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YPSILANTI, Mich. (AP) — "It's amazing. How do you thank people that saved your life?"
Karen Grahams answered her own question Wednesday when she finally met Timothy Wilson, the 911 dispatcher who helped guide her husband Robert to perform CPR on her when she was in full cardiac arrest last month at the couple's Ypsilanti home.
Her answer was a tearful hug and heartfelt thanks, according to The Ann Arbor News (http://bit.ly/1sv6stT ).
"It's great to meet you," Karen said upon meeting Wilson. "Thank you so much."
The couple's exchange with Wilson capped what has been an emotional month. On Aug. 13, Robert was getting ready to go bowling when he heard an unusual sound in the home.
"I popped my head out and looked and saw her hunched over the couch," Robert said.
He immediately called 911, where he was connected with Wilson, who started the process that saved Karen's life.
So how did Robert stay so calm with his wife struggling to stay alive?
"To be honest I really don't know. I just concentrated on what the guy on the phone told me to do and the best thing is to listen to what they say," Robert said
Wilson, a dispatcher for Huron Valley Ambulance, instructed Robert to put his hand on Karen's chest and push in about two inches while counting. When Robert wasn't counting fast enough, Wilson told him to speed up and count with him. Soon, after about 15 compressions, Karen came back to her husband.
"The hardest thing is trying to get someone to calm down. It was actually pretty easy to give him instructions and to coach him," Wilson said. "You never know what's going to be on the other end of the line."
Once the Ypsilanti police and fire departments arrived, they used an automated external defibrillator on Karen, which restarted her pulse. Since that time Karen has begun her recovery and says she feels great, however, she doesn't remember anything about the incident.
"I'm absolutely shocked that this happened. I can't believe that my poor husband had to deal with this, but he kept his cool and literally saved my life," Karen said.
When she first met Wilson, she said while her husband is her hero, Wilson will always be her guardian angel.
Robert said someone was looking out for him and his wife that day because had the attack occurred just five minutes later, he would have been out of the house and Karen wouldn't be with him to this day.
For Wilson, having the chance to meet someone who he guided to helping save another person's life was something he'd never experience before, but also wouldn't forget.
"It's very gratifying. I've been doing this for many years and I've never had this opportunity," Wilson said. "Sometimes you don't even get to find out what happens on any calls that we deal with."
Now that the couple has met Wilson, the both said they are going to take a CPR class on their own, and Robert is looking forward to when his wife is healthy enough to go for a motorcycle ride again. Until then, they'll focus on Karen's recovery.
"I really feel wonderful, and I'm looking forward to a long future," she said.
Information from: The Ann Arbor News, http://www.mlive.com/ann-arbor
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