Thursday, March 29, 2012

A Little Mouth To Mouth- VERY Little

I remember learning about CPR way back in 9th grade health and though we didn't get certified, we did have to know all of the ratios of breaths to compressions and everything necessary to give CPR.  I remember taking tests on it and everything.

Teaching fitness classes, I'm required to get CPR certified and we all know what a pleasure recertification is.  And everyone who teaches it is an "expert" and knows "everything there is to know" and always does it "the right way".  There are also different lengths of time that the certification is valid, depending on who does the recertification.

Initially, it was something crazy, like an 8 hour day of learning everything there is to know and then taking written tests.  Then they said to make sure you always renew BEFORE it expires or you'll have to start all over.  That's all I needed to hear and I always beat feet to make sure I wasn't even one day overdue.

At least the recerts are advertised as 4 hours only.

A few times, I went right to Red Cross to recertify.  They are just no fun at all.  And they have all of the "experts" who really are just blowing smoke.

Like the guy who told us a sordid tale of the woman in the market in Chicago who needed CPR and got it and then immediately died.  All because she had on a bra with an underwire and the person gave her compressions poked it through her lungs but no one knew.  YEAH RIGHT.  This was way before but I think I eventually looked it up and it was the most bogus of urban legends.  Moral of the story:  rip off all  manner of bras before giving CPR but you probably couldn't poke an underwire through skin, ribs and lungs anyway.

Or another time I went to Red Cross and the woman's name was something very hippy, like Caramel or Karma or Camera orKudzu--something that began with that sound and wasn't a real name.  Long stringy hair.  60+ if she was a day.  Another "expert".

And this was the worst class EVER.  She made us partner up with people in the room (I had brought no one) and do everything except actually blow into their mouths and do real compressions.

Like being picked last in gym, I was paired up with an old man who might have been as young as 90. He was about my size.  But probably weighed less.  And probably still used Brylcream because there was something nasty in his combed back locks.

There we were, down on the mat, one of us laying on our side, the other using the "special" technique to roll the other one over without damaging anything.  I rolled that man silly.  Poor thing, he COULD NOT roll me over!  Even when I "helped" him a little, he couldn't budge me.  I weighed like 110 lbs.  An ant could have rolled me over, especially with my "help".

Then came the best part.  We had to actually GET DOWN NEAR THE MOUTH WITH OUR EAR and listen for breathing!  I feel ill just telling you my terrible tale.  We had to put one hand on the forehead, lift the chin and pretend to give breaths and then put our ear really close and listen!

Then we all got an actual "face' for the dummies and we had to put our mouths on it and really blow into them.  Really horrid.

So much fun, I'm surprised I didn't go back to Red Cross EVERY time!

Most of the other recerts I have done have been with EMTs that work for one company or another and it's wham, bam, thank you ma'am and we're out of there.  And funnily enough, I usually end up doing these kind at the gym or at school where I actually know people.  So if I had to touch them, it totally would be fine with me!

Imagine the first time I renewed after that Brylcream experience- there I was, on the mat, trying to roll anyone over that was laying there, putting my real ear near their real mouths.

Ok, maybe not but I was pretty traumatized.

But the reason I'm telling you about this is because they've changed the rules.  CPR is NOTHING like it used to be.

It's not your father's CPR.

Today's CPR was designed for the high speed individual like myself.  It's all about time being of the essence.

No more finger sweep in a stranger's foreign cavities.  No one cares if there's an object in there.  They say the compressions would dislodge it anyway.

No more counting ridiculous ratios:  simply compress 30 times, breathe 2 and continue for 2 minutes.  Then reassess! Simple, simple math.

If you don't have any kind of mouth protector, DO NOT DO NOT DO NOT administer breaths at all.  Just pump away.  No breaths necessary and lives can still be saved.  Can you imagine???

No more listening for breaths.  Just look and see if the chest moves at all and then resume CPR if the professionals haven't arrived.

A lot of this is thanks to the AED which makes it so user friendly that a monkey could do it and I do not lie.  Just make sure you stand clear when it administers the shock.  I really talks you through every step of the way and I hear that in airports, they AEDs can be done in several languages.

The AED has brought the survival rate up to 70% when CPR is administered with one nowadays which is amazing.  And I love that I don't have to worry about 5:1, 15:2 or was it 3?  Or any other ridiculous thing.

Not having to do the finger sweep?  Priceless.

No more listening for breaths?  Awesome.

And I highly recommend taking your own friend with you for recerts just in case you have some nutjob who is going to teach you "the right way" and have you making out with your partner.

I cannot go back to Red Cross ever again.

And I still wear underwires in my bras.

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