Never a dull moment

Discussion in 'General Education' started by Aliceacc, Jul 7, 2011.

  1. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

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    Jul 7, 2011

    Three minutes into my second SAT prep class of the summer, I had a 16 year old kid borderline unconscious for a good 10 minutes.

    He said he felt dizzy and put his head down. A minute later he was sprawled out on three chairs. After a minute of that, I got him onto the floor-- there's no way to fall off. (We rent a conference room in a local church, so there were no desks, just conference tables and folding chairs on a carpeted floor.)

    I got a bottle of water from one of the kids and kept pouring it on his head and asking questions so I knew he was conscious. I had one of the other kids get his mom's cell number from his cell, and got her on the line.

    She was there a few minutes later, and knew the drill-- apparently this is not unusual for him in the heat. But she said it was unusual for him to be so out of it for so long. When he got to the point where he was able to stand up (with support from 2 other kids) they walked him out to the car.

    I just called the house; no answer. Then I called the guy who runs the program and let him know.

    Never, ever dull.
     
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  3. czacza

    czacza Multitudinous

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    Jul 7, 2011

    Sorry that happened! Sounds like you handled it well. I'm hoping the mom is having him checked out and that's why they're not home...stay cool!
     
  4. Missy

    Missy Aficionado

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    Sounds like this is a person who should wear a medic alert bracelet.

    Glad it wasn't any worse!
     
  5. catnfiddle

    catnfiddle Moderator

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    Great job, Alice, especially with the water bottles.
     
  6. each1teach1

    each1teach1 Cohort

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    Wow. That's crazy! Way to keep an eye on him, Alice. I definitely agree with the suggestion that the kid wear a medical bracelet. That could have been REALLY dangerous!
     
  7. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

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    The only thing I forgot was to put his feet up on a chair so they would be higher than his head.

    I was glad he was able to get his cell phone out of his pocket on his own. I would have done it if necessary, but there's less of a potential problem if I'm not touching the pants of a 16 year old boy.

    I spoke to the guy who runs the course, just to fill him in in the event that mom calls him. I don't think she will; I think I handled things well.

    And, honestly, I'm not sure a bracelet would have helped. Had we not gotten mom on the phone, the next call was going to be 911.
     
  8. MsMar

    MsMar Fanatic

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    Jul 7, 2011

    Wow, glad it all ended up okay.
     
  9. Go 4th

    Go 4th Habitué

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    Glad everything ended up ok. I bet the other kids were kind of freaked out.

    Saying prayers for him!
     
  10. BettyRubble

    BettyRubble Rookie

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    Jul 7, 2011

    Poor kid. Glad everything turned out ok!
     
  11. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

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    Jul 7, 2011

    The other kids were actually great. It's a mix of upcoming Juniors and Seniors, and 5 or 6 of the kids attend the same school as Ryan. They found his home number, then his mom's cell when no one answered at home. They moved the stuff out of the way so he had room, then moved another table so the 2 guys could help Ryan get out of the room. One went outside to show mom where were, and another took his calculator and cell phone and books to the car. The others were just good-- they stayed seated and out of the way with minimal direction from me.

    His mom called just before dinner. (I had called this afternoon to check on him, so she had the number on her phone.) Thay had just gotten in. (Class started at 10:30 am, so the issues probably started at about 10:40)

    She took him from class to the doctor's office. The doctor came out to the parking lot to see him in the car, and suggested they go to the ER because he was still so woozy.

    They did a bunch of bloodwork and some other tests. Turns out he was badly dehydrated. So he spent a few hours on IVs and was released.

    At one point he mentioned that he was cold, and the nurse was suprised to see that his shirt was wet. According to his mom, he vaguely remembered me pouring some water on him to keep him conscious.

    Anyway, we joked about how 3 minutes in my math class is enough to send him into a stupor, and mom was very appreciative. So he's fine and she's happy with how it was handled.
     
