When Knowing CPR Isn’t Quite Enough

Several times over the 39 years I was teaching, an Emergency Services team came to a faculty meeting armed with dummies and a slide show to give CPR instructions to the staff.  I’m pretty sure that happens in other workplaces as well; most adults probably have the rudiments.  That and the Heimlich maneuver (which I had occasion to use successfully-thank-God on my dad at a family dinner one time.)

But now that we are no longer working and are old enough to be considered officially elderly, I’m thinking that there should have been another class (or, more likely a set of classes) for people about to retire.  Something along the lines of “Providing In-Home Assistance and Care to a Loved One” (PIHACLO). Probably with periodic refresher courses.

You know – how to transfer someone safely from wheelchair to bed or commode or anywhere else and back again.  Or, even more basically, all the tricks of wheelchair transport – which armrests and footrests to remove and when etc. etc.  And the best way to get a 200-pound person from point A to point B without touching one foot down.  And the tricks of bed baths.  Etc.

Fortunately (or not), we’ve had some on-the-job training in the not-too-distant-past.  But, I still feel like we are learning the hard way.  Lest readers be tempted to write about all the professional help available in situations like ours – fuggetaboutit.  Been there.  Done that.  Have several ‘T’ shirts.  When you have a bathroom emergency in the middle of the night, the healthy half of the team needs to know what to do and how to do it.  Right now.  Just saying…

Those of us who live in rural areas are especially up against it.  I know more than one couple who felt they had to uproot themselves and move to an urban area where more services were available.  And, of course, if you have “just enough” but not much excess, money-wise, you have even more to figure out.  Again… this is not a plea for help. Just an observation.  So maybe that Getting-Ready-for-Retirement class, PIHACLO, should include a laminated list of service providers and phone numbers specifically for the geriatric set.  Just sayin’…

For me, it helps to remember that our forebears managed, one way or another.  I often think of my grandparents who aged gracefully in this very house back in the day when the nearest hospital was a boat trip away.  And, when it comes to the indomitable spirit part, it helps to remember Matisse.  Toward the end of his life he was often bed ridden in his apartment in Nice. However, he continued to draw on the wall and ceiling around him.  (Don’t tell Nyel.  Although, I don’t think drawing would be his first choice for distractions…  Maybe chickens.)

One Response to “When Knowing CPR Isn’t Quite Enough”

  1. Diane Buttrell says:

    Maybe dominoes.

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