5 January 2016

Save a Life (in theory) with The Drunk Pokaroo

Working at Big Grocery means being prepared for all kinds of situations. Our customers come in all age ranges, shapes, ethnicities and sometimes states of sobriety. It was with this in mind that I was selected to be in the group to receive training in First Aid. This may seem surprising to you that a man of 42 years old has never had any sort of formal first aid training, but I though I had all the basics learned through years of taking care of myself, so why bother. Boy was I wrong.
I was apprehensive about taking the course, my anxiety rocketed up the charts at the thought of having to participate in any sort of group training and of course, acquiring new skills is always a little intimidating. But I understand the need for our store to have as many properly trained individuals, at least theoretically, prepared to help colleagues or shoppers should they need assistance. So in I went with a little fear in my heart.
It is a two day course with the first day being focused on CPR and the second on more basic first aid. I was pleased to learn that while I had a basic understanding of how chest compressions were done, but with a little instruction, felt more comfortable at my ability to perform this possible life saving measure. The simple methods used to keep blood flowing to the brain for people of all ages is an easy to learn skill that I honestly think should be taught in high schools. Make this very important process part of our young peoples education and I think it could help to save lives.
I noticed a couple of things about the training that I hadn't considered before and they are presented in a way to help the first aid provider feel like they can and should help someone in distress. First is the need for consent before helping someone. It is stressed that if someone is conscious and aware, you must never try to help them unless they give their permission. Sometimes you just stay with them and call 911. Respecting an individuals personal space takes precedence over your own feelings. However, if an individual is unconscious or unable to communicate, you must assume consent and provide whatever care you can until the professionals arrive.
The second thing that struck me as odd at first was the repeated urgings that when providing CPR to a person in distress, that person is already dead and nothing you do makes their situation worse, except doing nothing. This is a simple idea, that when someone goes into cardiac arrest and their heart has stopped, they are clinically dead, By providing CPR, you are trying to help keep oxygen in the blood flowing through the body by pumping it manually until the EMS arrives. I think the reason they stress this idea is that when we try to help someone and fail, we can feel a loss of self as well. The fear that we could do something wrong or would not be able to really save anyone might hold a person back from helping. One of the ways they try to make you to see that any assistance is better than none is to try and absolve your conscience of the fear that what you do did harm to someone. I like this in theory, but I wonder how I would feel if I tried to help and it wasn't enough. It is something I will carry with me to keep me focused on the person I am helping should I ever encounter a situation where these skills are needed.

 I am happy I did the course. It has strengthened my already present life skills with the proper knowledge of basic first aid. I am shocked we don't push this as a skill more young people should have and really think it should be part of the core curriculum in a secondary school setting. I understand the costs associated with providing this could be prohibitive, but surely the very easily absorbed skills of even the simplest method of CPR are worth it.
If you have already done some basic training, good stuff. If not, perhaps consider getting at least a course in CPR. It is worth it and the life you help save may be someone you love.
My new approach to doing things that are outside my comfort zone this year is a definite plus for helping me overcome my anxiety. I know I can continue to push the boundaries of who I am and by acquiring new skills or improving old ones, I make myself a better person. I appreciate what I have been able to accomplish with the help of my friends, family and co-workers and look forward to where 2016 takes me. This week is a good start, stay tuned. I promise some new beer related travels and reviews are coming too.
Who wouldn't want this well dressed
man saving their life.

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