Tuesday, April 12, 2011


I am now certified in CPR and First Aid. Well, technically I was already certified because I took the training last year. My company requires it. I guess because of all the high voltage we work with they want us to be able to perform CPR on our coworkers if they receive a shock. Even though most of the levels we work with will vaporize a person instantly. I've seen pictures, we have to take Safety Training too and they have a film that's just like the "Blood On The Streets" one you had to take in Driver's Ed, only for electricity. It's very gross. Electrical wounds are disgusting because they burn you from the inside.

By "we" I mean people who work at my company. If I actually thought I had to work with electricity like someone folks here do or the utility people do, I'd quit in a second. I'm a software engineer. The five volts that power this keyboard I'm typing on makes me nervous. My boss hates it when I tell people I'm not qualified or experienced with electrical issues. He knows it's true, he just wants me to keep it to myself whenever possible. I don't want any misunderstanding...I work with bits and bytes, not volts and amps.

The most interesting thing to me about the CPR and First Aid training is how it changes every year. One year you give breaths first, next year you give chest compressions first. Unless it's a child. They keep making changes so there's no possible way I will remember after a few days. The CPR success rate is amazingly poor anyway. It's better than zero, but not a lot. Maybe it also keeps people from feeling useless around someone having cardiac arrest.

The little defibrillator machines are very cool though. First they have an analysis mode where they determine if your heart is in ventricular fibrillation, where your heart is beating out of synch so it won't pump blood through the ventricles properly, or if you are in ventricular tachycardia where your heart is beating too fast too pump anything. Then it performs the heart equivalent of a reboot. It shocks you and stops your heart, which then hopefully restarts correctly. The success rates of these things are amazingly high, something like 70% of people who get one when having a cardiac arrest survive. Makes me want to carry one with me everywhere. Maybe someday they will build them into cell phones.

So if your heart attacks you and I'm around, you can accept a big smooch from me.

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