I had the opportunity to be raised by two absolutely remarkable people. Actually, sometimes I think they over raised me. They deeply ingrained within me some life standards that sometimes I wish I weren’t burdened with.
You know what I mean, I was constantly hearing things like, “ALWAYS do your best,” “Be the type of employee you would want working for you,” and “Thou shall not lie, murder, steal, or covet.” It is hard trying to live a life with those kind of standards sometimes; not to mention occasionally annoying. There are times I wish I grew up hearing a little more, “Hey Susan, let me show you how to get this done good enough, ok?” Or, “This task in front of you really doesn’t deserve your full attention, effort, or time-just check it off and move on.”
Let me give you a most recent example. You see, I’ve been certified in basic life support for adults, children, and infants, including choking, for at least 13 years. I keep my certification up to date, learn new recommendations by the American Heart Association, as well as carry my CPR certification card. In addition, until it dry rotted, I also had a portable face mask in my glove box and have even considered putting an AED (Automated External Defibrillator) on my Christmas list to keep at home for the unfortunate, unexpected, yet prepared for lack-of-life event. (Just in case you didn’t pick up on the sarcasm I wrote in that sentence it was there, okay?)
Anyhow, this year, instead of having to sit through a live re-certification course taught by an individual who obviously didn’t struggle with deeply ingrained high standards, who easily fast forwarded through many details that I found important and maybe even rewind-and-review worthy, I got to do an online re-certification.
At this moment I so wish I was the type of person who could let the educational videos run while I completed mundane tasks around the house or even run quick errands not far from home, returning just in time to hit play on the next video. But, “Nooooo!” I was raised so well that I sat on the couch and watched every bit of every video, and even participated in each mock emergency knowing that, of course, the one that I didn’t watch or practice would be the one I would one day face.
I do really think I could jump straight to the test and probably pass it enough to regain certification. But “Noooooo,” if there was 20% I didn’t know, I would be plagued every time I saw that CPR card in my wallet. I would be reminded that there was 20% I was too lazy to learn, that I hadn’t given my best, and maybe even lied somehow! Therefore, I continued on with this re-certification course in a way that I would hope someone who may need to perform CPR on me one day would be doing. NOTHING LESS.
This re-certification time kind of scars my thoughts for a while. I sit at the dinner table trying to decide whether my oldest child would be considered “child” or “adult” when it came to CPR or if I should check my youngest’s carotid versus brachial for a pulse. Or, when out to dinner trying to enjoy a nice evening out, I can’t help but look around and wonder, “Would I be able to deliver effective Heimlichs on a man of that size, or would need to revert to the maternity hold?” It really is quite distracting.
I even came across one of Haley’s babies the other day who was obviously was not ready for peanut butter and jelly.
Instead of responding normally like, “Great, now I have to clean this up too,” I couldn’t stop myself from reviewing. “Baby, baby are you okay?” I might have said out loud. However, while I was tempted to actually practice back blows and chest compressions on my daughter’s baby doll found lifeless in our playroom, I decided that only a complete whack job would do such a thing and instead stood there momentarily mentally letting that baby have it firmly with the heel of my hand between the shoulder blades. I did agree with myself that it would be appropriate to attempt a finger sweep at this point since the PB&J was visible. You do know that you never perform a blind finger sweep if you cannot see the object doing the choking, don’t you? NEVER…..Unless you are in real life and you are like, “What in all creation is stuck down my child’s throat, and let me see if I can get it out.”
Let’s just cut to the chase anyway. When it comes to an emergency situation, I don’t think anyone is going to demand to see my certification card or really care if I’m giving breaths and compressions at a ratio of 15 to 2, or 30 to 2. The fact is you simply have to get some oxygenated air into the lungs and blood to the brain in some sort of alternating fashion. The cold hard truth is, CPR is really quite modifiable,
I think. I mean, my friend told me.
(It is very important to know your audience and I’m not for sure that I don’t have a reader who is on the American Heart Association Certification Card Revoking Board or AHACCRB for short.)
You see, I will never forget one time as a young girl watching my dad administer CPR to my hamster, Peaches, all laid out flat on top of the hood of our blue and white Dodge Ram-Charger. After intubating her with a small piece of fish aquarium tubing, he delivered the tiniest little puffs of air, observing for chest rise, followed by compressions with the tip of his index finger at a rate and depth I’m sure that was determined on the fly. I’m not kidding folks she revived for a while! Now she wasn’t ready to take a walk around the yard with a piece of yarn wrapped around her neck like she always enjoyed doing with me, but you know what? I watched my dad never quit trying, giving his best, and performing CPR on her like he would hope she would try to do for him if her little paw hands could generate the force. And this, my friends, is just one of about a million reasons why my dad is my biggest hero.
You know what I’m going to do right now? I’m going to find out what legal steps I need to take to make this blog post an official document waving any liability to anyone, whether certified or not, in the unfortunate event that I may need CPR. This includes those individuals who may find it necessary to say, “Susan, Susan, are you OK?” when I’m found slumped over a full basket of laundry, or “Mrs. Leatherman, Mrs. Leatherman (if I am older than you are and you were raised by parents like mine),” if you find me in the hallway with one leg bent up behind me and without a blanket, and you are unsure if I’m taking at nap. I even mean you!
I mean, what do I have to lose, you know? I don’t care if you tilt my head or do a chin thrust, kneel beside me or even straddle me if you’re feeling like you’re getting better compressions. Don’t be afraid! I mean just really get in there and give it your all! Do it just like you’re the hero in an action movie! Yeah! They always have a positive outcome!
Somewhere during all this rambling I have changed my mind about something. I am clearly aware that NONE of us can ALWAYS provide our BEST in EVERY situation. However, I am so thankful that “good enough” wasn’t the go-to action plan that I was taught or had modeled for me. I’m glad “good enough” wasn’t considered acceptable performance from me when it was less than I could do. (Even if it meant receiving another job as punishment for performing the first job like a lazy, punk-face, teenager.) P.S. This happened to my older brother much more frequently than me. I even saw him get a 3rd job one time!
While “good enough” is usually quicker, easier, and often less stressful, “good enough” doesn’t leave you with the same satisfaction, pride, and peace that knowing you did your best can deliver.
In all honesty, I wish all kids could have parents as GREAT as mine! Love you Mom and Dad!