SAVING A LIFE IS 
NOT THAT SIMPLE

   For about 40 years now, I've been meaning to take one of those CPR classes, just in case I came across some poor soul who needed me to save their life.
   Luckily for that poor soul and me, procrastination prevailed and I never had to stand idly by while someone screamed "DOES ANYONE KNOW CPR?" Responding that I never quite got around to it probably wouldn't go over well.
   But now that I'm in my 60's, I figured friends will be dropping left and right, and it would be nice to give one or two of them a few more years when they collapse at my feet. So off I went last week to get my CPR certificate.
   Naturally, I brought my wife along with me. We could save lives together, just like the Baywatch team. And if she happened to bring me back to life someday, that would be nice, too.
   There were 10 of us in the class, and our paramedic instructor, Ron, was 30 minutes late, which didn't bode well for the industry. But when he finally arrived, he brought out 10 dummies, each adorned with a t-shirt with local logos such as Giants, Warriors, Bay to Breakers, etc.
   "I'll take the 49er dummy," I announced to the group as I grabbed it and took it to my corner. "You can't get any closer to death than that."
    Sure enough, my 49er dummy was lifeless and unresponsive as I listened to Ron explain the steps to hopefully bring it back to its former glory. I watched him demonstrate CAB, which stood for Compression, Airway and Breathing.
   When he said that the rate of pumping the chest should be to the beat of the Bee Gee's song, "Staying Alive," my wife suggested I might consider dropping the class.
   "With your sense of rhythm, your dummy has no chance," she whispered, looking at my comatose 49er.
   I was on my knees on a hard floor, trying to pump life into my dummy. And my knees don't like being on a hard floor.
   "If you ever collapse with sudden cardiac arrest and expect me to save you, " I said, grimacing. "you'd be wise to do it on a nice, soft carpet. Otherwise, you're on your own. "
   Having mastered the art of compression (I overcame my rhythm problems), we moved on to Airways and Breathing. There was much discussion about how to protect yourself from blood, vomit and disease while giving mouth-to-mouth. That was fun.
   A pocket mask with a breathing tube is your best bet. The only problem is it never seems to be available when you need one. But no one said saving a life is supposed to be easy.
   Then it was on to AED devices, or more commonly known as de-fibrillators. They're all over airports and some other public places, and when used properly, while also performing CPR, can shock the heart back into a regular rhythm. 
   Ron opened the kit and instructed us on how to use the very simple device. He explained that the kit comes with a razor and if our victim's chest is hairy, he (I'm guessing it's a he) will need to be shaved in order for the pads to stick properly.
   My wife and I immediately thought of a couple of our hairy male friends who look like they're wearing a sweater when they take their shirts off. Garden shears might be more appropriate for the kit, rather than a razor. By the time the shaving was finished and the hair was finally gone, they'd be history.
   We had done it, though. We were now certified in CPR for the next two years, at which time we'd have to go through the course again. Someone from the American Heart Association obviously figured that it was possible to forget everything we learned after two years.
   I admired their optimism. A one week certificate would probably make more sense for me. The good news is that I asked for and received a business card which I could put in my wallet and had all the steps to take for a successful CPR. I figured if I was trying to save someone's life, they wouldn't mind if I used a cheat sheet.
   As for my 49er dummy, he was as dead as ever after the 4 hour class. Sorry. Miracles don't always happen.
 

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