then was a Jackall, a shovel, a tow rope and a few hand tools. We were more worried about hitting the ditch then we were about breaking down.

     Today I carry extra oil, windshield washer fluid, tools, rechargeable flashlight, first aid kit, collapsible shovel, hatchet, tow rope, booster cables, spare serpentine belt, toque, gloves, warm coat, portable fishing rod and lures plus an emergency kit. This all fits in a tote, (other than the emergency kit) that stays in the back of my SUV.

     In the winter I also carry an emergency heater. This is made up of a coffee can with a lid and a roll of plain white toilet paper. The can is about 4" across and a roll of toilet paper fits tightly inside, (take out the center cardboard piece), you want the roll to fit as tightly as possible. If a single roll fits too loosely, use a double roll. For a fuel I use methyl hydrate, you can also use isopropyl alcohol. Just pour fuel on the toilet paper, getting it really saturated and light with a match. Either fuel will burn with a nice blue flame and it gives off quite a lot of heat. When ice fishing, we use this to heat our hut with. If you're ever going to use it in your vehicle as an emergency heater, crack one of the windows a little bit, for ventilation, just to be on the safe side. 

     My emergency kit is about 8 inches wide, 12 inches long and 4 inches high. It contains the following items:

  • lighter/matches

  • LED flashlight

  • copper snare wire

  • One 5 foot 1/8" aircraft cable snare with lock

  • emergency blanket

  • bag of lint

  • 3 candles

  • 50 feet paracord

  • band aids & 4" compress

  • compass

  • roll of hay wire

  • surveyors tape

  • towelettes

  • pocket knife

  • 8 feet of clear plastic tubing

  • slingshot

  • fish net hammock

  • carpenters pencil with some duct tape wrapped around it

  • small container of nails, screws and paper clips

It fits under the back seat of my SUV, don't even know it's there.


     Through the Ice

By RC, Quesnel BC

     It was still dark when I left home and I had to drive 128 km of gravel road till I got to the lake and meadow that I had found yesterday. This was on the far side of my trap-line and I wanted to explore as much of it as I could while the weather was holding. It was hovering around -20 with clear skies and no wind. Perfect day for trapping. 

    The sun was out by the time I had driven to the small nameless lake that was about three kilometres from the main road. We didn't have much snow yet this winter, it was the middle of November and we only had about three inches.The lake was about the size of a football field with a massive flooded meadow behind it. At one time, it looked like someone had homesteaded at the top end of the lake. A couple of old rotten fallen down log buildings are all that remained. It was kind of a beautiful spot, you could see the appeal to live here. Only timber around was lodge-pole pine and a handful of poplars, not much for growing, mostly gravel with a maximum of a couple inches of topsoil. That didn't matter now, I could make out three beaver houses around the lake and a few muskrat push-ups. I was guessing the meadows would be loaded with muskrats as well. Score.

     I got my gear on, unloaded my snowmobile and my pull behind aluminum sled. I packed the sled with 330 conibears, a power saw, axe and a backpack with wire, pliers and  miscellaneous items that I might need. The ice on the lake was about 6 inches of good clear ice, making it strong enough for a snow machine plus the gear. 

     Once I was loaded, I headed across the lake to the first beaver house. I stopped the snowmobile about fifty feet away and walked in from there. Whenever I travel on new ice I always carry a walking stick with me and strike the ice in front of me to make sure there are no weak spots where I'm going to step. As you strike down with the walking stick the ice will make a dull thud sound, when the ice gets thinner, the sound will change. Just as I heard the difference in the sound, I was through the ice. I had fallen in a beaver run. I was only about 20 feet from shore, but I could not touch the bottom. Mind you, I never went completely in. As I went down I outstretched my arms and held on to my walking stick. The ice on each side of me was thick enough to hold my weight and that kept me from going completely in. I was wearing mitts, a parka, wool pants and snowmobile boots with liners. It didn't take long before I could feel the freezing cold water touching my skin. I had to pull myself out as quickly as possible. 

     On the end of my walking stick I had drilled a hole 3 inches deep and pounded a 4 inch spike into the hole. I then cut the end of the spike off and sharpened it to a point, I tapered the wood around the spike so that it was more like a spear. At the other end I drilled and screwed in a hook for pulling traps out of the water. Right now, the spear end of the walking stick was helping me pull myself out of this frigid would be grave.

     As soon as I was out, I ran to the snowmobile, fired it up and headed back to the truck. By the time I reached the truck, everything was freezing pretty hard, especially my pants and underwear.  Once I got there I opened the door, reached in the back and got a backpack full of dry clothes. I always carried a spare of everything, working alone, with no-one around within at least 30 minutes, you have to be really prepared. With some difficulty, I was stripped down to my birthday suit and as I was standing there naked at minus 20, drying myself off, I couldn't believe how really warm I felt. Needless to say, it didn't take long to get dressed again.

     This could have turned out so different. Coming out here, I had planned on spending three days in the line cabin. If I had gone under the ice, no one would have known anything about my missing for at least four days, hard to say where my body would have ended up in that time. 