  12. mmswm

    mmswm Moderator

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    Jul 7, 2011

    I'm glad everything turned out okay in the end. There would have never been a doubt in my mind that you would handle such a situation anything other than near-perfect (or better).
     
  13. yarnwoman

    yarnwoman Cohort

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    Jul 7, 2011

    That sounds like my son when he gets sick. Ever since he got sick in 8th grade with a mystery illness(best guess was human parvo disease) he faints. He got the swine flu and got dehydrated and went out hard to the point of me calling 911. Needless to say his firs yr of college this year will make me a nervous wreck.

    Alice, sounds like you did good.
     
  14. kidatheart

    kidatheart Habitué

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    Wow! You handled the situation so well. I always wonder how I will react to a crisis situation.
     
  15. TeacherGroupie

    TeacherGroupie Moderator

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    Think of a crisis and practice mentally, kidatheart...
     
  16. TeacherGroupie

    TeacherGroupie Moderator

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    And, yes: yay, Alice!
     
  17. pwhatley

    pwhatley Maven

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    Jul 8, 2011

    I have to say that, when one of my first graders had a bad asthma attack, I had to focus on her (the nurse wasn't on campus) until mom got there. The rest of my kiddos were quiet. In fact, one of my better readers began reading (quite well, I might add) from the current Junie B. Jones book I had been reading to the class!

    Alice - you did an excellent job!
     
  18. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

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    Jul 9, 2011

    Honestly, you have no choice. You go with your gut and take care of the kid.

    I was actually happy about afterwards. Sometimes after a crisis I'm a bit shaky, but I was absolutely ready to teach as soon as mom left the room. I thanked them all for their help, made a joke about not being able to come up with any sort of segue, then went back to going over the homework.
     
  19. bros

    bros Phenom

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    Jul 9, 2011

    That kid should wear a medical alert bracelet so people know. I wear one because of my epilepsy.

    A tip: If a student is going in and out of consciousness, gauge their cognitive function to make sure they are not experiencing something neurological. Ask them something like "What is 8 plus 5 plus 2?"
     
  20. pwhatley

    pwhatley Maven

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    I tend to handle the situation and fall apart later, lol
     
  21. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

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    Jul 10, 2011

    I concentrated more on questions like "what's your name?" and "where do you go to school?"

    As it was a math class, it would have been mean to torture him with math questions.

    And, to the best of my knowledge, there's nothing a medic alert bracelet would tell me. He was badly dehydrated. I concentrated on keeping him conscious until him mom arrived. Knowing the specifics of his condition wouldn't have made any difference to me; I have no EMT training.

    I think that our job as teachers in a situation like this is to do first get help and then do what we can to help the kid until help arrives.
     
  22. bros

    bros Phenom

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    Jul 10, 2011

    The bracelet could say something like "Faints when dehydrated", so then you know that you are most likely dealing with a fainting spell rather than a seizure, stroke, or other neurological issue.

    Math questions are what my neurologists have used to gauge my level of cognition when unsure as to my present level of functioning.
     
  23. czacza

    czacza Multitudinous

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    Jul 10, 2011

    Many people faint when dehydrated, yet a fainting episode does not automatically point to dehydration!

    Alice, you did an AWESOME job caring for this student!:thumb:
     
  24. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

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    Jul 11, 2011

    I can understand that.

    But as a non-neurologist, a teacher, I wasn't trying to gauge his level of cognition. That's not what I'm trained for. It was my job to keep him conscious as long as I could, and to get help ASAP. As long as I kept him talking I was happy. It let me know he was still conscious and rational.

    And, by the way, it gave me information I needed. This was our second class, and SAT isn't a normal discussion class. I frequently don't know names for several weeks. I had no idea who he was, and wasn't sure where he went to school (though I strongly suspected he attended my husband's school, and was right.)

