It was a cold day in early March when Analyn Jabal saved a dying man’s life.
She remembers it vividly nearly seven months later as she sits in the quiet library of the Taunton Mills neighbourhood where she works as a Personal Support Worker. It wasn’t in The Village, however, where her CPR training sparked intrinsically, but in the mall.
She was hunting for deals with her brother and sister-in-law in out of the cold when she heard the commotion; people gathered, pleading for help. “Call 911,” someone was shouting. Analyn ran towards the chaos and saw a man on the ground, clearly not breathing. She recalls the blue tinge of his skin and the panic of the people gathered around.
Nobody was helping.
“He needs compressions,” she thought immediately, and she dropped to his side pressing hard upon his chest in the quick rhythm she’d been taught six years before.
Every PSW is trained in CPR, but Analyn had never before had cause to use the skill. These thoughts only occurred afterwards, however. In those critical seconds, she only thought of the rhythm; a full round of 30, a pause, then another round. A security guard materialized with a defibrillator and Analyn got the man’s chest exposed for the blast of energy. Paramedics took over shortly after – the timeline gets blurry, in Analyn’s mind, but in the end she watched the paramedics rush the man away upon a stretcher, and she stood still shaking. She’d heard the dying man gasp for air before he was rushed away, so she believed he was going to survive, but there was no way to know.
“I had no closure,” she says. “Every time I would speak with my coworkers here (in the days following the harrowing incident) it would make me cry.” Even now as she recalls those days, a tear wells in her eyes.
Maybe two weeks later, however, a supervisor from The Oshawa Centre called to ask if she would come to a small appreciation ceremony there to honour the quick response of Analyn and the guard who sprang to action that cold March day.
“I said ‘I don’t really need it,’ ” Anayln recalls. “ ‘I just want to know how he is?’ He told me that his granddaughter phoned them to say thank you and yes, he is okay. He will make a full recovery.”
Her sense of worry lifted immediately, and her humble pride set in. “I’m so happy,” she says today. “This is one of the best things that happened in my life . . . and I’m so grateful that I did something to help.”
The City of Oshawa would later honour her quick response and the courage she showed to step calmly into a treacherous situation, but Analyn is quiet and humble. She’s proud of what she did, yes, but is reluctant to accept praise, for she simply did what she was trained to do.
“You just can’t be afraid,” she says to others who might face a similar situation one day. “If you know something, some training, you must help.”
That natural urge to be of help to others is what drew her to work as a personal support worker, and why she thrives supporting people who are often living with dementia and memory loss. Her compassion is what stands out for those who work with her and why the team and residents share such pride in the way she reacted to save the life of a stranger.
Don’t let her quiet, humble manner fool you; Analyn is an example of what makes the team at Taunton Mills so strong, and they want to share their pride with everyone.