Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Chest Compressions

Before I start, a little history on me.  I used to be an EMT.  I was nothing special, low man on the totem pole.  The majority of the members of my squad were certified in Advanced Life Support.  IE: They could run the fancy electronic equipment, insert IV's, and push the drugs.  And a significant number of our staff were older.  Therefore with all of my training, I was pretty much relegated to the grunt work.  Cleaning out the ambulances, hauling the equipment, pulling the stretcher, et al.  I never really shined as an EMT because I was pretty much eclipsed by everyone else.

But on that note:  Due that I was young and strong and not allowed to play with the fancy equipment or drugs I would always be designated to do chest compressions during CPR.  It would be a team effort, one would run the IV, one would manage the airway/rescue breaths, and I would always be on the chest.  So, I've had a lot of practice.  But I've never had a save.

But, I've let my EMT certification lapse.  I haven't run in well over a decade and a half.  But I've kept my CPR certification up to date.

Recently I had to do CPR on an inmate.  (Guess my line of work.)  I can't tell you the last time I did CPR on someone.  But when the medical staff member said to start CPR, I jumped right in.  Just like the old days.  The inmate was packed up and passed on to EMS, and our day continued as what passed as normal at our facility.

Afterward, everyone congratulated me on the job I did.  But it wasn't just me.  I was just in the front when action needed to be taken.  And what I did could have been done by anyone else.  Also, I wasn't the only person doing something.  Another officer did rescue breathing.  The medical personnel did the IV.  It was a TEAM effort.  What I did, I had done before.  So it didn't feel any different.

Well, it didn't feel any different until someone asked me if I was OK.  I had no clue what they were talking about.  When they explained it...  Well, I had done CPR before, so I really didn't "think" about what I had just done.  It was action, not thought.

Thinking about something makes it a lot worse than it really is.  First off, I was coming off of the adrenaline rush.  Second, I had accepted it as something that needed to be done as opposed to something with emotional consequences.

But once I was asked that question, "Are you OK," that's when it kind of hit me.  I had to think of the issue, and about the inmates well being.  And then I got a little shaken.

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