OKALOOSA ISLAND — It's been almost two weeks since Tennessee native Janet Patterson and her family returned from their Gulf Coast vacation.
Almost two weeks since she performed lifesaving measures on a drowning victim.
Every day since, she has thought about the woman in the purple bikini, wondering if she was alive.
"I had no idea what condition she was in when she left that beach," Patterson said.
Janet and her family were enjoying a day on the beach on June 25 when she noticed the other beachgoers looking at something in the water.
That "something" was a woman floating face down.
Janet sprang into action. She had been a lifeguard and was CPR-certified as a teenager. She is also the chairman of the board with her local Red Cross chapter.
"I knew immediately that (the woman) was in trouble because she was face down and the way her body was twisted up, I knew she couldn't be conscious," Janet said in a telephone interview from her home in Tennessee.
As soon as three men pulled the woman from the surf, Janet went to work.
"Her mouth was full of water, she was just lifeless," she said. "She wasn't breathing. My first instinct was to clear her airway."
Janet turned the woman onto her side and started forcefully patting her back until she coughed and gagged.
"Am I in heaven?" the woman asked Janet.
"I thought 'what kind of experience did she just have?'” Janet recalled. "And I said to her, 'Did you just see the light?' I'll never know. She couldn't respond to me."
Janet continued to pat and rub the victim's back, telling her to stay calm and breathe, until the lifeguards showed up.
"It seemed like forever for the lifeguards to get there. I heard a four-wheeler come in and the lifeguard jumps off, gets this big yellow suitcase off the back and comes running down and sliding in on his knees … I told him everything I knew so far and then I knew he had her, so I just backed away."
She then started a chain message going down the beach, trying to find someone who knew the woman.
"Woman, purple bikini, tattoo on shoulder, dark hair, drowned, pass it down. We need to find her people."
One of the lifeguards finally told Janet that the victim's name was Linda and she was a regular to that beach. No one was with her that day.
Afterward, bystanders told Janet that they wouldn't have known what to do if she hadn't been there.
She hopes her story will help motivate others to get CPR training so they can be prepared if put in a life-or-death situation.
"If you know what to do, then you can react," Janet said. "It just takes one person to have that knowledge and instinct to respond save a life and it was me that day."
After she contacted the Daily News this week, Janet finally got her answer about what happened to the woman in the purple bikini.
According to Okaloosa Beach Safety Chief Rich Huffnagle, the woman was taken to the hospital and released a few hours later.
"I was so relieved to hear that she was all right," Janet said. "That was the best news you could have given me."