Tag Archives: cpr

Camp Maple

mr rogers

Today I began my summer job.  It is a half day camp counselor job in my town.   Camp Maple is camp that is offered to children with special needs who reside in Maplewood and South Orange. The program, run by the Maplewood Recreation Department, provides opportunities for gross and fine motor development as well as cognitive and social growth. It runs for six weeks.  The children in our camp are students who do not require an extended year program at school, but work better in a smaller group setting.  It is a group of children with a wide variety of ability levels and emotional challenges.

Our campers swim three days a week at the town pool, and we go on weekly field trips.  We do arts and crafts with the campers as well.  All of the counselors at Camp Maple are adults and are CPR and first aid certified.

This will be my fifth summer with Camp Maple and every year I look forward to doing it.  We often have returning campers and it is great to see them again each summer.   I am not a certified Special Education teacher, but working at Camp Maple gives me a better understanding of the problems such children face in their development.  It helps me further my own growth as a teacher when I return to my classroom each school year.

Camp Maple is a place for the children to go where they are  provided with a creative, nurturing environment to help develop key life skills, build confidence but most of all, to have fun!


Getting Certified in CPR


Tonight I took a course in CPR and first aid.  I have taken it several times before, because I need to be re-certified every two years for my summer job.  I work at a summer camp for kids with special needs.  I am sure over the summer my blog will touch upon this great camp that our town offers, but tonight’s blog is focused on the importance of becoming trained in CPR.

I have read that every year over 360,000 people experience a sudden cardiac arrest outside of the hospital. Of those 360,000 people, 90% die; however, if CPR is done it can double or even triple chances of survival.  Although the course I took today, involved compression and breath CPR,  The American Heart Association  is starting to recommend hands-only CPR, which eliminates the need for mouth-to-mouth breathing.  I know that seems to be one of the biggest concerns that I hear about giving life saving CPR.  I admit that has definitely been one of my apprehensions!

When a person stops breathing, and/or their heart stops beating, he or she can survive for only 4 to 6 minutes before lack of oxygen results in brain damage or death. Sadly, I know this fact too well after my mom stopped breathing and had no oxygen to her brain for over 7 minutes.  CPR offers extra time until professional help can arrive, by providing the person oxygen to the brain as you administer breaths and compressions.  I was not with my mom when she stopped breathing, and by the way my dad explained it, I am not sure if this would have even been an option for my mom, but it has really “hit closer to home” now, hearing the statistics and seeing the condition that my mom was in when we finally got to see her at the hospital.  As I heard the instructor, (a fire chief), talk about the many times he has administered it, to people of all ages, I saw and heard it all differently.  Now that I have experienced the affects of it, (my mom was resuscitated at the hospital- but had been without oxygen for so long, the results were painful to watch), it makes me want to be even more proactive.  I hope that if I am ever put in the situation where I need to make the decision of jumping in to help to save a life, that I have the confidence to do everything in my power to help that person and to take charge so that that person is hopefully given a second chance at life, and in return, I hope that others take the initiative to be trained in CPR, so that if I am in a life or death situation, there is someone willing to jump in and do the same for me.


mom hug

Tonight is time  for me to look at gratitude. Last night, my mom, who has been struggling with COPD for many years now, suffered her worst set back yet.  She was in the car with my dad when he heard her make a funny sound.  He turned to her, knew immediately something was wrong and being only a few miles from the hospital, he got her there more quickly than an ambulance could have. When he arrived, she was not breathing and doctors administered CPR  to “bring her back”.  It has been determined that she had been without oxygen to her brain for seven minutes.  The prognosis is grim.  She is attached to a respirator, is in a medicated coma to keep her completely sedated and is suffering seizures.  The doctors have told us to hope for the best but to prepare for the worst.  Of course I am hoping for the best but I am also trying to be realistic.

At 42 years old, I have been fortunate enough to have not had to deal with death often.  My grandpa died when I was a teenager, and some older great aunts and uncles have passed away, but no one that is this close to me has died and I have not really had to deal with this reality. There is no single way to tell someone how to cope with a tragic illness and the death of a loved one and I know that my family and I are all going to deal with it differently.  I know that right now we are going to handle it one minute at a time.  We will all show our grief differently.  It is going to be the most devastating thing that my brothers, sister, father and I will have gone through.  My parents have been together for nearly 50 years.

My mom has been battling COPD so hard and I know that it is time for her body to have a break from it.   We are going to have to take her illness one day at a time and remember all of the good times we spent together.  We are already doing that as we sit in her room or in the waiting room sharing stories about her.  These stories are what are going to get us through the next few days, weeks, months…however long it takes for her to wake up….or not.   What all of the stories have in common is her love and generosity.  Over the last few years she has gotten so tired and old, but the thing is, she’s not old.  She is only 67, but this illness has really aged her quickly.  She was such a funny, giving generous woman.  Her spirit is still there, she is just not as able to share it as she was in the past but what we need to focus on is the time when she was healthy, happy and full of life.  Nothing is going to prepare is for when the moment arrives. I know that we will all go on.  We all have one another not only to take care of, but to take care of us.

Her love for us is what is going to pull us all through this.  Her love for her husband, her children, her grandchildren, her mother-in-law, her sisters and brothers-in-laws, nieces, nephews and the many, many, many people whose lives have been touched by her.  The positive we can all take from this is to reflect on all of the wonderful things she did for others.  She is always putting her family, friends and community before herself and now it is the perfect time for us to think about how she has affected our lives and then apply that towards doing something worthy ourselves.  I know that this would be what would make her the happiest now.  Knowing that everyone who is praying for her right now, is thinking of the positive affect she has had on them and doing something positive in return.