Ronda Stuart-Good hardly remembers the morning her teenage son saved her, pumping her chest to mimic the rhythm of her quiet heart.
She walked inside with the dog, unhooked it from the leash and sat down at the kitchen table.
That much she knows.
Doctors would later tell her that Jesse’s quick thinking on Feb. 15 saved both her life and her brain function.
“It’s OK to feel things,” his aunt, Lisa Stuart, says. “We’ve all shed a lot of tears this past month.”
When Jesse, 14, took a babysitting course 21/2 years ago and learned CPR, he never pictured what it would be like to do it for real. On his mother.
He remembers watching her slide out of the chair and onto the floor, a moment he talks about quietly, looking down. He called 911 and, at the dispatcher’s instruction, began chest compressions.
He describes the motions of his hands as though he’s talking about someone else.
“I just remember what happened,” he says. “But I can’t remember how I felt.”
He had steady hands but he knows his voice shook on the phone as the operator told him what to do.
Five minutes later, paramedics took over, using a defibrillator three times to restart the Cole Harbour woman’s heart.
Stuart-Good says she doesn’t remember much of what happened after that, letting her sister fill in the details.
The Cole Harbour mom is slight, frequently pushing dark hair out of a face that looks younger than 43. You’d never guess she had a heart attack a month ago.
Her profile stumped doctors as well; she’s fit, doesn’t smoke and has no history of heart disease in the family.
But she was near death when paramedics rushed her to Dartmouth General Hospital. Doctors lowered her body temperature and put her in an induced coma, which she awoke from a day later, foggy, but able to recognize her mother, her cousin and a video of her two sons.
Pride creeps into Stuart’s voice when she talks about her nephew. She’s been a Mountie for more than 20 years but has never had to use her first-aid training.
She’s hoping he’ll receive an award through the Red Cross for saving his mother’s life.
She’s hopeful, too, that sharing the family’s story might encourage other parents to make sure their children take first-aid training.
It’s been a hard month for the entire family. A cardiologist found scar tissue on Stuart-Good’s heart, likely the result of a virus or bacterial infection.
The organ became progressively weaker, she says, which is why she’s now got a small defibrillator implanted in her chest.
She’s not yet well enough to go back to work at Lawton’s, but things at home are slowly returning to normal, she says.
She hardly heard her sons when she first came home, but they’re getting rowdy again. The younger boy, Jayme, is eight.
“I’m so proud of my boys,” she says. “So proud.”