Word Count: 3,336
Warning: Although the procedures described below are realistic, this does not replace actual lifeguard training. Whatever you may think, you are not certified unless you have taken a class and have the certification card! :P
Disclaimer: If only I owned them...haha
Summary: Shit goes down while Yesung is the only lifeguard on duty.
It was hot…Bearable under the umbrella, but it was still too much for comfort. Yesung inhaled the familiar scent of chlorine and sunscreen and settled into an attentive position. He scanned the pool from the elevated lifeguard station watching each of his patrons closely, memorizing their ability to swim and quickly moving on. He was on the only lifeguard on duty meaning he had the entire pool to cover and no to time to take breaks. His manager Leeteuk was running the office and the lap swim was unusually full for a late Tuesday morning. Eyes never leaving the pool, Yesung scanned the area by turning his head 45 degrees to each side making sure no one was breaking the pool rules.
“Walk!” He called as a little boy ran soaking wet across the pool deck.
Readjusting the sunglasses on his face, Yesung examined each of the swimmers once again. There were four young girls swimming freestyle in the shallow end of the pool. They were tall enough to stand if necessary so they didn’t bother him too much. In the first lane to the right there a tall built man gazing up into the sky, slowly going through the motions of backstroke. Three high school boys were racing in the next lane over while an old lady used paddles as she swam a deathly slow front crawl in the neighboring lane. Seeing that she was not yet exhausted Yesung made a note to watch her closely and moved on. There was a blonde woman in her thirties swimming breaststroke in a bikini in the lane further to the left.
“God, who wears a bikini to a lap swim?” Yesung shuddered as the thought ran through his head. He turned his head to watch a young boy swim breaststroke towards him, forearms surging forward with each lift of his head.
He nodded his head in approval. This boy was probably not even in high school, yet his technique was excellent. Nearby, a middle aged man took off his fins and pulled himself out of the pool, leaving the last lane vacated.
Yesung took a few sips from the water bottle beside him as a bead of sweat ran down his face. He reminded himself to look for signs of heat cramps, in this weather it was a strong possibility. Turning his head back to the shallow end of the pool he heard a voice call from below.
“Yesung!” The voice cried excitedly.
He didn’t need to look to know who it was.
“Wookie! How are you?”
“I’m fine, just crawled out of bed to get my morning swim for the day.”
“You know it’s almost noon right?”
“I know. I still consider that early enough though.”
Yesung grinned as he scanned the pool. “Sorry I can’t look at you to make this a proper conversation, but I’m on duty.”
“I see. Don’t worry! I’ll hop in the pool in a moment. You can see me from there.”
Yesung imagined Ryeowook’s lips curl into a smile, eyes shining as always. He saw a faint splash out of the corner of his eyes. Turning his head, he saw Ryeowook had literally hoped into the pool and began swimming a strong freestyle at speed. Yesung watched him swim back and forth, lithe muscles contracting and relaxing, working to pull his body in a clean line across the pool. If there was a word to describe Ryeowook’s style of swimming it was graceful. He was an accomplished swimmer with beautiful technique and it was refreshing to watch such ability in the morning.
Trying his best to not get distracted by Ryeowook’s body lines, Yesung continued scanning the pool, shifting his position every few minutes so not to get stiff or lose focus. Half an hour passed when he heard Leeteuk’s voice on the deck.
“Hey Yesung, are you doing alright?”
“Fine. Glad I have an umbrella. Is there a problem?”
“Well, Eunhyuk just called and said he couldn’t make it today. Something about a dog crisis and Donghae’s at his door with the clothes.”
“So you’re saying I won’t have a replacement before lunch.”
“Unfortunately, yes. I’m going to try and call Sungmin to see if he can come on short notice.”
“Lunch is in 90 minutes. Just hold on until then.” His voice faded as he heard Leeteuk start to walk away. “Remember to stay hydrated!”
A sigh escaped his lips. “Ninety minutes?” Yesung thought to himself. “The pool better empty around lunch time.”
But he was wrong. Just as the clock struck noon a bus load of summer camp kids turned up at the pool ready to play. Since there was no time to administer a swim test, Yesung allowed them all to play in the shallow portion of the pool, roped off at 5 feet. With the screaming and cries of little kids splashing to his right, and full lap swim to handle on an empty stomach, Yesung felt his shoulder muscles tense.
