Here is an article I wrote for FAWCO on being prepared in a medical emergency.
Note: Adrianne is not a medical professional; this article offers some resources where you can train to be more prepared for a medical emergency.
During our weekly call the other day, my cousin asked me if I remembered one of our classmates at university who had watched her mother die because she didn’t know how to perform CPR. I didn’t remember, but immediately thought, “how tragic!”
She went on to recall a recent conversation she had with a former colleague who saved her mother’s life because she performed CPR on her after watching her drop the drinking glass she was holding with a strange look on her face.
Right then and there, we decided to learn CPR online. What would you do if a member of your household became stricken or collapsed? We’ve been asked not to stress our healthcare systems during the COVID 19 pandemic and to call before going to the hospital. It is up to each of us to do our part for the community during these stressful days, weeks and months.
Would you be poised to act quickly and save your loved one’s life? Now that there is a high likelihood that entire nuclear families are saying home together, it is a good idea to prepare for medical emergencies.
Here is a list of skills you can learn free of charge at home along with your household. The life you save may be your own if you all learn this together.
Cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) is an emergency procedure that combines chest compressions often with artificial ventilation in an effort to manually preserve intact brain function until further measures are taken to restore spontaneous blood circulation and breathing in a person who is in cardiac arrest. It is recommended in those who are unresponsive with no breathing or abnormal breathing.
Learn how to perform CPR online for free.
FOR PETS ‒ They are family too!
II. Abdominal Thrusts or the Heimlich Maneuver
My mother, sister and I don’t talk about it, but I saved my sister’s life this winter. I spend half of the year in the bosom of my family in the US, and during one protracted visit, sitting on the recliner in my bedroom my mother purchased for my grandfather so he’d be comfortable during his visits, I heard a bit of a ruckus downstairs. I muted the television and it became clear that I needed to go see what was happening. I saw my mother distressed as she watched her firstborn gasping for air. My sister was unable to breathe, choking on something.
It was clearly not a joke, and I ordered my mother to dial 911 while I performed the Heimlich maneuver. How I managed to do it and get my sister breathing again remains a mystery. I only repeated what I’ve seen on television. I didn’t know what I was doing, but I was determined to save my sister’s life. We don’t talk about it perhaps because it was so scary, so traumatizing. We were so lucky. The 911 operator was told everything was OK. I came to the phone and assured her we were OK. I think I went back to my room and cried.
Don’t be like me. Learn the correct way to perform abdominal thrusts. The Heimlich maneuver, (also called abdominal thrusts) is a first aid procedure used to treat upper airway obstructions (or choking) by foreign objects. The term Heimlich maneuver is named after Dr. Henry Heimlich, who first described it in 1974. Performing the Heimlich maneuver involves a rescuer standing behind a patient and using his or her hands to exert pressure on the bottom of the diaphragm. This compresses the lungs and exerts pressure on any object lodged in the trachea, hopefully expelling it.