Thursday, March 7, 2013

Compressions and Breathing for Life

I've been dreading today for the past month when I first got the email at work that my two-year CPR certification was up. CPR is a required training for all employees at Bear River Mental Health and so I knew there was no way around it. Fortunately, they usually arrange a trainer to come and teach us - especially when there is a group that are due around the same time. The next email told me the day - March 7. I've been grumbling about it since then. Mimicking the "are you alright, are you alright?" scenario they make you practice on the dummies {excuse me, they are manikins or simulators - not dummies. They have feelings, you know}.

I laid in bed as long as I could. I even seriously debated the pros and cons of creating a headache and a 'mental health day'. Dragging myself out of the bed, I decided I had made too much of a fuss about having to go so it would be too coincidental if I were not to go.

After the training got started, I had a different feeling about this teacher/trainer whatever. And that feeling wasn't misplaced.

One of the first things that caught my attention was his comment that when you start life saving efforts on someone, 'you become their link between life and death'. Wow. That's kind of huge. Especially when you think of it in a spiritual sense. I probably can't even put names to all the links I've had in my life. Some I probably didn't even realize at the time that they were links. Maybe that's what makes people lose hope so quickly and soundly and permanently - there's no one there to be their link.

Not long into the morning, he alluded to an experience he had had when he was called upon to perform CPR. It was on his dad. He used the story for the rest of the class time to teach us the do's and don'ts of the life saving processes that may be necessary in an emergency situation. It was amazing.

The class went an hour over and, except for feeling the need for a Pepper 10 or Max, I didn't notice or care. I came away with more knowledge and confidence and understanding for CPR than I ever have in the past. Technicalities and lists and acronyms were not his method of teaching. He taught through an experience - a visual - that I could grasp and remember much better than statistics and studies.

To make the long story as short as possible, after his dad was recovering at the hospital, he told his son that he didn't ever want him doing CPR on him again {maybe it was the pain of the six broken ribs????}. He said it was way too difficult and painful to recover and death would be easier and more peaceful. He voiced those wishes again and they were honored in another near-death experience his dad had. Everyone knew about his dad's wishes.

Then he said about a year or two later, he was talking with his father and they were reminiscing. His father mentioned him doing CPR on him again and, of course, his son said, "NO way. Remember you don't want any life saving efforts made. I won't perform CPR again!" His dad hung down his head and then he said, "I was wrong. Living is much better."

No tests or quizzes or written exams. About broke my wrists on the simulator, though, as he made us keep doing it repetitions over and over. This was after we knew he'd worked on his dad for about ten minutes before professional help came. We went maybe two or three minutes. I have a greater appreciation for those who help others so selflessly.

I'm glad I didn't give into the headache version of the day!

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