Tara meets the man who saved her life

Tara, Kelly, Tara’s friend Cindy, my niece Erika and I went to the courthouse yesterday afternoon to meet the deputy who performed CPR on Tara. Tara called earlier in the week to make sure Deputy Levin would be working Friday afternoon.
We went into the courthouse and found out that yes indeed Tara’s defibrillator sets off the security alarm. None of us even thought to warn them. I guess it was because we were all so focused on what we were there for. A uniformed officer immediately asked her to step to the side where there was another officer standing with a wand. I yelled “Tara, tell him no he can’t use the wand”. Meanwhile I am racing through the security point so I get over to where she is. She had already told him that she had a defibrillator but he was asking her if she had anything in her pockets or a belt on. She and I both said at the same time she has a defibrillator so he couldn’t use the wand and Tara was pulling the neck of her shirt down to show him. He got it! He had a female officer come over to do a pat down search. She had to ask the other guy what to do and apologized to Tara because she was new and still in training.
Tara sent me over to the information desk to ask for Deputy Levin. I had to wait while the officer was talking to some scummy guy who wanted to know where he was supposed to turn himself in. After all we were at the Multnomah County Courthouse. Then I told the officer that we were there to see Deputy Levin. He asked me if he was expecting me and I said no. Then he asked if he knew me and I said no but he is the one who performed CPR on my daughter a little over a month ago. I turned and looked toward Tara and he made a quick call. A minute or so later three officers come out none of them Deputy Levin. We knew what he looked like from his photo in the newspaper article. I think one of the men was his boss or as he told Tara she was certainly the one person that Deputy Levin would be happy to see. Then Deputy Levin came out and Tara handed him the flowers she bought him. Then she hugged him, thanked him and just started to cry. She just kept telling him she was so thankful that he had saved her life. They hugged for quite awhile. Then I introduced myself and shook his hand and said oh forget it you are getting a hug from me too.
Deputy Levin told Tara what had happened and how he heard a call for an ambulance and asked someone what happened and was told she just fell. He walked over to where she was on the floor and turned her over and knew immediately what was happening. He told us that when he saw Tara’s photo in the paper he didn’t recognize her. But then he remembered her credit union photo id that she had hooked on to her waistband. That says a lot to how bad she looked, her face was blue, and she had thrown up and was basically dead. After he started mouth to mouth the attorney jumped into help. That’s when Deputy Levin began CPR. They worked on Tara for about 5 minutes before the ambulance arrived. Deputy Levin assisted the paramedics by helping with the IV. The team including Deputy Levin worked on her for at least ½ hour before loading her into the ambulance and then as we already knew the paramedics kept working on her all the way to the hospital.
Deputy Levin told us he had called the hospital that night and after identifying who he was they shared her diagnosis and condition with him. Then when he called two days later he thought for sure they must have transferred him to the wrong nurse or they misunderstood who he was asking about when he was told that Tara had been up out of bed and walking. He just could not believe how that could be true considering what she went through. As he said in the response to my thank you card he was just elated to hear how well Tara was recovering.
We talked for about 20 minutes or so. As the word spread through the courthouse what was going on more and more officers came to the area where were and were hanging around listening to us talk. At one point there must have been over 15 of them. Then Erika handed Tara the key chain she had engraved so she could give it to Deputy Levin. On one side it says “Hero” and on the other it says “Thank you from Tara Conlon and family.
It was a pretty emotional situation but I kept reminding myself that my friend MaryAnne told me earlier in the day that it was a celebration of life.
Tara told me when we got back to their house that she was so glad she did this but felt bad that she hadn’t made arraignments to met the attorney. I told her that he didn’t respond to my thank you card but she could still contact him. So when I go home I sent her the contact information that I found for him on the internet. Deputy Levin did tell us that the attorney was not in the courthouse at that time or they would have paged him to come down. As it turns out the newspaper reporter has an office in the courthouse and was called down to the lobby when Tara was being worked on. That is why she was so interested in writing the article.
Erika and I never thought about bringing a camera but Cindy did. Cindy captured the scene so well in a couple of photos that if I had them now I wouldn’t be telling you anything other than captioning the photo “Tara thanking the man who saved her life”. Cindy is one of the few people I know who does not have internet access. So I asked her to take the camera to her father so he could email the photos to me. Cindy’s dad is a photo geek like me and is the one who gave Cindy the camera when he upgraded.
Whew, glad I am done writing this! To many Kleenexes to throw away and too many trees killed to produce them.

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