Monday, February 23, 2009

I felt his pulse stop...

Most of the people reading this have probably taken CPR at some point in their lives.  Most employers require it these days and even if they don’t, many people take it for personal interest.  Most of the people reading this have never had to perform CPR... I used to count myself in that number. 


It always sucks to be short staffed on a Friday, and when it came to me to be shift manager on Friday the 13th I had this nagging feeling that something was going to go wrong.  Of course, I didn’t want to be so convinced of this that it would up becoming a self fulfilling prophesy, but still, there was something that told me the night just wasn’t go off as planned... and it didn’t, but even though we were busy, things stayed calm until around six in the morning when I overheard the phrase “I’m calling 911”.  This is never a good sign as we try and avoid calling it as much as we possibly can.  So I went down to the drunk tank...

In the drunk tank, one of the staff had a discovered a c/n not breathing when they went to check on them (this being why we check on people every 15 minutes).  The staff member had already begun CPR and the client had started breathing again... and stopped again, twice.  So I joined in.  2 person CPR is SO much easier then 1 person CPR and my co-worker was just a little panicked.  And when I say a little, I mean he was definitely in need of a deep breath.  So I got him to do the breathing, because you have to take slow deep breaths. 


After the third or fourth time we revived him I felt his pulse with my fingers, to time it, and to reassure myself that it was there...and it was, until it stopped.  My co-worker started doing chest compressions and I could feel those, each one created a pulse of its own (which I find fascinating, even though I know that’s what it’s supposed to do).  I lost count, but my co-worker says we revived the man seven times.  By the time the paramedics finally got there he was sitting up, conscious, holding my hands as we breathed, in and out, together. 


Then the paramedics arrived.  And the guy FREAKED out.  It took six people to hold him down while they gave him some haldol.  I have NO idea what he was on, or how a person can go from no heart beat to seemingly psychotic within such a short amount of time, but he did.  I’ve never seen anything like it, and I hopefully never will again.  

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