CPR: To Know or Not to Know

I had dinner with a young couple last night. They have two small children. One is a daughter who is two years old and the other is a baby who is only eight weeks old.

The mom, Robin, was talking about some of the things they had experienced with the two-year-old.
Apparently within the first day or two that they brought her home from the hospital, they had an incident when the baby stopped breathing.

Keep in mind that this was the couple’s first child, so they were brand-new parents. For those of you who have been parents, you can remember how you felt the first time you brought your child home from the hospital. You basically felt super responsible and terrified that the care of this brand-new helpless human being was now totally in your hands.

Put yourself in this young couple’s shoes who had brought their brand-new baby home from the hospital and then had an episode where they could tell she was not breathing. The dad said that he flipped her over and began to resuscitate her. He said it’s a good thing they learned how to do infant CPR before they brought her home from the hospital.

I thought back to when I was a new mom. I don’t remember ever getting infant CPR classes.
With the incidence of SIDS deaths, maybe hospitals are taking greater precautions to train parents on CPR measures.

This couple noted that they just happened to be with their baby when they saw that she wasn’t breathing. It was a very fortunate thing that they were close by, and it was also fortunate that they knew how to do infant CPR.

This makes me think about CPR knowledge in general. I would say that the average American citizen doesn’t have a clue how to do CPR. Maybe they have taken CPR training courses in the past, but chances are they would not remember how to perform the measures, or they would be afraid that they were doing them wrong.

Most emergencies involving cardiac arrest or breathing failure happen at home, not in the hospital. Bystander CPR is not often administered. There are a number of reasons for this like those mentioned above . . . fear or the feeling of inadequacy or the fear of performing a measure that’s wrong.
It seems to me that CPR training should be virtually mandatory for every citizen.

Of course, how to get people to comply and take the training would be a challenge, but it seems like this sort of training as well as ACLS training could be incorporated into different activities or events.

For example, everyone needing to get a new driver’s license or replace a driver’s license could be required to take a CPR course or an ACLS course at the same time. It seems like you would have to link CPR training with some event that most people have to do.
Anyway listening to this young couple talk about reviving their baby made me realize again how important it is for every citizen to know how to administer CPR.

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Empowerment: Not Just a Word

What Empowerment Really Means

I’m thinking a lot about the subject of being empowered.

How does one become empowered? Where does empowerment come from? Can we get empowerment from other people? Does empowerment just arise from within ourselves?
I suspect it might be a combination of all of the above.
There are a number of factors that can contribute to not feeling empowered. One of these is simply how you have been raised and the relating style of your family of origin.

Maybe one of your parents was dominated by the other parent so that the submissive parent adopted a persona that always gave in. That would be the opposite of being empowered.
If you grew up in a family like that where either the mom or the dad was constantly cowed by the other person or let themselves be cowed by the other person, then what you would have witnessed was the opposite of empowerment.

As kids what we are exposed to in our families of origin is our normal reality. It never occurs to us that there could be a different scenario. It’s all we know and because the adults in our life to whom we look up are behaving in a certain way, that is what we think of as normal.

So as a kid if your family of origin contains adults that operate in a dominating / submissive relationship, then you have not experienced anyone being empowered. You will take that into your own adulthood and become either a dominating or a submissive person.

I’m not sure of the dynamics of that and how you turn out to be one or the other, but it’s easy to see that you have not experienced or witnessed people being empowered.

I believe also that as an adult what you are exposed to from other adults, particularly in committed relationships like a marriage, will determine how you feel about yourself. It will also impact your self-confidence and your feeling of being empowered.
If the spouse that you live with perpetually treats you with condescension or contempt, you will become beaten-down and will not see empowerment as a possibility for yourself.

In this kind of situation where you lack self-confidence and the vision of yourself as an independent and worthy and separate person, you will need to be retrained in your thought processes before you feel empowered.

This re-training can come about through counseling or through attendance at recovery groups or by surrounding yourself with a few good friends.

