First-Hand Knowledge

by

By: Josh Williamson
Head Athletic Trainer

I always have kids in my CPR class that ask if I have ever performed CPR or if I have ever personally experienced any of the things that I talk about in class. I tell them that I have never performed CPR and would prefer to never have to and then I relay a story of having gone through the emergency action steps of check, call, care that we discuss in class. But other than that, I’ve never had a personal experience with the major injuries/illnesses that we discuss in the class. I’ve always believed that I would be able to explain things better if I have experienced them myself, but I’ve never been compelled to make a major injury/illness happen (who would?). But, as fate would have it, I have managed to have an experience that, fortunately, I survived and I am now a better instructor because of it. This is the length I’m willing to go to for the education of America’s youth.

I wanted to enjoy a nice evening last week. Practices were done early and I thought it would be great to avoid cooking and to go to dinner. Who wants to go alone though?  Not I, so I asked a friend to tag along and enjoy my company (as most people do).

We ordered entrées and I decided that an appetizer was warranted and ordered some calamari. We conversed for a little bit and then the appetizer came. I dug in and ate quite a bit as we continued to talk about the week. I was pretty hungry at the beginning of the meal, but when the entrée arrived I could barely eat a quarter of it. I thought nothing of it, boxed up the meal, and we left to go around to some shops…looking for some great Halloween costumes.

As we walked around checking out the different costumes I noticed that I had a little itch on my chest. No big deal…but then I started itching all over. I made my way to a restroom to evaluate my situation, which, at that point, was not good. I was covered, head to toe, in hives and was sunburn red all over. I didn’t panic (for at least 30 seconds) until I started to feel some pressure in my chest. I knew I needed to act fast to take care of the situation. I grabbed my friend and gave them the keys to my car to drive me to a place where I knew I could get help — Wal-Mart.

My friend dropped me off at the front door and I rushed in, heading for the pharmacy. I arrived and had trouble locating the Benadryl. I requested help from the pharmacists, who took their time helping me until I showed them the hives that were springing up all over me. They handed me a box of children’s chewable Benadryl, which I proceeded to tear open and consume in front of about 20 Wal-Mart customers who had to be wondering what type of addiction I had to make me eat drugs in the middle of the isle. About 15 minutes later the drugs had taken affect and my symptoms were beginning to clear. I made my way home, slept off the effects of the meds, and now understand first-hand all the signs and symptoms that I discuss in class. And, because of this experience, I can honestly say that the CPR course is a course that offers more than just second-hand knowledge being passed on…

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