TOPEKA, Kan. (WIBW) - A dental assistant who saved a young boy at Lake Shawnee says she was just at the right place at the right time - and she used a skill everyone should know.
Christina Dykstra's quiet Saturday with her husband and kids at Lake Shawnee last weekend came to a screaching halt when she noticed a man screaming.
"He just held his hands to his head, screaming "My son, my son!" she recounted. She saw him asking two walkers to call 911.
She ran over when she noticed the woman coming up from behind him, holding a motionless boy in her arms.
"He was completely limp," she said. "I actually ran over, grabbed the baby from the mom and said I'm certified in CPR."
Dykstra had just renewed her CPR certification last December. Her instincts immediately kicked in.
"I just grabbed him, I laid him on the ground, and I assessed him, made sure he didn't have a heartbeat. He wasn't breathing. He was completely blue. Really gone," she recalls.
"And then I just started chest compressions and breathing for him and he ended up breathing a lot of water, coughing up a lot of water," After what seemed like an eternity, she saw signs of life. "It feels like forever, but it was probably less than a minute, I got him back breathing," she said, remembering that she felt relief at that moment. "It was amazing," she said.
With her husband's help, she rolled him on the side, and stayed with him until AMR and first responders arrived to the scene, about four minutes later.
Firefighter Richard Sigle with Station 5 of the Topeka Fire Department says that early CPR is crucial.
"For us we have a response time and anywhere in the city limit at least, it's in that 4 - 6 minute time frame," he said. "So in that 4 to 6 minutes brain cells are dying, the heart is starting to die."
Sigle actually trained Dykstra in CPR through his business, Kansas CPR, an authorized provider of American Heart Association classes.
He said the certification takes two hours, but anyone can learn CPR skills at home in as little as 22 minutes with a CPR kit.
"A young boy is alive because of htat. So the Dykstra's the real hero in this one and anybody that learns CPR are the real heros as well," he said.
Dykstra shied away from that designation. "Everybody is calling me a hero. I don't think I feel like one. I feel like I'm just a normal human being that was in the right place at the right time," she said.
The rescued boy was admitted to Stormont-Vail HealthCare hospital for observation and treated for water in his lungs. He was doing fine at last check.
You can learn more about CPR training at kansascpr.com or at heart.org.