Thursday, 11 November 2010

Cough and spit

The disposable white bag (on which you write your name to keep it for the day)
is used during CPR practice to mimic a baby's lung volume.
Small hey?

Every year, all clinical staff in the NHS have to do what is called "Mandatory training"...its a combination of an infection control update;manual handling;fire fighting...various other odds and sods...and of course...Basic Life Support!

It drives most of us nuts to be honest...either its something you do often,or its not...and if you're doing it often,then to be honest you don't really need any more practice...and all of the staff in our Unit have the Paediatric Intermediate Life Support qualification;and most of us also have the Advanced Life Support qualification.


Still at least its a day off of the floor and basically you can sit and doze in the corner.The 'Resuscitation Officers' are always passive-aggressive,slightly tense and very anal;just occasionally they're also good looking with a little mammary hyperplasia which at least gives me something to look at when they're demonstrating the best CPR technique..!
(I know....I'm a pervert...who knew!)

And of course there are usually a few thickos on the course to provide some amusement....bearing in mind that you do the training every year....and that you have a clinical job somewhere...affecting real people...

At some point this week ,when talking about children and CPR ,the trainer discussed agonal breathing.

One of the participants duly put up her hand and said....

My children often fall deeply asleep...and I think their breathing rate drops...are you saying I should be doing CPR on them?

"No Ma'am...but I think you could ask your university for a refund!"


Fortunately she was only an occupational therapist so the chances of her actually killing anyone besides her own family are slight.

We then moved on to choking and the abdominal thrust technique,once called the `Heimlich manoeuvre'...and the trainer asked if anyone had every done it in real life.

I put up my hand...I've done it twice on patients and once on a colleague at work...Ugly Jean...still not sure if that was a good idea though!!

Picture the scene...
...its a warm summers Saturday night in Johannesburg...
...and I am working as the Night Superintendent at the Park Lane Clinic...

It was a good job...basically you were the senior nurse and the only manager and you dealt with any and every crisis and problem that can happen in a private acute-hospital during a 12-hour night shift.

Part of my duties and responsibilities was to open the kitchen and distribute the midnight meal to the staff...they would microwave it on their own wards.The cooks were nice people and always left some treats for the staff.

This particular Saturday they had left me a fresh fruit platter and a plate of addition to my normal 'main' meal.
I took my meal and that of the night receptionist and the driver/telephonist up to the office we all shared just behind the reception desk.

Now the driver,-Philemon-, was an innocuous fellow...but the receptionist was pure evil.
We had taken an instant dislike to each other the first time we had met and continued exposure to her did nothing to change my mind.
She was spiteful and vindictive ,and a gossip and trouble-maker.
She was also stupid and racist and lazy and rude.
And we worked a seven nights on/seven nights off shift pattern!

She was also a thief...and was always stealing food...but was never caught in the act...until...

So I left the food piled on the central table but put the fruit and cheese on my my office...and specifically told her that it was for me...'hands off'...and left to do a midnight ward round of the hospital-Labour Ward had been busy and the Neonatal Unit had also had an admission.

I got back to my office at about 0200 ,looking forward to the fruit...which of course,was missing...

"Jean...where is my fruit platter?"

I dunno....I haven't seen it...

"Jean....I left it on my desk and told you to leave it alone...where is it?"

I dunno...maybe Philemon ate it...or maybe the maid threw it away...

"Jah jah Jean....jah jah..."

I sat down at my desk and started to read the paper...
...and a few minutes later I heard a coughing/choking noise...

I lowered my paper to see Jean sitting at her desk ,about 3m away,with both her hands around her neck in the classic choking sign...
She was already a little blue.
On the desk in front of her was my fruit platter.
She had hidden it in the top drawer of her desk.

I lifted up my paper and started to read again.
It was an article on Pamela Anderson after all.

The coughing and gurgling and general choking noises continued and even increased.

I lowered the paper.

She really was quite blue...her eyes were bulging in terror...saliva running from her open but blessedly silent mouth

I took a sip of tea and weighted up my options...
...I could just let her choke to death...did I mention how much we hated each other?
...I could pretend that she had choked when I was on a ward round...and that I had got back to the office and found her dead...
...but that would mean filling in all sorts of paperwork...
...and we would need to train a new night-receptionist...such aggravation!

By this time she was slumped on the desk,my fruit platter all squashed.

Sighing,I finished my cup of tea,strolled over to her,wrapped my arms around her...oh man...the body odour alone was reason enough to let her die...and gave her a hard thrust to her abdomen...

...and a grape shot out her mouth about 4m across the room and bounced off the was really quite spectacular...

She sat back in her chair gasping and crying with snot running from her ugly nose...

Eventually she calmed down...

"Where did the fruit come from Jean ?"

What fruit...?

That's how evil she was...
...I really should have let her choke!


  1. Hey, we've heard this story before! :-)

  2. Oh no!! It must be the dementia...what does it say that my readers know more about me than I do!!! mea culpa...mea maxima culpa!!