     I never went back out on the lake that day, even though I was dry, warm and felt good overall. An old Indian had told me once that if your day starts off with you falling through the ice, go do something else for the rest of the day, so I did. (By the way, I got ice picks that hang around your neck for Christmas that year.)



Can't Beat the Tide      

By Pat, Rocky Mountain House, Ab.

     A number of years ago, we were living in Prince Rupert, BC and I was doing some beach-combing. For people that don't know, Prince Rupert is on an island, called Kaien. Most of our beach-combing was along the main chuck, cleaning logs up all around the inner harbor area. 

    Well being on an island, the ocean waters flow all around it and the tide goes in and out roughly every 6 hours, and can fluctuate anywhere from 10 to 20 feet depending on the time of the year and the location. So that was how it worked all around the island, but on the back side, there were two entrances for the tide to go in and come out, they are called The Galloway Rapids on one end and the Butz Rapids at the other. Now when the tide is changing there is a lot of water going through a very narrow passageway, hence, the Rapids.

     On this particular day I was waiting for the outgoing tide to stop so that I could go into the back side of the island and do some beach-combing. According to my tide table chart the tide was supposed to be finished at 11 Am that day, it was approaching 12 and it was still coming out. I figured, what the hell, I'll just open it up and force my way through.

     I was operating a 16 foot tri-hull fiberglass boat with a Mercury 65 horsepower engine, so I gave it full throttle and headed for the chute. When I got into the mix of rushing water and mist, the sound was so extreme that I couldn't hear my engine anymore. The water coming at me was like a wall, it lifted the front of the boat out of the main pool of the turbulent, whirlpool ocean and turned me around so that I was facing the direction I just came from. My engine was still in full throttle mode, my only hope now was, if it was still running or not, because I couldn't hear anything but the thundering roar of the water. My knees were shaking, actually, I think my whole body was shaking at this point. To this day, I don't know why it never flipped me over, even with me wearing a floater coat, there would have been no way of me ever making it out of there alive. To call the flow of water, wild, violent and raging, would be putting it mildly. This was like having a train coming at you with nowhere to go but down, an experience I'll never ever forget.

     One of my brother in laws once said "You get really religious being out on the ocean, you're either thanking God for saving your ass, again, or thanking him for such a beautiful day out on the water." 



Rough Waters

By Casey of Lethbridge, AB

     Years ago working in a logging camp up on the far side of Williston Lake, in the northern part of BC, my friend Donny and I planned a hunting and fishing trip up the Peace Arm of the lake. We had planned it for the long weekend of September, we were working 10 days in and four days off already and as it was a long weekend, we'd have an extra day of hunting. I had a wooden 14 foot boat with a windshield, seats, steering wheel and a 40 hp Johnson motor. My friend Donny, had a 12 foot aluminum boat with a 7.5 Evenrude motor. We planned on leaving right after work Friday afternoon, around 4 pm. We were bringing rifles for big game, (we had tags for moose, elk and sheep), shotguns for ducks & geese and fishing rods. We also had camping gear, food, water, bedding, extra clothing, tarps, extra gas and everything we needed to butcher our game and bring it home. Going out we'd tow Donny's boat behind mine with all his gear in it, enough weight for the boat to track properly. The bow of my boat was covered over, so I loaded all of my gear under there. We had about 50 km of water to cover, or so we thought. This was in the late 70's, there was no GPS, cell phones or internet. We had some old forestry maps with a very small scale to go by.

     Everything was going as planned, but the weather. When we launched it was raining and the wind was lightly blowing. We had put in where the Manson River runs into the lake, from here we would follow a peninsula for about 20 km before we would reach open water. It was still raining pretty good when we were getting close to the end of the peninsula and we debated on whether to stay here overnight and wait out the rain or, make a run for the other side of the lake and get into the shelter of the narrower, more protected Peace Arm before dark. We decided to go for it.

     By the time we were half way across, the whites caps were high enough that we were losing sight of the other side of the lake. The rain was stronger and the wind had picked up considerably. I had to constantly dodge floating logs, (there were full size logs everywhere from when they dammed the Peace River and created the lake) and keep the boat straight into the waves without getting flipped over. We had moved Donny's boat up along mine and tied it to the dock cleats on the front and another cleat at the back. Just about then, we ran out of gas. At this point Donny went to the back of the boat, took out a joint and proceeded to smoke up, he was feeling pretty stressed out. I just laughed as I changed the gas cans and got us going again.

     The trip across should have been about 10 km, but being blown off course, we ended up right near the mouth of the Peace Arm on the north side, about a 18 km journey. By this time it was dark out, Donny's boat had ripped both of the cleats off of my boat and we had to hold his boat by hand. Between fighting the waves with one arm and holding his boat with the other, I was getting pretty played out, so we decided to beach for the night. Not an easy chore, everywhere we tried to beach the shore was lined with floating logs, sometimes 20 to 30 feet deep. We didn't have a choice, we had to beach. I steered the boat straight into logs and got in as far I could. We ran across the logs and tied the boat up then pulled Donny's boat up on the shore. I found a tarp, rope and an axe to set up camp and get some firewood for a fire while Donny secured the boat and got it unloaded.  

