Here I am again, after a longish hiatus. i’m feeling inspired and creative. I’m moving forward into this curious, wonderful life I have.
I decided last fall that I was going to get all my ducks in a row and apply to be a special-education assistant for the local school district. To that end, I enrolled in a Red Cross CPR class, which is a requirement for most such jobs.
I signed up and paid my twenty bucks. Then I began to get nervous, and Shy Teresa threatened to take over. I kept telling myself that this would be a great learning experience and an adventure.
I set off on the good old “short bus”, ParaTransit, for the office complex in which the class would take place. I got there early and met the instructor. He was a retired school principal. I could tell that he’d had very little experience around blind folks, but recovered quickly and remained professional.
We watched videos, which had scenarios in them concerning emergency situations. Then we split up into pairs and reversed roles of rescuer and victim. Again, I felt nervous playing the rescuer, because I had to poke and prod and splint and otherwise manipulate body parts of a complete stranger. Oddly enough, I was more concerned about inadvertently harming someone than anything else. My partner was very experienced in CPR, and put me at ease.
Lunchtime was interesting, because the office park the class was held in had no restaurants of any sort. I pointed out to various Red Cross folks at the facility that they might mention this in the class description. I hadn’t brought anything to eat, but as it turned out, some other employees had some bagels and cream cheese left over, so it worked out.
After lunch, it was time for the manekins. We put them on the floor, practiced our “call 911!” scenario once we knew there was no pulse or respiration, and did the thirty chest compressions followed by two rescue breaths. For our practice, everyone was handed disposable plastic masks. Since I had a difficult time finding the opening for the mouth, The instructor gave me a real mask with a one-way valve, which was much easier for me to manipulate.
There were some funny moments. At one point, I got frustrated and said, “Come on you dummy!” The instructor quipped, “Please, it’s manekins in the red Cross; not dummmies.”
We finished the instruction after a bit of quizzing. Sometimes the instructor talked to me, and I wasn’t aware he was doing so. I asked him to use my name when he addressed me, but I do believe he forgot it a fair bit of the time.
All in all, it was a very interesting experience. I still have the rescue mask. I even keep it in my purse. May I never have to use it. But I can if I need to.
By the way, I highly recommend CPR training. It’s informative and provides a bit of skill and confidence in dealing with medical emergencies. I feel that I could at least be instrumental in helping in such a situation.