A local woman believes that two young men saved her life.
Sandy Charette was outside the Castlegar Health Centre on Nov. 15 when she suddenly started having a coughing fit and found herself unable to breathe. In the past she had suffered from some slight asthma, but nothing too serious. “I have what I call ‘baby asthma’ and … the last time I used a puffer was 2014, and maybe twice a year I would use a puffer,” she said. Because Charette needed her inhaler so seldom she decided not to bring it with her, as she was only planning on being out for an hour or so.
Fearing she’d start hyperventilating, Charette tried to remain calm. “I kept saying [to myself] ‘Don’t panic’ and ‘God you’re not going to get me today.’”
Charette said as she stood struggling to breath, four people walked by without offering her assistance. “Now there’s nobody in the parking lot and I’m like ‘God, you may win this one,’ because nobody was there. I’m looking around and I can’t see anybody, and all of a sudden — like I don’t know where they were, but it looked like they come up over the bank — here come these two young guys, and they just came right at me and they said, ‘Do you need help ma’am?’”
The men rushed inside and got assistance from the health centre’s staff. “If they hadn’t of come, I don’t know how much longer I would have been standing there,” said Charette. After being admitted and seen by a physician, she was told that her blood oxygen level was very low and that there was no air in her lungs. Charette was treated and eventually sent home, but she continues to have problems with her lungs. She now carries her inhaler with her at all times. “I thought, ‘I have scary asthma now.’”
Charette has identified one of the individuals who saved her as Joel Anderson, but still doesn’t know the other young man’s name. She would like to thank everyone who helped her that day.