VACAVILLE — Nichelle Fisher nearly died one year ago.
Her mother, Dottie Mulligan-Fisher, watched her go into cardiac arrest as she turned blue and cold. Police and a 911 dispatch operator had to calm her down as she cried hysterically over her daughter.
Mulligan-Fisher thought that was it for her daughter – that she possibly wasn’t coming back.
But on a Friday in mid-December, Fisher, at 19, was alive and well, standing in front of the police, paramedics and doctors who helped bring her back to life.
Fisher’s story is something of a miracle for her mother and the staff at VacaValley Hospital.
Fisher, who has dealt with kidney disease since age 8, went into cardiac arrest in early December 2011. She was “down” for more than 93 minutes as paramedics tried to revive her.
Allison Pearson, the emergency responder technician that evening, never gave up on saving Fisher’s life. Pearson talked Fisher through as she went in and out of consciousness, telling her “we’re going to keep you going.”
Pearson has since been dubbed the “compression girl” by Fisher’s mother.
“I never got to the point where she was considered gone,” Pearson said.
Fisher said she doesn’t remember anything from the incident except for a “very tall man” standing at the edge of her bed when she woke up. That man was her pastor.
“She moved, looked up at her dad . . . I knew our prayers were answered,” Mulligan-Fisher said.
To celebrate the one-year anniversary, Mulligan-Fisher and her daughter threw a “thank you” party for all of the people involved: doctors, nurses, paramedics, police and even the 911 dispatcher (who couldn’t make it).
Each of them played a different but important role in reviving Fisher, her mother said. The paramedics helped revive her, the dispatcher calmed her mother, the doctors helped her back to health and the nurses watched over her carefully as she went into a coma and came out four days later. Even the police played a vital role by involving the neighbors as Mulligan-Fisher reached hysterics.
The mother offered meaningful tokens of appreciation, including a free food spread and certificates of appreciation. The moment was a rare event for all of those in attendance.
“We don’t get a lot of happy occasions,” Phil Sanner, a Vacaville paramedic, said. “That’s just our job.”
Fisher is proud to say she started attending college classes at Solano Community College. The road ahead, however, remains a struggle for both her and her mother.
The question that remains for Fisher is whether or not to remain on dialysis or receive a kidney transplant. She was taken off the list last year because of her poor health. Now that she is healthy enough to receive one, her mother said her daughter is struggling with the concept.
“She’s having a difficult time accepting somebody else’s organs,” Mulligan-Fisher said.
Whatever does happen, her mother is thankful she still has her “little blessing.”
“Thank you so much for not giving up on Nichelle that day,” she told the emergency responders and medical staff.
Reach Heather Ah San at 427-6977 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow her on Twitter at www.twitter.com/HeatherMalia.