Local woman is reunited with man she saved 

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When Michelle Rodriguez-Pico’s daughter was only 2 years old, a grape got stuck in her throat and she began choking.

“I wasn’t there, but when I went to pick her up, the lady told me, ‘We are trained to work with babies if they get stuck with food,’” Rodriguez-Pico said.

As soon as Rodriguez-Pico heard that news, she decided to learn how to perform CPR.

Originally taking classes at the American Red Cross, with subsequent follow-ups and recertifications through her employer at Oklahoma Gas & Electric (OG&E), Rodriguez-Pico had not used her CPR training until a United Way of Central Oklahoma’s Emerging Leaders’ holiday party this past December.

Senior citizens were invited to the party from Trinity Garden Apartments, and Rodriguez-Pico was forced into action as 80-year-old Edwin “Duke” Nix fell to the floor after a round of festive dancing.

After Rodriguez-Pico performed about 22 chest compressions and checked for obstructions in his throat, Nix slowly started to rouse, with Rodriguez-Pico keeping him calm and lucid until the paramedics arrived, whereupon he was taken to the hospital and quadruple bypass surgery was performed.

“I don’t remember it. There was nothing going through my mind because I was too far out of it,” Nix said. “When I got back home from rehab, that’s when I learned it was Michelle who saved my life. I was very emotional. I think I started crying. We have a connection now.”

The two recently reunited, with Rodriguez-Pico happy to find Nix was doing well and “in good spirits,” but was also quick to correct him — or anyone else — when they bestowed the title of “hero” upon her, believing instead that she was merely a vessel through which God worked his healing wonders.

“I’m not a hero,” Rodriguez-Pico said. “The first thing I tell everybody is that it really wasn’t me; it was God. God wanted him to come back, and I was just there at the right time to physically be able to make that happen.”

This is a sentiment that Nix can see both ways.

“There must be a reason I’m still around,” Nix said. “After all, I’m almost 81 years old ... I don’t know what the reason is, but I will discover it.”

Divine intervention or not, Rodriguez-Pico was recently honored with the Positive Energy Together Award from OG&E, something that she will use to further publicize just how important it is to take the time to learn CPR because, as she has proven, one never knows when it’ll come in handy.

“A lot of people think CPR is hard to learn or get certified, but really, it’s not,” Rodriguez-Pico said. “Anybody can perform CPR, and the important reason is the heart stops, and if it stops for more than five minutes, you’re dead. The possibly of the ambulance arriving in five minutes is low, so even if you can take a class, you’ll at least have a possibility of saving a life. I believe anybody can do it. It’s not difficult; it’s not hard.”

Print headline: Life saver, Michelle Rodriguez-Pico used her CPR skills to help a man, but she doesn’t consider herself a hero.

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Louis Fowler

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