    Had I not been able to get a hold of mom, I would have called 911. Then I would have had someone get an administrator freom his school on the phone and pulled his emergency card for the hospital. (I know the phone number and they know me as Peter's wife. I used to work with the principal. I would have gotten through to an administrator immediately once I identified myself and said it was an emergency.) At the very least we would have had any allergies and the name of his doctor.

    I think that teachers sometimes fall victim to the Superman Syndrome (my term, not one I've ever heard of.) We're so used to being in charge that we forget the limitations of our training and our job description. My only medical background is a combination of "25 years of teaching" and "mom." So while I do know how to handle typical situations, I cannot ever overstep my boundaries. So, for example, I would have been very wrong to assume his blood sugar was low and give him something to eat. Or to assume anything else. All we know is what we're presented with. All we should do is to get help and keep the kid stable until that knowledgable help arrives.

    A few years ago I was the closest teacher in the cafeteria when a kid had his first Grand Mal seizure. I cleared out an area and sent a kid flying for the nurse, when another teacher, an EMT, got there. (there are 7 of us on Cafeteria duty at once.) Yes, I was there first and have been teaching longer, but Paul has the training. I backed off immediately and followed his directions.
     
  25. bros

    bros Phenom

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    Jul 11, 2011

    I know how to handle some situations, mainly ones relating to seizures though. I know the recovery position. Been put in it quite a few times and I know how to do it.
     
  26. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

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    Being a patient is an entirely different matter than being the one providing the care.

    I've given birth twice, lost half a thyroid and a breast. That doesn't make me remotely qualified to handle someone else under the same circumstances.

    I appreciate your opinion. But my point (and after this I'm dropping it) is that my job as teacher is not to diagnose or to treat. That's the job of the trained medical personnel, not me as teacher.

    Bring this subject up in one of your education classes, Bros. It's an incredibly important distinction.

    Anyway, I'm looking forward to seeing Ryan again on Thursday to see how he's feeling.
     
  27. mmswm

    mmswm Moderator

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    Jul 11, 2011

    Bros, I realize you mean well and that you have a lot of experience with medical issues, but Alice is absolutely correct. The roles of patient and care giver are very, very, different. As a teacher, playing doctor can get you and your school in a lot of legal hot water. Even as a first responder myself, I would be a lot more conservative in an emergency in my classroom than I would be if I happened upon a car accident.
     
  28. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

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    Aug 13, 2011

    As a funny post script:

    Class ended Thursday. At the end of the last class, the kids are asked to anonymously fill out an evaulation form. I've been doing this a long time,and my evaluations were routinely good.

    But one question asked for 3 words to describe the teacher. Along with things dealing with my teaching ability, some form of "compassionate" came up on almost every sheet.

    I'm guessing they'll remember this class for a while.
     
  29. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

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    Sep 22, 2011

    It happened again!!!!!

    Different building, different gender, different course, different age, different kid.

    Same teacher.

    One of the girls in my 3rd period passed out today. I mean OUT. I sent a kid flying for the nurse, did all the things I was supposed to. I tried to get her to talk, but all I could get were mumbles-- at least they showed she was conscious, if only just. (hey, I'm getting good at this.) I had no water since it was a regular classroom, not a summer class like last time. But I did all I could to keep her conscioius.

    When the nurse came, he had to have 2 of the boys help him get Ally into the wheelchair; her head was heavy and rolling.

    I checked on her after class; she was lying down in the nurse's office talking to her mom. She passed by my class an hour or so later, saying she was going home.

    Wine with dinner tonight.
     
  30. amakaye

    amakaye Enthusiast

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    Sep 22, 2011

    Yikes, Alice!

    I only had to deal with a particulary yucky bloody nose this afternoon...
     
  31. Caesar753

    Caesar753 Multitudinous

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    Sep 22, 2011

    Maybe your math class really CAN put kids into a stupor! :lol:

    I'm sorry that it happened to you (and these two kids) but I think you did a great job handling it!
     
