Learning to resuscitate

I have spent the past two days doing my Advanced Cardiac Life Support training.   For those who don’t know, this is the special training that teaches people to do the whole shocking/medication thing you see on television when people die and they call a “Code Blue.”  Basically.

It is a bit intense.  Lots of prep work.  Lots of memorizing and a ton of practicing.  We were broken up into groups of six and basically ran fake codes most to the day learning how to deal with all kinds of arrhythmias and, well, cardiac deaths on a armless/legless dummy.  Good times.

I am sore from all of the CPR.  I skipped the gym so far this week and I feel like I did more than I usually do.  I actually have point tenderness over my hook of hamate and just medial to my anatomic snuffbox.

Some funny things that came up…  Especially as we got more relaxed towards the end of the day yesterday and practicing before our exam.

Coming up with a differential for a cardiac arrest, I was going through the H and Ts.  I mentioned trauma.  One of the guys suggested something horrific must have happened to buddy on the table because he had no limbs.

Same differential… But, on hypovolemia… Well, he may be losing volume through one of his missing limb wounds.

Someone was trying to figure out how much of a range of medication should be administered to the patient  Someone else suggested the lower end of the range, given it was only really a half a person.

These dummies creep me out. Beyond belief.

“So and so, start a peripheral IV.”  “Problem…”  “What?”  “The dummy has no periphery.”

Accidently fake resynchronizing a conscious person without sedation… Heard from the person timing… “Ouch.”

“Can I get some vitals?”  “No.”  “Why not?”  “Well, the person is dead… Asystolic dead.  The only vitals you are getting are your own.”

“Hang on, what was the blood pressure?”  “It doesn’t matter.”  “Yes it does.”  “No, it really doesn’t.”  “Okay, can I get the pulse?”  “There isn’t one… We just established this.”  “Thanks, but what about the blood pressure?”  “You really aren’t getting this whole asystolic thing, are you?”  “Ohhh.”

“I’m sorry guys, I am just off today… I’m just stunned and drowsy.”  “Are you short of breath?”  “Uh, no.”  “Are you having palpitations? Is your heart racing”  “Actually, yes.”  “Shock her!!”  “WHAT!?”  “You have an unstable arrhythmia… Must shock!”

Image via McHumor.com

You would not believe the sexual innuendo that comes with encouraging quality chest compressions.  Especially when you did the same thing all day.  You can think about that and figure it out for yourself.

ACLS is a very serious thing.  There was more seriousness than joking.  But that is how we survived two days of the joy of repeated scenarios and memorizing a bunch of algorithms.  It won’t be as funny when we are running for real codes on real people.  In fact, it will be downright scary.  And sad at times.  But, I am glad we had a laugh while we learned.  I definitely won’t forget some of the stuff just based on the funny things that happened while we practiced.

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