HOPEWELL, Va. (WRIC) — When R. J. Esque and his father-in-law, Kevin Johnson, were outside shoveling snow on Sunday, they noticed their 79-year old next door neighbor doing the same. When Esque noticed his elderly neighbor shoveling he said he asked him, ‘Why are you out there doing that?’
“Why are you out there doing that?” Esque asked his neighbor. “I said, ‘come tell me when you need help and I’ll do it for you.’ He said, ‘I got it I got it.'”
So, Esque and Johnson, a Hopewell Police officer, kept talking and shoveling until they noticed their neighbor collapse.
“I looked over and you said, ‘what’s he doing?’ Looked over and he was kneeling at the back of his truck. I said, ‘I think he’s just messing with his license plate,” Johnson recalls. “I looked back and he’s just laid out … Just flat out on the ground.”
The two rushed over to check on their neighbor.
“We were just running and it seemed like it was like ten miles to get from here to there, you know what I mean?” Johnson explained. “When you see someone, especially someone that means something to you, when you’re running that far, it seemed like it took forever.”
Johnson and Esque immediately noticed their neighbor was not breathing well.
“We get over to him and his breathing is just terrible, man, that’s the one thing I’ll never forget that real labored breathing,” Johnson said. “I was like, ‘oh man.’ We felt for his pulse, to be honest I didn’t feel a real good pulse, I saw his breathing was bad.
“Tried that sternum rub again and after the third time he started to react to it. After the third time if he hadn’t reacted to it we were going to CPR,” Johnson added. “The officer explained a ‘sternum rub,’ as a way to see if a patient is conscious, “You just take knuckle and you rub right on the sternum to create a little bit of pain to see if they will come out whatever state they’re in, kind of like when you stick ammonia capsules under the nose. There’s no there’s no extra meat there that’s why you go to the sternum, it’s right on the bone if you rub that you’re going to feel that,” said Johnson.
The officer explained a ‘sternum rub,’ is a way to see if a patient is conscious.
“You just take a knuckle and you rub right on the sternum to create a little bit of pain to see if they will come out whatever state they’re in,” Johnson explained. “Kind of like when you stick ammonia capsules under the nose. There’s no extra meat there, that’s why you go to the sternum, it’s right on the bone if you rub that you’re going to feel that.”
Esque said their neighbor is extremely likable, and running to his rescue was emotionally draining.
“Oh man, it took about four hours to get to sleep that night, it was rough,” Esque said. “Especially because he’s always so joyful, he’s always playing with the animals saying hi whenever you see him. It was rough. Someone put us there for a reason.”
Paramedics were called and rushed the 79-year-old man to the hospital. The two men said the last time they checked on their neighbor, he was still in the Intensive Care unit at VCU Medical Center.