To prevent yet another unresolved inheritance dispute emerging around the Christmas dinner table from having fatal consequences, it is our sacred holiday duty to brush up on our First Aid skills. So take a few minutes to read this – the life you save might be if not your own then at least your third cousin’s.
Is it safe?
1. Safety First
"Professional rescuers practice universal precautions when providing medical care to victims."Often ignored. If your uncle Viggo has been subjected to a severe thrashing from your other uncle Torkjell, reducing the former to a blood-soaked pulp whose only sign of life are some idiosyncratic movements bearing an ominously close resemblance to final death spasms, we tend to rush to help him. But don’t let your eagerness to help get the better of you. First you make sure that the source of danger, in this case the fierce Uncle Torkjell, is removed. But how to accomplish this? Uncle Torkjell has been nursing a fierce hatred for Uncle Viggo ever since the latter made fun of his cowboy outfit at his 11th birthday party. He genuinely enjoys beating up the hapless Viggo and will not hesitate to deal similarly with anyone that seeks to put obstacles in his way. Here I suggest as the only possible remedy: immediate distribution of Christmas presents. Uncle Torkjell might be no spring chicken, but boys will be boys, and the idea of unwrapping his new Sony Playstation3 will dampen his sadistic impulses – at least until the novelty fades off.
2. Determine if the Victim is Awake
"Probably the biggest indicator of a serious medical emergency is an inability to wake a victim."How to determine if your ‘patient’ is sleeping? Here, paradoxically, the otherwise annoying phenomenon of snoring lends us a helping hand. Uncle Viggo – fat, drunk, unkept; your archetypical snorer. However, the ability to snore is also influenced by the position in which you sleep. If you sleep on your side, airways are more open and you snore less. Hence, to release Uncle Viggo’s snoring potential, we must put him on his back. His airways will then be partially blocked, which facilitates snoring. If snoring ensues, you can safely conclude that the 'patient' is not awake.
Or can you? Alas, you must be alert to the possibility that the 'patient’ might be faking injury just to make a fool out of you. Could it be that all the other family members have planned a little practical joke at YOUR expense? How to distinguish genuine snoring from fake one? Easy, dear Reader. Your Aunt Gunhild is a certified snorer whose nighttime snoring reaches such giant volumes that her husband Kåre had to seek refuge in a mental hospital. Drop a sleeping pill in her aquavit and place her next to Uncle Viggo. Then observe whether Uncle Viggo’s snoring is affected by Aunt Gunhild’s snoring. If he is just faking, he will have substantial difficulties maintaining his own snoring rhythm. So if his snoring becomes synchronised with Aunt Gunhild’s, we can draw the conclusion that Uncle Viggo has subjected us to inauthentic snoring.
(It must however be added that the current field of snoring science has not reached consensus on this issue. Researchers from the snoring laboratory at the Nelson Mandela College of Nocturnal Health points to the well known fact the menstruation cycles of two women who live together will be synchronized. ‘The same applies to two adjacent snorers’, they maintain.)
What if the ‘patient’ is not your uncle, but your cousin’s sympathetic fiance Kasia? After choking on an almond, she is apparently lying unconscious on the floor. Or is she just observing the time-honoured tradition of female misbehaviour? If yes, you run the risk of ending up the laughing stock of the Christmas party by giving first aid treatment to a perfectly healthy person! Your duty as a first aid expert is to establish the truth value of her apparent lifelessness. Place both hands on her breasts and squeeze them firmly. Lack of reaction from the ‘patient’ points to loss of consciousness, and allows you to proceed to step 3. (Researchers from the First Aid Battalion at the Joseph Mengele University in Drammen, however, argue that it is still too early to proceed and that you should double check by touching other strategic parts of her body first. I will leave this to the discretion of the individual first aid expert, in the firm conviction that each will act in accordance with his or her conscience.)
3. A is for Airway and B is for Breathing
"If a victim is conscious, ask him or her to speak. The ability to speak directly correlates with an airway. If a person's airway is blocked, he or she can't speak."A tricky one, as it poses no great difficulty feigning an unability to speak. How can we ascertain that we are not being made fun of yet again? A simple but effective method exists. Subject the ‘patient’ to prolonged tickling of armpits. If the idea of touching Uncle Viggo’s sweaty armpits with your fingers holds no particular appeal to you, I suggest that you uproot the Christmas tree and tickle him with it. The ‘patient’ will start laughing and beg you to stop, making it obvious for everyone that his so-called blocked airways were nothing but an evil lie.
If tickling does not produce the expected results, we might be dealing with a person whose airwaves are blocked. Place Uncle Viggo in the recovery position.
Again, if the prospect of dealing manually with Uncle Viggo’s obese body does not overexcite you, you can avoid direct body contact by putting on your Santa boots and try to kick your uncle into the recovery position.
Some individuals are not capable of producing coherent speech even if their airways are open, notably persons in a high state of religious fervour. If the sounds uttered resemble Arabic, we are in all likelihood dealing with a Muslim. If not, the God-fearing miscreation is probably a Pentecostal busying himself with speaking in tongues. The only way to deal with these deviants is to pull hard on their tongues with both hands until they come to their senses and realize that speaking in tongues is not protected by Freedom of speech.
4. C is for Circulation
"Look at the victim's color and feel his or her skin temperature to see if he or she has signs of circulation. If there is no breathing or circulation, start CPR."The patient might need nutrition, so avoid spilling ketchup like the stupid person on this photo
How to administer CPR?
First, look around to see if there are any interestingly looking women (to whom you are not worryingly closely related) lying around who are also in need of first aid. Women have a longer life expectancy than men, so from the perspective of social and economic efficiency, there is a strong case for giving them priority. Uncle Viggo has only a few years left in the frozen food inventory at REMA1000, and so will only be a drag on the welfare state for most of the rest of his life.
If, however, after searching through the neighbouring farms you still haven't found any qualified female patient, you have no choice but to deliver CPR to your Uncle Viggo. But take precautions! Mouth-to-mouth is unhygienic and a recipe for transmission of diseases. Is lip contact needed at all? The Henry Rinnan Academy of Foot-and-Mouth Disease in Levanger argue convincingly that a bicycle pump does the same trick. This method has the added benefit that the victim can work the pump himself. As the main expert on first aid, you must always be in tip top shape and cannot exhaust yourself unnecessarily by sitting there pushing a bicycle pump like some kind of Reodor Felgen.
If you happen to be dressed up as Santa Claus, make sure that you leave the room in a discreet manner and remove your outfit completely before administering CPR. How can you expect your little ones to continue believing in the existence of Santa Claus after they’ve seen him do all kinds of weird things with uncle Viggo’s inanimate body? Two wrongs don’t make a right. It’s enough that you have one near dead family member lying on the floor; you don’t want a child’s broken heart on your record of Christmas-related crimes too.
5. While Waiting for the Ambulance
"As the ambulance is responding to your emergency, there are some things you can do to help emergency crews find you. Make sure to try to do as many of these things as possible to prepare for the ambulance's arrival"With New Year’s Eve just around the corner, every family worth their salt has a basement full of fireworks, ideal for drawing the ambulance’s attention to your house. Let one of the kids fire up some powerful rockets so that the ambulance will locate you from afar. When the ambulance arrives, make sure to put away Christmas snacks, juleribbe and all the presents and hide your women from view. Ambulance personnel, severely displeased at having to work on Christmas Eve, might well conduct themselves like a unit of Red Army soldiers liberating their Eastern-European neighbours from the Nazis.
That’s it, dear Reader, 5 simple steps towards a casualty-free Christmas this year!