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Family Ties

Southern California in the winter time . . . it’s spectacular.
I’m visiting in a home that was probably built 50 years ago but has been updated regularly. The outside front looks a bit dated but the inside is gorgeous.

The back has an actual yard, which is green, and perimeter beds that are full of flowering azaleas and plants in terra cotta containers. Off to the side of the house is a garden that has giant ferns, peace lilies, camellias, nandina, and flowering plants in more containers. There are some decorative features, like a fountain and a wooden bench.
There’s a pergola and a deck made of natural colored Trex, and a huge wrought iron table with eight chairs and a big umbrella.

Seriously, it’s like a secluded haven back there. This afternoon was warm enough that I could sit at the table with my computer and work. The rest of the family was inside chatting—close enough that I could hear them and enjoy the steady hum of conversation—and I enjoyed a peaceful hour or two on my own.

Every once in a while one of my family members would pop outside to check on me and see if I needed anything. How could I need anything? It was perfect!
Being here has been a keen reminder of how much I miss out on in terms of contact with family when I’m back where I normally live. I haven’t seen my extended family in almost 17 years. Crazy that so much time has gone by!

Being here has made me feel cocooned in warmth and love and history and ties and stability. It has felt so safe and secure. It makes me think about moving back when my own personal situation would allow it.

Realistically, that probably wouldn’t happen. But maybe moving someplace where I have at least some family. My son and his wife plan to move to Virginia this summer, and buy a house and begin their family.

It has crossed my mind to move up near them. I don’t want to be the mom that follows her children all around the country and gloms on to them and makes them feel suffocated. That would suck for everyone.

But would there be some kind of happy medium? Would it be such a bad thing to move near my kids and my grandkids? Especially if there’s nothing really tying me down to my current location?
Or maybe I would move and be near my aging mother. Would that be such a terrible thing?

I don’t know. I can’t move anywhere for at least a few years because I still have a son in high school. But if he spreads his wings and flies far, far away after graduation—like my first two kids did—then I really don’t have much that would tie me to my current location. Except friends.

It would be a big decision to move away. I do value my friends. And I don’t particularly enjoy trying to make new friends. It’s exhausting.

But I’ve realized, during this week with family in Southern California, that my life is poorer for not being closer to them. Or to some family. I’m going to think on that a lot over the next two years and see if I just need to make a change.

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Information Brings Power

Healthy Confidence and Assertion

A little more on empowerment . . . .

Take the woman who has been in an emotionally abusive relationship.
Chances are, she is not even aware that the relationship is emotionally abusive in nature. If she has been in that relationship for a long enough time, then it just seems normal to her.

Usually, it takes an outside person like a counselor or a pastor or a friend to point out that the treatment she is receiving is not normal and is not okay.

This news can be difficult to believe especially if it just comes from a friend. If it comes from an authority figure like a counselor or a pastor, it can still be difficult to believe but eventually can be received end accepted.

Books on the subject can also provide information and shine a light on situations that are unhealthy or abusive or manipulative.

The more information the woman has, the more she can compare her own personal situation with the information and make the determination for herself that she is experiencing something that is not normal.

Just having the information is empowering. For a woman in a long term relationship which has been emotionally abusive, getting information that reveals to her the truth of what’s going on can give her the impetus to stand up for herself and make changes.

This is the essence of being empowered.

The more information the woman gets, the more she will see that she has been a victim and she can change that. If the woman is getting information from a combined number of resources, for example, books, online articles, and advice from a counselor or pastor, then the net effect is information being affirmed by other information.

In the face of agreeing information from a variety of sources, she can make the determination that her situation needs to be changed for her own health and probably for the sake of her kids’ health.

It can empower her to make Difficult changes that will certainly rock the boat and possibly make her husband angry.

Nevertheless making these changes is what will free her from the  life she has been living and the oppression that she has been experiencing. It will empower her to be a separate and new and free human being, one who is released to experience life as she desires and by her own choices.

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