By TOM CORRIGAN
Bothell Reporter Staff writer
Today, 12:50 PM
Neither Kirsten Baker, 17, nor her father, Troy Baker, said so, but had Aug. 14 gone as planned for the Kenmore family, Kirsten might have found herself in a bit of trouble.
Kirsten spent the night prior to Aug. 14 at a friend's house. She was supposed to be back home by a certain time the next morning because Troy, 40, planned on taking his family to the Wild Waves water park. Kirsten said she was about a half-hour or so late in getting home.
"I kind of now believe everything happens for a reason," she said.
Kirsten added the thought that if she hadn't come home late, her father may have suffered his cardiac arrest while driving the family down Interstate 5.
As it was, Kirsten came in the door to find her dad passed out face down on the floor, unresponsive and apparently not breathing.
"I'm surprised I didn't break down and cry," she said.
Instead, Kirsten said she screamed for her mother and called 911. Kirsten said her mom, Callie Baker, didn't answer right away, but her grandmother, Patty Helms, came up from the home's basement. Eventually, Kirsten, Helms and Callie were able to turn Troy onto his back. Helms began giving her son-in-law CPR.
"She wasn't doing it hard enough," Kirsten said and she took over.
"His chest still wasn't rising and he had no pulse at all," Kirsten added.
Kirsten said she knows she called 911 at 8:58 a.m. A Kenmore rescue squad arrived shortly, about 9:06 a.m.
"It felt like forever," Kirsten said.
While he had to recover from an induced coma and is now undergoing cardiac rehabilitation, Troy was around Oct. 21 when the Northshore Fire Department honored Kirsten for her smart thinking and use of CPR to save her father's life.
"She's definitely my hero, no doubt about it," Troy said.
You may have noticed that up to this point, Kirsten has told more of the story than her father. That's because Troy said he remembers none of what happened to him that Saturday, adding he's sorry he put his family through the incident.
"I don't even remember really being awake that morning," Troy said. "I don't even remember going to bed Friday night."
Kirsten said medics took over CPR and other measures upon their arrival. She went into another room to try and help comfort her sisters. Still, Kirsten said she knows from her mom and others that medics worked on her dad for about 45 minutes before feeling comfortable about moving him. They used a defibrillator to shock his heart at least a few times. Kirsten said she's glad she stayed in another room for the most part.
"I didn't really want to see all that anyway," she said.
Medics took Troy to Evergreen Hospital, where doctors induced a coma. Troy wasn't supposed to wake up until late Aug. 15, but he was motioning to a friend who just happened to be in the room by around 8 a.m. Doctors had told his family the biggest worry at that point was brain damage due to oxygen deprivation after Troy's heart stopped. Since then, Troy said doctors have told him he's fortunate no permanent brain injury seems to have occurred.
"I'm just very happy to be here," he said. "Every day is a gift."
Troy stated he has suffered heart problems in the past, but had just been to see his doctor four days prior to Aug. 14 and been told everything was OK.
Kirsten said she had been certified in CPR only a few months prior to the incident, another factor fueling her new belief that maybe things leading up to Aug. 14 weren't all coincidences. Kirsten learned CPR in a health class at Inglemoor High, a class required of all Northshore School District high-school students.
"Looking back, it was super-scary," Kirsten stated regarding her father's cardiac arrest.
"She doesn't really panic," Troy said. "She's alway kind of calm, cool and collected."
Kirsten said that since the incident, she's far more likely to tell her dad how she feels about him than maybe she was previously.
"I say, 'I love you' a lot" she said. "I don't really care about all the awards and stuff. I'm just glad he's still here."Bothell Reporter Staff writer Tom Corrigan can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 425 483-3732, ext. 5052.