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Our Story

Our First-Hand Experience
with Cardiac Arrest & CPR

The "Before" Times

After meeting in Dallas on a dating app during the pandemic, we got married and became your pretty typical early-30s, corporate America couple who loved staying active. Both of us were healthy and fit with no major health risk factors. Life was pretty simple. 

Lauren and John Tabler in Bozeman, Montana

THE Day

On January 28th, 2024, after a normal Sunday of backyard work, Pilates, and grabbing tacos with friends, John went into cardiac arrest while sitting on the couch watching TV. No warning signs or symptoms at all. Lauren looked over on the HBO ad break during True Detective (because we were too cheap to pay for ad-free) and saw John with no pulse or breath, collapsed on the couch.

Clinically, he was dead. 

The Colony Fire Department

New Favorite Three-Letter Acronyms: 911, CPR, & EMS

Lauren quickly phoned 911 and put them on speaker phone while the dispatcher identified that John was in cardiac arrest and needed CPR immediately. Lauren dragged John onto the floor and began chest compressions for five (long) minutes until The Colony Fire Department paramedics arrived and took over. They used a combination of medicine and two defibrillator shocks to restart John's heart and bring him back to life. 

WTF Am I Doing In the Hospital?

John was then taken to the ER, where it was expected that he would be put on life support. In the meantime, John started regaining consciousness and apparently decided he wasn't in the mood for the whole coma thing. He then spent the next week in the ICU, getting tests run, and recovering. He had short term memory loss and had difficulty recalling any new information post-cardiac arrest. It was literally like the movie 50 First Dates, but on about a 2 minute cycle. After 5 days in the hospital and a full cognitive recovery, John was discharged to go home with a wearable external defibrillator "LifeVest" until he could get scheduled for a cardiac MRI. 

John Tabler in the hospital after cardiac arrest
Defibrillator Bra

John's Defibrillator Bra Era

John's official diagnosis is myocarditis - an inflammation of the heart due to a viral infection. This was puzzling to us, as well as the doctors, because John wasn't sick or symptomatic. Inflammation of the heart in turn can cause arrythmias, or irregular beating of the heart. In John's case, he had ventricular fibrillation ("V-Fib"), the most severe arrythmia that results in cardiac arrest. John will soon undergo surgery to place an ICD, or Internal Cardioverter Defibrillator in the next coming months that will protect him from any future cardiac events. 

Why We Started Vital Functions

240520_Vital Functions-3.jpg

We had an overwhelming response from friends and family asking how they could help following the event. Our action item for everyone was to go get trained in CPR, because it was the reason that John was able to be resuscitated and is still alive today. We started searching for available options to send our network's way and noticed a huge gap - most were 4+ certification classes in sterile corporate classrooms. But most of our friends weren't in careers that required CPR certifications, or they would already have taken a class. We wondered... why can't learning life-saving skills be fun, accessible, and easy for the everyday person?

So, we set out to do it ourselves. 

Although we are trained instructors for "full" CPR, including rescue breaths, studies have shown that hands-only CPR is just as effective for the first several critical minutes. Most people don't happen to have medical equipment with them to perform rescue breaths, like many CPR classes practice with, and they likely will be hesitant to perform mouth-to-mouth breaths on a stranger (which is totally fair)! 

For that reason, we teach hands-only CPR in the spirit of keeping things simple, practical, and approachable for the everyday person, just like us

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