     Within the hour we had a fire going and a shelter built. I had put all my clothes and bedding in plastic bags and had it tucked under the bow, but Donny never thought of that, he had everything sitting in the bottom of his boat and it was drenched. By now the rain had become a drizzle, then a couple hours later it stopped all together. We hung up Donny's clothes and bedding on ropes to dry out. I had brought a first aid stretcher to use as a bed, it had wooden handles on each side, a canvas body with about four inch legs, keeping you well off of the ground. In my backpack I had a hammock made out of fishnet, so we set this up for a bed that Donny would sleep in. By this time I had got into some whisky and Donny had smoked some more pot. Watching Donny trying to climb into that hammock was the funniest thing I had seen in quite some time, that is, until he fell into the fire. Eventually, we got Donny into the hammock for the night and I covered him with some plastic in case it started to rain again. I built up the fire and headed into my sleeping bag for the night.

    The next morning when we woke up, the lake was as smooth as glass. The sky had cleared and the wind had died right down. I started the fire and put a pot of coffee on, while that was percolating, I went to check on the boat so we could continue our adventure. I felt sick to my stomach, there was a hole two feet around in the side of the boat from more logs drifting in during the night, one of them had a root still attached and beat the crap out of it. The motor also broke off and was sitting on the bottom of the lake still attached to the steering cable and the fuel line. Our historic hunting trip was over before it could really get started.

     We could see the Finlay Forks Lodge (Finlay Forks was originally an Indian Reserve, the reserve got relocated when the Finlay, Parsnip and Peace Rivers got flooded to make up Williston Lake and the W.A.C. Bennett Dam) from where we were camped. Donny took his loaded boat and went to radio-phone for someone to come and pick us up from the Forks. By the time he got back and picked me up, along with the rest of the gear, there were white caps on the lake and it looked like another storm was approaching. We were somewhat relieved to get on solid ground and out of that loaded down 12 foot aluminum boat with only a 7.5 hp motor, as another storm did hit right after we got picked up. We planned on one day, with a better boat, along with better planning, make that hunting trip. It never happened.  


Back from the Dead

By RC Pryce

     My youngest son and I were on our way back to town from working in the bush. My son had dropped his truck off that morning to get some mechanical work done and I was going to drop him off first before going home when I got a call from my wife, asking if we could head home first as she wasn't feeling well. We arrived at the house and my son grabbed the cordless phone and went outside to call his wife while I went to check on my wife. We had a sectional couch in the living room and she was at one end and I was sitting at the other end close to the door. She told me she felt sick and thought she might have got food poisoning from some oyster soup she had made for lunch. I asked her if she wanted me to take her to the hospital when all of a sudden she went limp and her head slumped down on her shoulder. I rushed over to her and tried to get a response, lifting her head and calling her name. Nothing. I yelled out to my son to hang up from his wife and call 911. He came running in as he was dialing, the operator came on and I took the phone and explained what happened. She asked if there was a pulse. My son and I both took our level one first aid and neither one of us thought to check for a pulse, I'm still thinking food poisoning. There was no pulse! My son started doing CPR as I stayed on the line with the 911 operator. She told me that an ambulance was on the way and about ten minutes later two medic's were at the door. They put my wife on the floor, cut her shirt open and put the defibrillator on. The battery was dead, one of them kept giving CPR while the other medic went and changed the battery. They zapped her a number of times and nothing. They then said they'd have to call for another ambulance for a driver because the two of them would have to stay in the back with my wife. I said "I'll drive, let's go." No you can't do that. As it turned out the other driver was new in town and got lost, but finally got there, loaded her up and were on their way. The medic's kept up the CPR and used the defibrillator all the way to the hospital and they got their first heartbeat just as they pulled up to the emergency doors. This was 45 (forty-five) minutes from when I first called 911. The hospital staff were waiting for them and got her breathing and kept her heart beating with the aid of machines. They were just incredible! She had a heart attack and was going to be flown the next day to St. Paul's Hospital in Vancouver for further treatment. I was allowed to go on the plane with her, watching her lifeless body, not knowing if she'd survive this ordeal or not. When we arrived at the airport, there was an ambulance waiting for us. We got there just at rush hour traffic was at it's peak, the ambulance driver had to do some pretty unique driving, up on the median strip at times because there was no other place to go. Just riding up front with the sirens going was eerie enough, not a ride I'd ever want to take again. We got to the hospital in record time thanks to a very dedicated team.

     She had one stent put in, but due to her weak lungs, she needed to be on life support and a couple of blood transfusions for the next five days before she was awake and coherent. It took another two weeks of recovery in the hospital before she was allowed to go home. The only after effects from this ordeal was her short term memory. This was a real miracle in the works. My wife had died for forty-five minutes and survived, thirteen years ago, and no, she doesn't remember a thing about being dead.

     There were so many if's, if we were closer to the hospital, if the medic's would have called for help sooner, if the other medic hadn't got lost, they would have got to the hospital sooner and pronounced her 'dead on arrival'. The moral of this story is 'don't give up too soon', you never know what will happen.




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