Heart Breaker

What would you do if your nearest and dearest collapsed before your eyes? An Auckland woman tells Kylie Munro about the worst day of her life
Sharon Connon never thought she'd have to try to save her husband's life. The St Heliers Primary School secretary thought scraped knees and sore tummies would be her toughest first aid challenge. She was wrong. On a steamy December afternoon in 2003 her worst nightmare became reality ? her husband, Roger, suffered a massive heart attack and collapsed in their Glendowie driveway. ''There was no indication. It was just his time,'' says Sharon. At work, Sharon received a frantic phone call from her daughters, then aged 16, 14 and 11, who had spotted their father and raced to a neighbour for help. ''When I came home there was our neighbour trying to save Roger in the driveway,'' she says. Sharon, who first learnt first aid a decade ago, worked with her neighbour to administer cardiopulmonary resuscitation in a desperate effort to revive her husband. ''It gave me something to do rather than watch my whole life slip away,'' she says. ''In the end four of us worked on him. It didn't work. He died.'' But Sharon and her daughters took some comfort in knowing they'd tried to save their husband and father. ''My 14-year-old said afterwards that at least something was being done,'' says Sharon. ''He was probably dead before he hit the ground, but we didn't know that, so we had to give it a shot.'' Sharon says the adage 'I'll never need to use it' isn't always true and urges everyone to learn CPR. She says lack of confidence and the fear of hurting someone, or making them worse, can deter untrained people from helping in an emergency.

''I would hope that if I keel over down the street someone at least would try to do something. ''The more people who know CPR the better.'' Sharon says even though CPR didn't work for her husband, she hasn't lost faith in the technique. ''It does work.''
To find out more about a St John CPR course call 0800 3477 8243.

- The Aucklander

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