Monday, May 25, 2009

One foot in front of the other

All throughout my early-teen and adult life, I've been CPR and first-aid certified. I had to go through the certification as a teen so I could attend girls' camp. Here we learned how to do the Heimlich maneuver for choking, CPR, cast a broken arm or leg from random items we had in our backpacks and learn how to survive in the mountains if we were ever stranded.

As a Personal Trainer, I've had to keep my CPR certification up-to-date for those times where it's been needed in the gym; like the time a gym member had a diabetic seizure at the front desk, the time another trainers' client had a heart attack in the middle of their session and the time one of my clients had a hypoglycemic attack and almost passed out after doing triceps pull downs.

There have been moments in my life where I've been the first person on the scene of an accident who was qualified to assist. One of those times was when I was coming home from a Personal Training seminar where we just went over CPR and emergency protocols. In this moment, a car accident happened where one car flipped over and the passengers were fine, crawling out as I was running to assist. The other car, the man was not wearing a seat belt and did a face plant into his steering wheel. He was choking on himself and needed his airways to be cleared. As he gurgled and struggled to breath, people were just standing there watching, probably in shock themselves, doing nothing.

As I ran to the truck to help, people yelled at me to stop and not to touch him. The choice was to either tilt his head back and clear his airway so he could breath, taking the risk of paralyzing him or watch him suffocate to death as we stood there waiting for the ambulance and fire department to arrive. The side of his truck had been hit and the door was jammed, so there was no getting him out. I positioned him so he could breath waiting for the fire department to get there with the jaws of life. I have no idea what became of this man, if he fully recovered or if he was paralyzed, if he lived or if he died.

In all of these medical emergencies, I've known what to do and how to treat shock. It's actually pretty simple. Lay the trauma victim down, cover them with a blanket and elevate their legs. Easy as that. Sometimes the trick can be convincing the person that they need to do this since confusion is a major symptom of shock. It's not uncommon for a trauma victim to jump right up, dust themselves off saying that they're fine with blood pouring out of them then attempt to get back in the car to drive to Target to finish their errands.

But this is all for shock from physical trauma. What about emotional trauma? How do you treat that? It's not as simple as kicking your feet up with a blanket around you. After the darkness from the last few months, sometimes I wonder if I'm in emotional shock. I wonder if I'm one of those people who have collected all of the fallen pieces in an armful of disarray and stumbled onward with life, one foot in front of the other, assuring everyone that I'm just fine and going to finish my errands at Target.


Anonymous said...

Just like the difference between physical and emotional scars. The former seems less damaging, because they remain unseen...but often they are the last wounds to heal and the ugliest of scars.

If you are questioning it, you might still be...but it seems (from the short time I've been reading) that you might just be healing still. Not so much shock, because you know what has transpired in recent months and you have been upset and emotional about it, but maybe recovery? Maybe the emotionally equivalent stage of physical and occupational therapy?

I don't know, I'm not so great with metaphors like that...

I just mean to say that you are very strong and you are very smart and very aware of what all is going on around you. Shock seems to be an in denial're past that :)

Thanks for being such a hero to people, btw

erica said...

Emotional scarring is not something that easy to recover from. I spent nearly 10 years with a very abusive man, and I've only been away from him for 4 years and I'm still nowhere near recovered. Sometimes you don't ever recover, even though you try REALLY hard.

I don't think you are in shock, it seems to me like you may be in a recovery period, or trying to make it to that stage.

I know I need to go to some type of therapy to deal with it because I need to learn how to let it go. It's not at all healthy for me to keep holding onto it, because slowly and surely, it's destroying me and my relationships.

It's going to be easier for me, however, because I do not have a link to my past abuser... and you do. You still have Bill and through him you will still have those ties.

Maybe now you have to seriously decide if you're going to let his family rule your life (like they are doing now - you are letting them get you upset and miserable) or in your heart and soul truly let them go and get on with your life with your boys. Maybe a therapist can help with that? I don't know. I don't want to get all zen on you, but I have found a LOT of buddhist meditation techniques to be SO helpful in identifying and releasing (but I still have a LONG way to go).

Bah ok, my novel sized comment is over now. LOL.