The stress settling in, he constantly turned his head back and forth effectively scanning the premises.
Wait, were those two kids holding their breath under water on purpose?
What about the old lady swimming with the paddles? Shouldn’t she be done by now?
Ryeowook is on his next 300 fly, wow.
Hold on, did that kid just punch that little boy?
The mess of thoughts was overwhelming. Yesung drank more water and swallowed in large mouthfuls.
“Only 30 minutes left, you can do this.” He whispered to himself. Sitting upright on the elevated chair, he turned his head to the right by 45 degrees. The summer camp kids were having a blast spraying each other with water, and paddling around in the shallow end. No one had punched one another and they weren’t holding their breath underwater. So far so good.
He turned his head directly in front. The old lady finally stopped swimming and was crawling towards the ladder to exit the pool. Good. The lady in the bikini had left and two competitive students swam in her place. Great.
Yesung turned his head to the left, watching the last few lanes of the pool. The young boy swimming breaststroke was drinking water and there was a blotch to his left.
Wait. Yesung knew every square inch of the pool floor and there was no blotch to the left. He stood up to make sure the sun’s glare wasn’t toying with his eyes. No, the blotch was still there.
Hold on, Ryeowook wasn’t in the last lane anymore.
A load of adrenaline surged through his body. Yesung pointed at the blotch and blew his whistle 3 times, signaling the Emergency Action Plan. He tore his sunglasses off his face letting them fall to the ground. Squeezing his rescue tube securely between his upper arms and chest he leaped off the elevated station and did a compact jump into the pool. Letting the rescue tube trail behind him, he swam head up freestyle towards the blotch at the top speed.
He heard Leeteuk call in the distance, “Clear the pool!”
Blood pounding through his ears, Yesung had no other purpose than to remove that blotch from the bottom of the pool. Taking a deep breath he plunged head first into the 13 feet depth. He saw the blotch immediately take form as a curled body on the pool floor. Ryeowook’s body.
Yesung had to no time to clear his ears though the pressure made his head hurt. Reaching his left arm around the victim’s chest he thread the rescue tube line between his hands, using the buoyancy of the tube to pull them to the surface. Once at the surface Yesung leaned back making sure Ryeowook’s head was tilted back on his shoulder. He quickly thrust the rescue tube between their bodies, using it to support Ryeowook’s torso.
“I need 911 and a backboard!” Yesung screamed at the top of his lungs.
Using powerful breaststroke kicks he pulled him to the nearest edge of the pool while Leeteuk staggered towards them, carrying the backboard above his head. As soon as Leeteuk arrived to the pool’s edge he lowered the board the ground and held out an arm to grab Ryeowook’s opposite wrist. Once Teuk had a firm grip on both wrists, Yesung jumped out of the pool and grabbed the backboard.
“My right,” Leeteuk replied.
Lowering the backboard steadily into the water, he stabilized the edge with his foot so it didn’t move out of place. Leeteuk carefully rotated Ryeowook’s body onto the backboard while Yesung grabbed his other wrist. Together, they pulled the backboard out of the water and lay it on the deck.
Yesung put on his gloves and was at the victim’s side in an instant. He lowered his face down by the victim’s mouth and put two fingers on Ryeowook’s neck to feel for a pulse.
“One 1,000, Two 1,000, Three 1,000…Nine 1,000, Ten 1,000.” There was no response.
“Call 911! Tell them we have an unconscious adult without a pulse and report back.”
Leeteuk rushed off to the office to use the phone.
Pulling his pocket mask out of his fanny pack, he shook the water out before placing it over the victim’s mouth and nose. Sealing the mask with his fingers, Yesung tilted Ryeowook’s head back and gave two rescue breaths making sure he saw the chest rise. Interlacing his left fingers with his outstretched right palm, Yesung started a cycle of CPR, beginning with compressions on Ryeowook’s chest.
“1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8…” Each compression sunk a good two inches on the victim’s chest and was forceful enough to break ribs in order to pump the heart.
Once he reached 30, Yesung lowered his head to give another two breathes before continuing the next cycle. Three minutes later he heard Leeteuk return.
“I forced everyone out of the pool area and paramedics are on their way.”
“Ok, go get the AED. We can’t wait until they get here.”
Again, Leeteuk rushed off towards the office.
