Friday, February 19, 2010


Guess what y'all? I am now Red Cross certified. Yes, this girl is who you need to call when your life is on the line... though just to be safe, I'd still go with 911. But you know. I'm here if you need me.

In my few years in the gig I currently have, I have had to call an ambulance twice while on the clock, so I was super ready to get this training under my belt. And - this is not meant to be funny but it's true - there is a lot of senior citizen traffic through our doors. So on Tuesday, about 30 of us set out to learn how to save some lives in case duty called.

We went through CPR stuff first: using a "breathing barrier", you do two test breaths and then start pumping for 30 seconds, to the rhythm of - wait for it - "Stayin' Alive" or "Another One Bites the Dust." No, seriously. If ever in that situation, you can bet I will be pumping to "Stayin' Alive" and not the other song. Why stop there, why not "Since You've Been Gone" or "Live Like You Were Dying?"

We followed that session with AED training - Automated External Defibrillator. These are the things you see that shock hearts back into rhythm. Only they don't go square on your chest like in the movies, they go on the upper right, lower left of the chest, so as to mimic the natural flow of blood to/from the heart. These machines walk you through what to do - "remove all loose clothing and jewelry" - so you can just calm down and listen instructions while it reads the heart movement. And then, if a shock is necessary, it tells you to stand back while it delivers 150 jules of energy to the person. To give you an idea of what that's like, your run-of-the-mill taser only delivers one jule. So the machine shocks the heart back into rhythm and everyone lives happily ever after.

We also learned about choking and when it's time to step in. You should always ask "ARE YOU CHOKING???" because you never know, it could be an asthma attack. So you give the person five pops on the back, in between the shoulder blades, before you start the Heimlich abdominal thrusts. Dr. Heimlich only recommends the thrusts, not the pops on the back first, whereas the Red Cross endorses both of those moves, so no more calling it the Heimlich, at least not around here. My favorite part of this session was the advice to "point" the person away from other people, because once that Jolly Rancher/chicken bone/grape becomes loose, it comes FLYING out and then you'll be doing first aid on someone who gets a Jolly Rancher to the eye.

I can also make a splint, dress a wound, and a whole host of other helpful activities. Just one thing - I started getting very lightheaded during some of these conversations. I am not sure I wouldn't panic or pass out. I didn't use to get woozy at the sight of blood or whatnot, but in the past few years, I most certainly have.

My card is coming in the mail soon, but please don't test me on any of these skills. They say you are more likely to have to perform them on friends and family than strangers, which makes me super nervous. C came over for dinner Tuesday night and afterward I showed him how I could save his life if he choked - he was thrilled. Unfortunately, he "didn't make it" so I had to start "CPR" on him. Then I got freaked out and realized I didn't ever want to be in that position. So y'all take my word for it and please don't make me have to show off my skills on you.


  1. I would trust you if my life was in your hands. Did they do the whole before you start anything tell them 'my name is blah and i am first aid certified. i can help you.' that was always my favorite part. repeating who i was and that i was certified - as if that would encourage someone in my lack of skills.

    i pray you will never have to use any of this, but now at least you are prepared if you do! dont worry if you felt queasy in the training. if you were the one having to respond, you would do what you had to do with out thinking...then afterwards you would pass out :)

  2. I am certified too so you are safe when you come home...well sorta safe.


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