Monday, October 6, 2008

Accomplishment #16: Learn CPR (#86)

I like to think of myself as a person who would step forward in a crisis and help out. You know, like if I were on Oceanic Flight 815 on LOST and I didn't get thrown into the sea when the plane ripped in half and wound up on the island, I would totally help. There I'd be, right next to Jack, doing CPR and mouth to mouth and saving people from drowning and freaking out. (And then I could do all the crazy adventuring stuff with all the LOST elite people. Me and Sawyer would TOTALLY rule the island, talking about what a wacked-out looney-tune Locke is, and that Jack is too sanctimonious and not that much fun.)

Jack gives Rose CPR and saves her life.

Alas, chances are that I would freeze up. I saw two dogs get into a fight this weekend, and was rooted to the spot, feeling bad for the dogs and their owners and just tried to stay out of the way. (Which, actually, was probably the best thing I could do.) Whenever I've sat in the emergency exit aisle of an airplane I've agreed with the clause that I will help out in case of, well, the plane exploding, though I wonder if I'd do any good and if I'm a bad person for sitting there all because I just want to have some extra legroom.

But now if I'm sitting in that emergency row, and some Scottish guy on a Mysterious Island forgets to punch in the numbers code and there's a big magnetic implosion that causes my plane to rip in half over the Pacific Ocean, I am ready. For I am A TRAINED FIRST AID PROVIDER.

Yes, you read that right. I am a Trained First Aid Provider. I have a title. (I even have a little signed card, but when I was tearing it out of the book I ripped it so it doesn't look too pretty.) I could potentially save a life. All I ever really knew about CPR before I saw on an episode of The Jeffersons, where George gives mouth to mouth to some white supremacist guy and saves his life, but when he found out it was George who saved him he said, "You should have let me die." So, okay, I didn't really know much.

It all worked out quite handy, really. Not only am I trying to Accomplish these 97 Things and this was one of 'em, but somehow I wound up on The Safety Committee at work. (It was an automatic thing -- there weren't elections like in junior high or whatever.) And so we had a fun day of free sandwiches and CPR. YEAH!!!

CPR Training
Umm, alarming, isn't it? Dummy carnage.

Free sandwiches aside (because free food is always a good thing), I'm actually really glad I got to take class. I still don't know if I would ever jump into a Situation and shout, "Stand back, people! I am A Trained First Aid Provider!" but it's good to know that I could, potentially, help out.

I highly recommend taking a class (you get to learn all sorts of neat things like The Heimlich and how to use a FIRE EXTINGUISHER and see movies with bad, pock-faced actors in traumatic situations) -- if anything, it gives you a peace of mind that you will be slightly prepared if anything were to happen.

But in the meantime, there are some pearls of wisdom I will share with you:

If you happen upon an emergency scene, remember SETUP:

S -- STOP. Basically pause and look for hazards, and try to assess what happened.

E -- Environment -- pay attention to your surroundings -- look for barriers or dangers.

T -- Be extremely careful of, yes, traffic. You don't want to get hit while giving first aid.

U -- Unknown hazards -- keep alert for apparent or developing hazards, that may cause necessary retreat.

P -- Protect Yourself and the patient -- gloves and breathing barriers. Though, admittedly, you might not have those on you at any given time. (But I do! I have a handy key chain kit, now that I am a Trained First Aid Provider! And I am now able to find my keys in my purse!)

here's a face and mucous barrier:
CPR Training
No, it's not kinky. Get your minds out of the gutter.

The first thing you must do when you reach someone who is unconscious is assess responsiveness. Even if you feel silly you must introduce yourself, and if you are as cool as I am, you tell them that you are a Trained First Aids Provider. And then you must tap them on the shoulder and say, "Are you okay?"

If they don't respond and are alone, you need to then call 911 or emergency services. And here is a fact: it is much better to call from a landline than a cell phone; all 911 calls on a cell are routed to the highway patrol, and minutes are wasted because they must GPS track the call. After 8 minutes, a person will be brain dead, so you don't want to waste valuable time. If you are in a group, direct a specific person to call -- again from a landline if possible.

Now... I don't want to tell you too much, because you are not a Trained First Aid Specialist like I am and not as cool as me. Okay, okay, I'm kidding about that but serious about this -- it's because I'm not a trainer, and I think this is really essential, and essential to learn it correctly. Either sign up for a class yourself, or go here:

Red Cross Website

But I am glad I took this class. Among the many political links today, someone sent me a link about that while the economy is tanking, stress levels are rising. And obviously, high stress can lead to heart attacks and other illnesses. (I had to take a friend to the ER the other day for chest pains, which "just" turned out to be stress. Thank God.) Which could very well lead to you having to administer first CPR, which is why it would be good for you, too, to learn First Aid Training.

Plus, you may get to have free sandwiches, watch amateur movies of burly guys in the workplace cut their arteries and spout fake blood, and practice on creepy dummies and/or your friends!

CPR TrainingCPR Training
A lady dummy and Jason in the "recovery" position.

My favorite new things I learned:

You CAN give the Heimlich maneuver to yourself. Lean over a chair with your belly on the back and thrust upwards.

They no longer tell you to look for a pulse -- people have a hard time finding it and waste too much time looking. Just look, listen and feel instead.

There is a "Good Samaritan" Law which states that if you administer help, the patient and/or family can't sue you.

When doing compressions on a patient's chest, the beat is 100 compressions a minute. To get the idea, a song that has 100 beats per minute that you can think of is, humorously enough, "Stayin' Alive" by The Bee Gees. (Now try to get it out of your head.)

I'm really happy and relieved that I took this class and learned new skills. (I even got 100% on the Red Cross First Aid Quiz!) Now I know that if my plane explodes, I can help Jack save people on the island. It's a good feeling.

But honestly -- I hope I never really have to do it.

Sixteen down, 81 to go.


Megan said...

Good for you! I really need to do this, too.

I have a funny story about when my brother was taking his class - his cell phone was in his pocket and accidentally dialed me, and all I could hear was this strange male voice telling him to 'lay down on the ground.'

Oh did my sister-in-law laugh when I called her to ask if he was okay and wasn't being mugged, or something!

Sparkleneely said...

You should! It's just good to know, you know? ;)

That is hilarious. I would have FREAKED OUT and needed CPR myself if I'd heard that!

Rebel Lamb said...

You inspired me to make my own list!
BTW, you are Number 3 in my tops!

Andy said...

I'm pretty sure you've saved my life a few times without knowing CPR! xo

padraig said...

Hey, Meg, you never told me I pocket dialed you during class!