Yesung started his 8th cycle of CPR. “1, 2, 3, 4, 5, crack, 7, 8…” His heart cringed at the sound of Ryeowook’s cracking ribs, but there was no preventing it.
“I’m sorry, but I have to pump your heart in order to save your life and your ribs are preventing me from doing that.” Yesung cried in his head.
It had been just over six minutes and Yesung had to stop. Completely out of breath, sweat pouring down his face, he was exhausted. He panted and looked for Leeteuk to come running back, AED in hand, but he saw nothing.
Peering down at Ryeowook’s limp body he screamed in agony.
He wanted to yell at himself for being tired. How could he let something happen like that? He couldn’t bear to lose his friend’s life. There were so many emotions tearing through his body, but Yesung had no choice but to continue CPR.
His voice quavered as he spoke out loud, “1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8…” He saw white foam fall from the corners of Ryeowook’s mouth.
Yesung swore and stopped compressions in order to move him into Hayne’s recovery position. He straightened Ryeowook’s left arm under his head, bent his right knee and rolled him onto his side. The foam dribbled down the corners of Ryeowook’s mouth and onto the deck. The reason he was foaming was because he was regurgitating a mix of blood and water. Yesung cleaned the foam from the victim’s mouth and returned him to lying on his back.
Finally he saw Leeteuk sprinting towards him, AED and a towel in hand. Yesung started another cycle of CPR while Leeteuk placed the AED on the ground and dried Ryeowook’s upper body with the towel. Yesung gave two more breaths as Leeteuk placed the two pads on the victim’s chest; one on the upper left side and one sideways on the lower right side. If done correctly the current from the AED should flow between the two pads, directly through the heart.
The AED spoke, “Analyzing heart rhythm, stand clear from the victim.”
Leeteuk repeated the prompt, “Everyone stand clear.”
They both moved away and waited for the response.
The AED spoke again, “Shock advised, stand clear from the victim.”
They repeated the prompt and listened. The AED beeped loudly as it delivered a shock.
“No response, continue CPR.” The AED droned loudly.
“Here, I’ll take over compressions for a while,” Leeteuk offered.
Yesung nodded as he moved directly above Ryeowook’s head, ready to give two breaths after the set of compressions. After two more cycles of CPR, the AED analyzed the heart rhythm again.
“Shock advised, stand clear.”
“I’m clear, you’re clear, we are all clear.” Leeteuk repeated.
The AED beeped obnoxiously as it shocked Ryeowook again. Finally the wailing sirens pulled up in front of the pool. Leeteuk ran to guide them to the scene while Yesung watched over Ryeowook.
He removed the pocket mask from his face and lent down so his ear was just above Ryeowook’s mouth. Pressing two fingers against the side of his neck he counted silently to himself.
When he reached seven 1,000 he felt a slight pressure against his two fingers. Then again.
“He has a pulse!” Yesung called loud enough for the paramedics to hear him. The medical team ran to the scene, Leeteuk providing information as they arrived. Yesung backed away as two of the paramedics lifted the entire backboard off the ground while a third picked up the connected AED. As they hurriedly returned to the truck Yesung addressed his manager.
“I’m going with him.”
Leeteuk held his gaze for a moment.
Yesung leaped into the truck without another word. The medical team was busy attaching wires and sensors to Ryeowook’s chest and Yesung did his best to keep out of the way. His job was over since the paramedic team relieved him with a higher level of training. All he could do now was watch and wait.
After a few dangerous swerves and screeching brakes, the ambulance arrived at the hospital. The medics wheeled Ryeowook out on a stretcher and delivered into the arms of waiting emergency doctors. Yesung started to follow his friend, but a nurse stopped him.
“Sorry only authorized personnel are allowed beyond this point. You’ll have to wait here.”
“But-” It was already too late. Ryeowook’s body had rushed off behind a corner and out of sight. Yesung did not sit down; he was too jittery for that. The best he could do was pace frantically back and forth and avoid the eyes of the other relatives who were waiting for their loved ones.
Yesung checked his watch every 5 seconds, but lost all sense of time. Any amount of time was too long for him to wait. He had to know if Ryeowook was alive.
What seemed like hours later, that same annoying nurse appeared in the hallway:
“Anyone here for Kim Ryeowook?”
Yesung stood up bolt right, “YES!”
