Stand Back, I Think I Know CPRCommentary • Opinion • ISSUE 46•24 • Jun 15, 2010 By Greg Parnell Out of my way. Let me through. Please, let me through!This woman appears to have suffered a heart attack, I'm pretty sure. Yes, she definitely looks to not be breathing at all, as far as I can tell. Okay, okay. Nobody panic. There is absolutely no reason for anyone to panic. From this moment on, panicking will be completely out of the question.Everyone stand back! Stand back now! I have a feeling I might know some CPR.Don't worry, folks, everything is probably going to be all right. If I had to guess, and I most certainly do, I would say that I have this situation totally under control. In fact, I've performed lifesaving CPR dozens of times before. Like inside my head and stuff.Ladies and gentlemen, I beg you, please stop your screaming. Screaming is not going to help matters. Nor will all these loud, persistent criticisms of what I am doing. Especially things like, "Who is this guy?" and "Get this guy out of here right now" and "Why is he undressing her in order to take her pulse?"What I am about to attempt here most likely requires total concentration.Okay, first thing's first. What was this woman eating? Of course it's important! I need to first establish what food caused her to have a heart attack before I begin administering all that CPR stuff. Was it pasta? A broad, flat type of noodle? Some chicken? Answer me, goddammit! We need to act fast. Did this woman order the chicken special or not!With or without the mashed potatoes?Hmm, by pressing my face up against her mouth, sort of flicking her earlobe back and forth, and then staring slack-jawed around the room, I have surmised that it's time to attempt some chest compressions. Yeah, let's start with some of those. Who here thinks we should do that? Come on, let's see some hands, people! Okay, good, good, very good. Chest compressions it is. Here we go. One, two, three…I'm sorry. I'm sorry. I don't know why I started giggling. That was definitely not planned.Let's start over. Clean slate. Back to basics. No panicking. Panic-free zone. In an emergency like this, time is of the essence. Yup. Time is definitely of the essence. Of the essence, that is what time definitely is. Essence equals time.That reminds me, has anyone here seen Time Bandits? Dark, irreverent comedy disguised as a family-friendly adventure film? Directed by the always charming Terry Gilliam? Oh, man, you guys should totally watch it. There's a ton of really great stuff in it.Okay. Forget the chest compressions. It's too late for those, anyway, whatever they were. I'm going to try to communicate directly with her now. Once I do that, I will do something else.Helen, can you hear me? I'm going to ask you a very important question, Helen. If you can hear me, answer by blinking your eyes, okay?Helen, tell me: What is your actual name?This is worse than I feared. Those of you who were screaming before, go ahead and start back up now. Just really let loose with the screaming. Who knows, maybe the sound of your shrieking will wake this woman back up.Now, while that's going on, I'm going to start pounding on her chest and probably swear a little, as if I were really upset. That usually works pretty well when you see this sort of thing on television.And I might say some stuff like "Don't do this to me!" and "Not now, dammit!" and "Don't you know that I love you!" However, please do not get the wrong idea. I am a happily married man with three small children of my own.Jesus Christ, what is this doctor doing here? Stop pulling me off this woman, you crazy sonofabitch! Can't you see she's in pain!Wow. She's really getting cold. Like crazy, scary cold. Umm…hey, you know what? Maybe this woman isn't suffering from a heart attack at all. Yeah! How did I not think of this before? She's clearly suffering from hypothermia! Yes, that explains everything. Her pale complexion; her lack of response to being slapped repeatedly across the face; my failed attempt to pick her up from the ankles and shake her vigorously to restart her heart. All the not breathing stuff. It's perfect!So perfect, in fact, that I should probably go and wait in my car while she warms up. You know, just sit in there, all innocently, and then suddenly driving off never to be seen again. Yes, that's definitely what's needed here. So, if you'll all just forget what I look like, I'll be outside, waiting, and absolutely not fleeing like I did at that other Italian restaurant last week.Out of my way. Let me through. Please, let me through!