more on trauma

So, here’s the thing about the accident – it was very much about CPR. That’s why I made the connection with why it comes up when do my recerts. The thing about CPR to begin with is that the first time I got certified, I was just a kid. I had this crazy teenage fantasy wherein I would save somebody’s life with my magical CPR knowledge – and then maybe I wouldn’t have to constantly feel like I was trying to measure up to something. Thanks, mom. Even at that time, I knew that it wasn’t something that I *ever* wanted to use, but the fantasy persisted; very clearly just a fantasy, no reality to it.

Anyway, the accident. There was this instant, before the pedestrian was hit, when everything sort of froze and I just *knew* what was going to happen – that he’d be hit, despite everything the driver was doing to miss him, he would be dead when we got there – and thus CPR would come into it. It wasn’t even about being a hero, just a clear and present knowledge that he would need CPR, I know CPR, therefore it would be my responsibility to save him. But when I got there, I totally froze. Part of it was the gal who was on the phone with the 911 operator who was screaming at me that we could not roll him – and was not hearing my response that he HAS NO PULSE and shouldn’t we roll him to do CPR? But that didn’t really matter – even in the moment, I knew that I should disregard that, get him on his back, and start CPR. But I just *couldn’t*. He was dirty, smelled of alcohol and worse, and I could not handle the thought of putting my mouth on his. Memo to self, must get some kind of PPD for mouth-to-mouth to keep in my purse. The thought was completely disgusting, nearly actively nauseating.

In retrospect, it’s easy to say that “well, I was just trying to listen to the 911 operator”. Or to suspect that I had subconsciously noticed the massive amount of blood flowing into the gutter. (I was not consciously aware of it until after the paramedics got there) Who knows. All that I know was that in that moment, I was feeling for a carotid pulse, there wasn’t even the vaguest flutter, he needed CPR, I’ve been certified since I was a teenager, I had a duty to attempt it.

So… yeah. I need to find a way to process this. I thought I was over it, but given that both times I have recertified since then, I have wound up thinking about it constantly for days after, getting edgy and anxious and bitchy, had trouble sleeping, nightmares, etc. Not full-blown PTSD, but enough to cause me some issues.

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