After giving Yesung a quick head to toe glance she indicated with her left hand, “Please follow me.”
Making no immediate action to disclose any details regarding Ryeowook’s condition, the nurse guided him through many intersecting corridors and paused at a room marked D406.
“He’s just been stabilized. You can wait for him in here.”
“Thank you.” Yesung bowed his head and quickly made his way inside the room.
He saw Ryeowook asleep in a bed with an IV needle protruding from his forearm. A machine beeped quietly as it monitored his heart rhythm. It was slow, probably under 60 beats per minute, but there was no arguing over its existence. Yesung followed each pulse wave of the EKG with his eyes for a while before turning to face Ryeowook’s sleeping form.
Yesung took a seat in the chair positioned beside the bed. His knee hit a clipboard dangling from the bedside and it made a clattering noise before settling on the ground. Stooping to retrieve the board, he read what it had to say.
He muttered some points as he glanced over the page“…Some previous medical history, a summary of the case, and a recovery with 2 broken ribs. Lovely.” Yesung looked down at his own bare skin.
“And I’m still in my jammers. No wonder the nurse was weirded out!” He thought to himself.
He returned his gaze to Ryeowook…He looked so peaceful. Yesung stroked his defined jaw line with the back of his thumb. He saw Ryeowook’s eyes flutter as he cautiously opened them, squinting at the white light pouring down from the ceiling.
Yesung realized he was holding his breath. Letting out a quick sigh, he replied, “Hey you.”
Ryeowook turned his head to see the owner of the voice. “Yesung!” He smiled.
“You gave me quite the scare back there.”
“Really? How so?” His eyes opened wide with confusion.
“You went for a swim, don’t you remember? I’m not sure what happened, but you ended up at the bottom of the pool with no pulse.”
Yesung watched Ryeowook’s as he continued to recount the day in detail. He noticed him blush when he told him the CPR. When he finished the story he allowed some time for it all to sink in.
Ryeowook spoke up. “So, I went for a swim. Drowned. You broke two of ribs while I was dead. And now I’m here.”
“Mmm pretty much.” Yesung nodded his head.
“I’m hungry!” Ryeowook exclaimed.
Yesung laughed, “Oooh Ryeowook what are going to without you?” He thought to himself. Glancing around the room he spied a packet of graham crackers and a can of grape juice on the counter.
“Do you want some graham crackers?”
“Yes, yes, yes!”
Yesung grinned and grabbed the packet from the counter. Unsealing the wrapper he broke the cookie in half and fed it straight into his friend’s mouth.
Ryeowook licked his lips contently. “Another!” He beamed.
“Hey don’t I get any?” Yesung interjected, “I haven’t eaten anything either! I was about to when you decided to die on me!”
“But Yesung…I’m still hungry.”
He looked down at Ryeowook’s undeniable pouty face. Sigh, there was no arguing with that. He fed him the rest of the packet and threw away the wrapper.
“Can I at least drink the grape juice? You have an IV drip giving you some liquid.”
“Yup, that’s fine with meeeeee,” he grinned.
Yesung took a few sips of the juice when his phone rang in his pocket.
“Hey Yesung, It’s Leeteuk. I’m just calling to see if Ryeowook is alright.”
“He’s fine,” He said, glancing over at the boy. He was making a face at the apparent sight of the IV sticking out of his arm. “He just woke up in one piece, I’m still wearing my jammers and we’re all ok.”
“Glad to hear it. I closed the pool for the rest of the day, but you know where you need to be tomorrow morning?”
“Good. I’ll also pay you extra for working long hours today.”
“Thanks. See you tomorrow!”
The phone on the other end clicked shut and Yesung closed the lid of his phone. As he turned around, he met Ryeowook’s searching eyes.
“Yesung?” The boy asked tentatively.
“Mmm?” He made his way over to his bedside.
Ryeowook tingled the fingers in his left hand and tried to move the arm with the IV closer to him. Yesung quickly leaned in and laced their fingers together, ceasing all Ryeowook’s struggling.
Their eyes met and they held each other’s gaze for a long time. The only audible sound left was the rhythmic beeping of Ryeowook’s heat beat, monitored on the screen behind him.
“Thank you…for saving my life.” The ends of his lips curled into a smile while his eyes spoke volumes.
Yesung simply smiled and gave his hand a gentle squeeze. “It’s all in a day’s work.”