July 25, 2011 reported in kaaltv.com - It's a question that weighs heavy on Diane Lenway's heart since her near-death experience. "How do you thank somebody that saves your life," says Lenway. Just last month on June 21, Diane was at her desk working when she started having trouble breathing."I took a naproxen, for my carpal tunnel, and within a minute I started to feel the heat and the pressure in my neck," says Lenway. She sensed she wasn't feeling well and headed to Chief Winkels office and told him she was heading to the hospital."I was sitting at my desk and all of sudden they came by and I could tell she wasn't going to make it to the hospital," says Chief Dwaine Winkels with the Albert Lea Police Department.
She didn't even make it out of the building before she collapsed. "I felt like my chest was going to explode, I wanted them to know it was a lot of pain, but I couldn't talk," says Lenway. Diane went into anaphylactic shock and stopped breathing."I suddenly didn't feel any pain, or pressure at all, everything all of sudden felt better, but they seemed more panic at this time," she says. "I remember seeing them clearly, but later I found out, I was unconscious, so that was weird." What took no more than a minute, felt like an eternity. "I could hear him (Winkels) telling everybody what to do, he was so calm and collected, it gave me a sense that I was going to be okay," says Lenway.
"It was just text book, get to the scene, check airway, breathing circulation, I checked all three," says Winkels. With the assistance of another co-worker, they realized Lenway was having a serious allergic reaction and found her Epi-pen in her purse and Chief Winkels was quick to use it. "Within a minute, she started breathing again," says Winkels. "We all have to look out for one another, it's a close working relationship, her and I, we've been through a lot with the transition of this department, so I, like anybody else wanted to make sure she was okay."Diane nominated Chief Winkels for a "Life Saving Award" and although it means a lot for Winkels, it means so much more for Diane. "From the bottom of my heart, thank you for saving my life, because I know I wouldn't be here if it wasn't for you," she says.Chief Winkels does hope this serves as a reminder for businesses to make sure all employees are aware of each other's health conditions. The more you know about your colleagues, the better prepared you are in case of an emergency.