(VIA The Press Enterprise)
One minute she was picking up her uncle, the next she was lying in a hospital bed. Jennifer Lopez doesn’t remember anything that happened in between.
The 27-year-old Menifee resident went into cardiac arrest as she was leaving a Moreno Valley bowling alley Sunday, Sept. 22.
A registered nurse who was bowling at the time rushed to her aid and performed CPR until emergency medical personnel arrived.
Lopez said Bobby Morse saved her life.
“I feel extremely lucky,” Lopez said. “The doctor said it’s a miracle I survived. There’s someone truly looking out for me.”
Lopez was in the hospital nine days. After she was released, her parents wanted to show their gratitude to Morse. A nurse at the hospital knew Morse and told them his name. But they didn’t have a phone number or a way to contact him.
Knowing Morse was in a Sunday bowling league, Lopez and her parents returned to Brunswick Moreno Valley Bowl Sunday, Oct. 6, to look for him.
After more than an hour, they noticed a large group had arrived. Lopez’s dad, Ron Jeglum, approached the group as they were preparing to start a game. He asked if one of them was Bobby Morse.
“Thank you for saving my daughter’s life,” Jeglum, 51, said as he embraced Morse.
Moments later, Morse walked near the front counter and hugged Lopez. She handed him a thank-you card.
“I’m so grateful,” she told him, wiping away tears.
Morse said he was shocked to see her alive and well.
“When you left here,” he told her, “I thought you had died.”
Morse, 44, talked later about the incident.
After Lopez collapsed, Morse was asked to go to the front after being told someone was having a seizure.
People were holding Lopez and calling her name. He checked her and didn’t get a pulse. A friend brought him his bag with his stethoscope that he carried with him.
With the help of two friends, he started performing CPR. He said he detected an unusual breathing pattern, but never got a pulse.
Emergency medical personnel arrived about 10 minutes later. They used a defibrillator to get her heart beating. She was taken to Riverside County Regional Medical Center four miles away.
Morse, who works in the emergency room at Riverside Community Hospital, said he performed five rounds of CPR. He was assisted by two friends: Crystal Patterson, a registered nurse at Veterans Affairs Loma Linda Medical Center, and Vanessa St. Clair-Ford, a nursing student at Cal State San Bernardino.
Morse, a Moreno Valley resident, said he’s amazed at Lopez’s speedy recovery.
“It’s awesome. I can’t believe it,” said Morse, who is also the procurement transplant coordinator at OneLegacy Foundation, a nonprofit that promotes organ and tissue donations and transplants.
Jackie Jeglum, Lopez’s mom, said her daughter was diagnosed about a year ago with Graves’ disease, which affects the thyroid and can produce symptoms such as increased heartbeat. She wasn’t taking her medication because she didn’t think she needed it, Jeglum said.
Jeglum, 51, said her daughter didn’t sustain any brain damage because Morse performed CPR right away.
“That’s what the doctor said was the difference between her living and dying,” said Greg Baker, 47, Lopez’s uncle who was with her when she collapsed.
Lopez said she has learned from her health scare. She now takes eight pills and is on a strict low-sodium, non-fat diet. She expects to return to work at the Fresh and Easy Distribution Center in Riverside the first week of November.
“No more trips to Portillo’s for lunch,” she said, referring to the Moreno Valley restaurant known for its Chicago-style food. “It’s a whole lifestyle change.”
Lopez plans to bring her two daughters, Lorna, 8, and Christa, 6, back to the bowling alley on Sunday, Oct. 13, to meet Morse.
Ron Jeglum said he wants to treat Morse and his wife, Jennifer, to dinner and a night or two at the Mission Inn as another way of saying thanks.
Morse said it’s not necessary.
“I don’t need it,” he said. “Just seeing her alive and doing so well is enough.”