Mandatory Training day is imminent next week and I hear I am to be there from 9am to 5pm.That's one heck of a long time to sit and stay awake, so to cheer us all up I must redress the balance because resuscitation training day, done separately, is always good for a bit of tension and acute concentration. I mean this is serious, people could die in front of you for want of listening properly so we do make quite an effort.
Years ago we used to have do a practical exam for resus.
Into a room with two examiners and a mock-up of a "terrible event" with a Resusci-Anne lying on the floor looking very unwell.
For some reason, where in real life we'd
probably definitely just get on with it, this whole mock-up thing used to
work us up into a feverish, adrenalin-soaked, nervous heap of terror. Heaven knows why, we'd all been watching Casualty for weeks for some revision.
One colleague bravely entered the bear pit first and emerged some considerable time later looking ashen. She had confused the numbers of compressions to breaths and after two quick chest lunges had moved in swiftly and efficiently to do fifteen breaths (or was it twelve...or fourteen?) on the Resusci-Anne. After about ten breaths she was seeing stars, feeling decidedly light of head and the Resusci-Anne was now looking more like the Resusci-Hindenberg and at similar risk of explosion. Through the mists of a fast approaching self-inflicted Glasgow Coma Scale of two she saw smug grins mixed with grimaces of impending doom on the faces of the examiners and realised the error of her ways.
Bless her, she managed to gasp out her mistake as a warning to the rest of us before slumping in the corner a demoralised and breathless failure, ready to rip up a lifetime of nursing certificates and scrub out the letters after her name. So armed with the numbers now drilled into my head I dashed in for my turn.
I immediately resisted the natural urge to say 'Sorry, no can do, someone's made off with the legs, this one's a no hoper' because that's not funny and it was not the moment for such frivolity.
I spotted the fallen ladder but was more excited about the electric cable lying under the torso.
Aha, trying to catch me out eh? Clear case of electrocution.
I did my verbal assessment and talk through of the situation.It was calm, composed and, eat your heart out Casualty and Charlie Fairhead, it was masterful. Switched off the plugs, made the area safe, summoned help from thin air, called 'Hello, can you hear me?' to half a doll and proceeded to perform, though I say so myself, a perfectly executed resuscitation when the doll didn't reply.
Feeling quite pleased with myself I awaited my Distinction with Honours.
There was a lengthy silence.It was patently obvious the examiners were completely overwhelmed by my stunning expertise and at this point thinking to themselves, let's hope this woman's around when the big whopper strikes because we're sure to live to thank her.
Could you carefully examine the back of the
half a doll's casualty's head?
Ah, right, yes, quite a great big head injury there, er, goodness, a hole even, quite a lot of blood too, oh my word and clear fluid, where did that come from? Yeeeees...hmmmm... probably a skull fracture.
Mind you, these things do often look worse than they are.
Dirty trick I thought as I went and joined my colleague, huddled and demoralised in the corner, and divested myself of any pretensions I may have had that I could ever save a life.
In the immortal words of Henry James, who I'm reading and loving all over again right now,
'...the very stuff that human life is made of. What is it but the discovery by each of us that we are at the best but a rather ridiculous fifth wheel to the coach, after we have sat cracking the whip and believing that we are at least the coachman in person.'