Friday, 18 May 2012

I'm a fan of "Stayin' Alive"

In my former working life, I was a first aider. I say was because my First Aid Certificate has now lapsed.  I was always a bit squeamish about hypodermic needles and the sight of blood, more so if it was my own blood. So I decided the best way was to confront the issue. To be honest I don't like needles even now but the sight of blood no longer makes me feel squeamish. Well, it has a bit of an effect if it is my own blood but I take that as a given for everyone.

Over the years CPR techniques have changed. I remember it being 10 compressions, three breath's. Then it changed to 20 compressions and two breath's. Then the rules changed again. Due to some diseases possibly being transmitted by the kiss of life, it was 30 compressions and 3 breath's but only administered by one set of lungs. We also had a special mouthpiece to use. On my last week long refresher course it was constant chest compressions in time with the beat of a song. Now, no breath's need to be administered.

Following the beat of the Bee Gees "Stayin' Alive" has been recommended by - The British Heart Foundation - to help people perform the correct number of chest compressions each minute - as has "Nellie the Elephant." Vinny Jones in his role as the hard man of the CPR world uses "Stayin Alive" - somehow I wish it was Vinnie and Nellie - it has such a ring to it. 

At various refreshers it was not just the CPR that seemed to change. Over the years, it changed from finding a course partner and administering or inflicting CPR onto another First Aid volunteer. (after the first event I was always careful to select in advance the prettiest girl as my CPR partner) Then came what I first new as "Anatomic Annie" who as far as I was concerned spoiled one of the better parts of First Aid refresher courses.

Resuscitation Annie, as she was also known was a lifelike manikin. Now over the years improvements in her design were made so that she reacted a bit more realistic. It seems that "Annie" was of French origin but not by invention but by looks. In the late 1890's the body of a young girl was pulled from the River Seine in Paris. Because her identity could not be established, a death mask was made, as was customary in such cases. The young girl’s delicate beauty and ethereal smile added to the enigma of her death. 

Romantic stories that speculated on this mystery were published. According to one, her death was the result of an unrequited romance. This story became popular throughout Europe, as did reproductions of her death mask. However the face of the Mademoiselle from the River Seine was to be used as the face of Anatomic Annie. With this startling revelation about Annie, one might just say voilĂ !

Vinnie has a history of administering health checks. I did enjoy watching Vinnie doing the "testicular cancer check" on the football field with Paul Gascoigne.

I come from the school of "Any form of CPR is better than none at all." So if you come across me needing CPR, try and hit 103 compressions a minute. Sing to yourself "Nellie the Elephant" because I will be doing my best at "Staying Alive".  Please try and avoid involving Vinnie Jones and his two pals.


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