Monday, August 31, 2009


As a Personal Fitness Trainer, every 2 years I must do several things to renew all of my many certifications. One of which I had become complacent about & simply wanted to get it over with so I could move on to the next “hoop.”

This past weekend I hosted a CPR/AED class at my house. I love the gal that teaches. She is knowledgeable, fast and NO exam! I always hated taking it from other places that took up 4 to 8 hours of my time. We finished in one hour with time to enjoy some of my tasty homemade Vegan muffins & beverages. (of which you can expect recipes coming soon... I know.. baking in the summer... but I just saw Julie & Julia ... just put me in the mood to bake.. bake..bake.. Bon Appetit!!!)

In case you are thinking...”what is AED?” It is an Automated External Defibrillator, you know... the machine that “shocks” your heart back into normal beat mode. Our instructor carried a portable one with her. She said you can get one like hers for around $1000.00. Phillips was the manufacture of this one.

As I set & watched the DVD on CPR (that I’ve watched many times before,) I kept thinking about all the chores that must be done this weekend. Needless to say, my mind was not on the DVD. After all, I’d been thru this, tons of times, & not much had changed.

I am always intrigued when she brings out the AED. This “little gadget” was amazing! It “talks” to you & tells you what to do! Once you open the box, it begins by telling you to attach the cables to the ports. Then it tells you how & where to attach the pads on the victim. Within seconds, this little box can tell you whether the victim even needs CPR! It automatically begins its analysis of the heart rhythm. If CPR is needed, it will tell you how to start, what to look for & for how long to administer. It even has a beat that keeps you focused when compressing the chest. If CPR is not needed, but the heart is beating abnormally & needs “a shock,” it will tell you to how to administer this procedure. This AED is programmed to NOT deliver a shock unless indicated, even if you accidentally press the shock button, it will not deliver the shock.

Our instructor said you have a 90% chance of saving a life from SCA (Sudden Cardiac Arrest,) if you have an AED. But... that is IF you know how to use one. Did you know that many of the places that are required to have AED’s, don’t necessarily have anyone that knows how to use it?

She told a chilling tale of an incident that occurred recently at one of our local grocery stores. A senior male was shopping in the store, pushing his cart around. All of a sudden, he fell to the ground. He was not breathing. People where running around.. it was chaos. While someone called 911, somebody else pleaded over the speaker, “Does anyone in the store know how to administer CPR or use an AED?” Keep in mind; you have only 3 to 5 minutes to react before the brain dies. Among all the people in that store, one lady spoke up and said she’d had CPR training, but had never administered it before now. She worked and worked with this gentleman and finally brought him back to life! Had it not been for this woman, this senior male might have died. I went to bed last evening thinking of this. I could not get this eerie tale out of my head.

In my career as a fitness trainer, I’d had a few clients pass out on me, but luckily as I caught them while they dropped to the ground, just the bump on the butt woke them up. Whenever that happened, I always prayed, “Please.... don’t let me forget how to do CPR.” I’ve never had to administer CPR in all my years. I would think you would go on “auto-pilot” & all the steps would just fit in place.

-Make the environment safe
-Ask the victim if they are alright
-If you get no response, call for help
-Ask someone to call 911 & get the AED
-Strip off their upper torso clothing, place your head down by the nose of the victim & listen for breathing, watch for chest movement
-Begin with 2 breaths, then 30 compressions, (watch & listen for movement or breathing) 2 breaths, 30 compressions 5 times. This is one cycle
-Once the AED arrives, proceed to connect it up. You want that AED on the victim.. ASAP.

Don’t be afraid. You will most likely crack or break ribs. Just stack your hands on top of each other & place them between the nipples. Avoid placing them down at the end of the sternum on the xiphoid process bone. If this bone is broken off, with each compression you will be cutting into internal organs.

I quickly realized this could happen anywhere & to anyone. A loved one at home, car wreck, shopping at a local store, playing in the park, someone in the gym or at school or at work. What if it where YOU that suffered the SCA. What if you were swimming and drowned? What if you were in a car wreck? How many people would know what to do? How many people would be CPR/AED certified? How many people would have an AED available? You better pray that at least one person is your savor... or you can kiss your "you know what" goodbye!

All of a sudden my complacency turned into urgent concern. CPR/AED training was no longer simply a hoop to me. Only ONE person in that local market was prepared to save a life. She had no idea she’d be called upon that day. She had no idea when she got up that morning, she’d save a man’s life. I knew in my heart, that this was a message directed toward me. A message that I could not ignore, we all must be prepared to save a life, for we never know when we might hear that horrifying plea over the speaker, “Does anyone know CPR and or know how to use an AED.”

How about you? Would you be able to save a life if you were called upon to do so?

Until Next time.......


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