Wednesday, February 27, 2008
This is a test, it is only a test., if it had been real life.......
If I'd paid closer attention as I walked into the room, I'd have realized the butterflies in my stomach were about more than test anxiety. The man who would teach all who came for this CPR training seemed to squirm to extreme as he sat at the front of the class room, again and again straightening stacks of papers and books, some pens.

At least twelve empty seats surrounded the desk area in front of them. Without really thinking I had laid my jacket on chair next to where I would sit. The first thing this instructor said, no, more commanded, was that I move the jacket to the back of my own seat.

I couldn't see that this was a huge problem, but did as he said, and waited for the rest of the class to get there.

When they came, and the fidgety instructor asked us to state why we were taking the training, America was well represented. An Hispanic man spoke first, then a tiny young oriental woman. A young boy, not old enough to be called a man, slunk in his seat, and when he spoke one could hardly hear him. Next to me sat another older woman who was a nanny, and needed CPR for caring for children. I was the only nurse in the class. But by far the happiest of all of us there was a couple who appeared about in their early thirties. They were adopting a baby, and CPR was required for them.

When everyone taking the class was there, our instructor stood up, and beamed in on the young, quiet one. "First I want to say thank you to those of you who cared enough to be on time. He stared down at the youg person again: "Don't be late again, he rumbled at him, you need not waste our time" The young person humped deeper in his seat, then turned and stared at a nearby wall.

I was not liking this instructer, not one bit, but held onto what little cool I still had. Six hours of training that night and four hours the next day, and pass the test, and I wouldn't have to ever see him again.

The training flipped back and forth from watching real people on film show us proper hand and body placement for giving breaths and compressions. I had done this training many times, so was already familiar with most of it, except a few changes. But he just kept hammering the class, and for some reason I didn't understand, seemed to single me out much more than the rest.

I have no doubt that if I needed to give CPR to one of my patients, or a stranger somewhere in the world I wouldn't hesitate one bit, and would know what I needed to do.

By now we all had plastic manikins to practice on, and were on our knees on bare wood floor, checking for signs of life and giving breaths and groups of compressions, with most of us well in rhythm together. An hour and 20 minutes later, he was still bellowing "faster, faster!" "This could be a real person!, he yelled. He could have been cracking a whip over our heads.

Before I got up off the floor, I already knew the next day I'd be sore. My knee I've had the knee replacement on already was somewhat swollen, and beginning to hurt. I gritted my teeth, willing myself to get through the training. That night of it was almost over, and after a few hours the next evening, I'd be out of there.

Somewhere in the first day of it we were allowed one ten minute break, and got right back to practicing, and watching more film. The young man was five minutes late, and received a seething eye rolling speech from this instructor.

When we began on the second night, I wasn't at all surprised when the young man wasn't there, and not surprised at his comment about him. Pointing to the chair where the young man would have sat, he circled the room with a roll of his head and spoke loud enough for all to hear: "That's how those community service characters are, they never finish the course"

Again we had to do all the steps of CPR, this time to children, and then to babies. My only relief was that I could place them on the table, and not have to get down on my knees on the floor again.

Finally, the instructer stacked up all the items on the table he'd kept stacking and unstacking a lot, and handed us our paper tests. His speeches he enjoyed enlighting us with, had eaten up all the class time except less than forty minutes for our tests.

I paid very close attention to everything he said, especially about the test questions and pages we'd be writing our answers on were not in sequence. He had mentioned we had to score 80% so I read each question carefully and chose the best answer I could, and kept moving on, to finish.

I was the next to the last person in the room to finish, and waited. With a swoop of his hand he drew a huge circle over one part of the test. "You didn't get enough right answers here," he said, as he marked big exes on the parts I missed. I hurried back to my seat, and raced through them again, and once more stood quietly, while he ripped through my answers again.

"Here, these are the ones you missed", he said loudly, but by now I wasn't worried. Somewhere in life I'd heard "If you can't beat em, join 'em." While he almost seemed to enjoy pointing out how I'd failed, making bigger circles on my answers, again and again, in his determination to point out where I'd failed he had marked in the correct answers. By now I knew he didn't intend to let me pass, so I did what any smart student would, if they'd been dealing with him. I simply memorized the letters of the proper answers, and filled them in, and when he allowed me to pick up my already signed CPR card, I ignored my still swollen knee, and gritted my teeth for the second time in his class, and placed that little card in my purse, and said a polite "thank you" to him, and left.

Outside, the couple who are adopting stood by their car, holding hands. By now all the others had left. Having the last word, saying ugly things to the instructor would have made me feel smug, but was so pointless.

I wonder about the young man doing the CPR as part of some required community service, and hope someone in his life is more helpful to him than this pitiful person who is so full of himself, and his imagined importance, that he has nothing to give.

This CPR course won't be a significant part of my life, but what I learned there will.

  posted at 11:45 AM  

Sunday, February 24, 2008
Oh the seasons, how they turn.
I'm not real sure how I got back here. Today a very caring son spent hours putting a new computer together for me, so when he finished I had to email far away daughters, let them know I'm not still lost out in cyberspace.

Feeling pretty smart that I figured out how to do even this much at this brand new keyboard, and checking a few other things to see if I could do more, I became downright nostalgic to return to Flight Song, so I can connect with all of you again.

It doesn't seem a long, long time since I turned the computer off for what I thought wouldn't be long. Christmas would arrive again, and herald another year. After all the calendar pages I've turned over and over, you'd think I'd be wise enough to not imagine predicting anything. But I did, and more important than that, God had other plans.

Sometimes we may get so busy we don't realize that tremendous events, even a miracle or two land on our shoulders because that's where the Lord wants them to be. He has work for us to do. If I hadn't chosen this house out of many, my son very well would not have survived his ruptured appendix. Leading me to this particular place, very close to where he lives, was where I needed to be. Much that is critical sometimes seems to hang by a very thin string. Today this son not only is doing well after his heavy duty surgery. As he does more and more work on this seemingly incidental place, while his postoperative days fade behind him, a new appreciation for his own life, and pride and confidence rises.

Anyone whose a mom doesn't need this explained. When he had surgery the year before, the night before it he quit smoking, gave his last pack away, and hasn't started again. Something about scary surgery seems to bring out resolutions in him. This time around he stopped drinking. If I had any doubts, they are seriously history. God gave my son back to me.

Later I want to share other things about this long drawn time. But tonight my heart is peaceful as Easter and springtime near. I can't wait to see what previous owners planted in the yard, and there's a rustic old deck out by the house, almost as eager as I am for its first big barbecue. I won't even pretend knowing what the seasons may bring, but I am pretty sure whose in charge of them.

  posted at 12:18 AM  

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Name: Judith

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