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It’s a Dangerous World Out There, People…

It’s a Dangerous World Out There, People…

It’s a Dangerous World Out There, People…

I went to CPR training/certification last week with Sanford House. I felt a bit anxious as the trainer painstakingly itemized all the unfortunate things that can happen to a person. In the video, after someone cut themselves with glass or collapsed while ordering coffee at a kiosk, there was always someone who stepped forward. They would hold up their hands like a surgeon and say, “Remember the emergency training I took? I can handle this.”


And then the person, a little smug if you ask me, would go through the prescribed steps to secure the area and provide quality care until the real EMTs arrived. The course was supposed to give staff members at Sanford House  the confidence to be that person.


Here’s What Made Me Anxious…

There are A LOT of dangerous circumstances out there to beware of besides heart attacks and chocking. There are cuts that require gauze and pressure to stop the bleeding. More serious gashes that might need a tourniquet (we fashioned them from tree branches and bandannas). Around every bend there are snake bites, bee stings, spider chomps and concussions. Overdoses, broken bones, drowning, curling iron burns and anaphylactic shock wait in the wings to ruin your day…


And babies – we were assigned baby dolls with trachea and instructed to resuscitate our tiny charges (with two fingers instead of two hands). Pressing a third of the way into their chests 30 times to the tune of “Staying Alive” by the Bee Gees; two breaths into their maws, watching to see the chest rise; repeat.


I started feeling like Aunt Josephine from Lemony Snicket: fear that the chandelier might fall and impale you. Fear that the glass doorknob will shatter and get in your eye… Fear that the alcohol wipe I used to clean my dummy’s mouth  didn’t prevent infection…


The Good News…

The good news is that I am now certified in CPR. Although I don’t see myself stepping forward boldly like the actors in the video, I am good in an emergency. And now, I know what to do if a stranger keels over at my feet or bleeds all over my beige carpet (hint – deal with the wound first and the Woolite Rug Cleaner later...).


The other good news is that even though I am anxious about it, I have at long-last become aware of the world’s dangers. There was a time, when I was drinking, where everything from mitigating the peril of  riding in golf carts with nefarious strangers to near-daily hematomas were remedied with another glass of wine.  In those days the cause was also the panacea…


I had a morning habit of checking the sheets for blood and running a finger over my teeth to make sure they were still there. (Which reminds me, I know what to do if you knock out your teeth or cut off a finger!) Then I’d lean over and start my day with a slug of the leftover wine on the bedside table.


Sobriety Breeds Safety…

Interestingly, the CPR class did not talk about what to do if someone had alcohol poisoning, specifically. Although we did get the number of poison control and talk about what to do for an opioid overdose.


The bottom line is that “normal folks” are aware of potential danger without developing irrational fear. And they also tend to the occasional emergency with the appropriate level of care. Not like the old me, who drunkenly cut off the top of my thumb with a Cutco knife hosting a dinner party, and wrapped it with a tea-towel and (you guessed it) had another drink…


I continue on this journey of recovery, perhaps as a late bloomer, but keen to learn. My previous disregard for safety aside, I can now step forward and try to save a life.


And that’s what it’s all about, right? Just staying alive, the best we know how…


Today I’m not drinking, because I’m ah ah ah staying alive…



How come you’re not drinking?

E2E – I can take care of you. WE can take care of you…

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Comments (4)

  1. Avatar
    Nov 4, 2017

    I needed that stayin alive tune in my head when I was going up that sand dune ! Should have told me sooner!

  2. Avatar
    Nov 4, 2017

    How come you're not drinking?
    Because it stopped working and was killing everything
    Enjoy your blogs!

  3. Avatar
    Tim S
    Nov 4, 2017

    How come you're not drinking?
    Because I would t have given a damn about learning COR when I was drinking
    We were taught, here in Oregon, to use Stayin’ Alive too. I know 2 examples doesn’t universality make, but it’s interesting.

    But it sounds like you had the full emergency first aid course, as opposed to the compression/breaths/dummies/defibrillator course that I’ve had several times. (I try to get recertified every few years; both because I forget and because best practices change occasionally.

  4. Avatar
    Nicole Clarke
    Nov 6, 2017

    How come you're not drinking?
    Because I don't want to disappoint others, and most of all myself.
    Such a useful skill!!!

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