fairly large ones, as well as numb fingers, that are the result of 500+ chest compressions performed on the presumed dead, but revivable (that really is a word) mannequin at my CPR recert class on Friday.
Usually, it is little more than a formality, but the instructors were being monitored by the powers that be, so there were no shortcuts. I’m going to have bruises for weeks because I, being nearly six feet tall and pretty strong, can produce a mean, straight, rigid armed, muscles flexed, chest compression.
I was transported back to another time and reminded of my days as a Paramedic when CPR was a fairly regular occurrence …
Unfortunately, I let both my TN and VA certifications expire after I got married because my husband frowned upon me spending 24-hours at a time with men who weren’t him – never mind that I was trustworthy, a straight arrow to the core, it bothered him … and out of respect for his feelings, I left the position. Now, years later, after he has passed away, I don’t have the desire or drive to go through the classes again to obtain that status and so … there you go.
But … broken ribs, bruised sternums, lights, sirens and driving 80 mph on the back roads … starting large bore IV’s into unwilling veins, using the defibrillator (before the advent of the AED) in the back of a rig as it swayed and bumped along the rutted roads, riding to the ER, straddling the patient on the gurney, counting out loud with the chest compressions as doctors and nurses waited outside the door was a rush that cannot be duplicated.
It was like an episode of ER, back when it was a decent show and actually still on air. The early George Clooney days. Good times emerging from the worst possible scenarios…
and yet, I digress …
that scene was at least a monthly and sometimes, depending on the time of year, a weekly event. There are times when I miss it … As much as the job, I miss the extremely cool pants …
I have held the neck of an injured person, whispering words of encouragement as the Jaws-Of-Life cut the top off a car as easily as opening a can of tuna, inserted a chest tube to relieve the pressure of a pneumothorax, performed a cricothyroidotomy in order to make a patent airway, intubated with the McIntosh blade, which was my laryngoscope of choice because it was curved and, in my opinion, more conducive to sliding between the vocal cords than the straight Miller blade. The vocal chords, when visualized in reality, are really quite beautiful and an anatomical enigma. (an adrenaline junkie? maybe so … ok, yeah, probably) .
But given all of those things, the lifesaving techniques that I am able to employ, I still have to recertify in a CPR refresher course every two years.
In May, I performed CPR on a man who dropped like a stone while pumping Gas (and lived to tell about it because of early intervention and initiation of EMS … I shouted call 9-1-1 to a baffled lady who did it out of pure shock) but that, as far as the American Heart Association is concerned, doesn’t count for anything.
And in two years, I will get to do it again.