Your last worst hope

Yesterday TD and I had to go to a CPR recertification course. Granted, CPR and general rescue guidelines have been pared down a lot in the past few years to make it easier for lay people to attempt to help someone in an emergency situation. But our training was a little too relaxed.

As soon as we walked into the room, I made our trainer for a Baywatch castoff. Tan, laid back, looking like he still had remnants of sand in his sun-bleached hair. He promised to let us out early.

The first thing we worked on was adult CPR. When it was our turn to be tested, TD and I crouched around our resuscitation doll, Resusci-Annie. Except the doll is male. But not the point. Our instructor walked around the room observing. When he approached me, he said "Great job, perfect." I looked up at him. "My guy's chest isn't moving when I do the rescue breaths - I don't think I'm actually getting any air in?" He smiled at me and winked. "Yeah, it's hard to get it right," he said, and walked away.

The rest of the class was pretty much the same drill: we'd screw stuff up, Baywatch would offer absent-minded praise. TD performed the adult Heimlich backwards on her doll, and another woman in the class gave infant rescue breaths that easily would have collapsed a baby's tiny lungs.

Last came the protocol for performing the Heimlich on an infant. When it came time for the skills test, I went just before TD, and when I finished I handed the fake baby over to her. She flipped it upside-down and started to wack its back like it was an NFL quarterback who'd just scored a winning touchdown. And kept on wacking. Eight, nine, ten... "I think your baby's brain dead," I commented, half amused and half appalled. "But, on the plus side, the food particle is probably dislodged."

TD frowned. "Isn't it 30 times?"

"No, it's just a few times. So that your baby's once again able to breathe, but isn't, you know, tenderized like a pork chop."

She frowned. "Huh."

Baywatch strolled over. "Good work," he told TD.

She looked over at me pointedly. "See?"

"Oh come on," I was mildly horrified. "He'd praise manslaughter if it would mean he could get home earlier."

As if to prove my point, Baywatch adjourned the class. Who hired that guy in the first place?