  32. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

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    Yep, that's it. I bore them into comas :p

    The funniest thing is what happens afterwards-- exactly how do you segue from getting a sick kid medical help back into the problem you were in the middle of explaining???
     
  33. Caesar753

    Caesar753 Multitudinous

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    A quick response to some of the issues brought up earlier in the thread....

    I realize that I'm repeating what a few others have already said, but I think it's important enough to say it again. As teachers we have a certain scope of practice and expertise. We are experts in our content areas and grade levels. We are experts at providing instruction to our students, assessing their performance and their needs, and working within the confines of the world of Education. We are not experts at handling medical issues.

    We may have first aid training, know how to use an AED, and know the basics about bloodborne pathogens, but that does not give us license to assume the role of a nurse or doctor. We are not qualified to assess students in the same way that medical personnel assess their patients. What good would it do to determine whether a student were suffering a neurological event? Since we are unqualified to handle a neurological event, it doesn't even matter if that's what it is. We work with what we are presented, and our goal should be to do our best to help stabilize our student or at the very least prevent further injury.

    If we've gone through appropriate training, we may be qualified to provide basic first aid. Beyond that, we are qualified to note our observations and share them with real medical personnel, and that's it. We are not qualified to share our feelings about why an event might have happened, whether we believe that it's a blood sugar issue or a seizure or a heart attack. We are not the experts when it comes to medical issues.

    I am a CERT member. That's the Community Emergency Response Team, something that FEMA and Homeland Security do. I can do a whole bunch of neat things from setting a splint to dressing a burn to checking signs of circulation....But I'm not a doctor. The most I can do is do the things I'm trained for and then hand the person over to someone with more and real training. I'll share what I've observed and what I've done to help, but after that my job is done. The same goes for every other teacher unless that teacher happens to be a trained first responder.
     
  34. mmswm

    mmswm Moderator

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    Sep 22, 2011

    :toofunny:

    On a serious note, it sounds as though the student was okay in the end, if she walked in to tell you she was going home. Hopefully it turns out to be nothing serious. Keep us updated if you can.
     
  35. MrsC

    MrsC Multitudinous

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    Wow, what are the chances?

    (...and all I've had to deal with in the last two days is two students having allergic reactions to bee stings and possible broken fingers!)
     
  36. bros

    bros Phenom

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    Like if the student is diagnosed with a condition, such as epilepsy, I would make sure the student is conscious, keep them in whatever position they are in (provided they are in no danger of hurting themselves) and just make sure they are okay

    Or if I know the student has had a stroke, you can see if they are having a stroke by FAST (Face - have them smile, A - arms, have them lift both S - Speech, have them repeat a simple phrase, T -Time, time is of the essence)

    If I have no idea, I would make sure the student is okay and keep them where they are (Since if it is syncope, don't want them to stand up and possibly lose consciousness). Make sure the class is alright. Calm everyone down.
     
  37. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

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    Sep 23, 2011

    Oh, the other kids are always fabulous. When I asked for 2 guys to help Ally get into the wheelchair every boy in the room stood up. In fact, while I was asking her questions, I could see the other kids were worried-- I had to reassure them that she WAS answering, just not loudly enough for them to hear.

    And with any medical crisis beyond a paper cut, I always assume time is of the essence-- it's NEVER a bad policy. I always send a kid "flying" for the nurse, and their feet never hit the ground.

    The other thing is that an episode like that always bonds in class in a remarkable way. Yesterday these were 40 different kids. These kids will come in today, the second full week of classes, as a unit. I don't know how to explain it, but an episode like this really bonds the kids together; the feeling in a class afterwards is always a little different.

    I'm guessing Ally will be home today, though I imagine she'll fight it. She was at extra help Wednesday, and told me she didn't do well in math last year and desperately wants to do well this year. So I bet she'll fight for the ability to come in for today's quiz. (Which of course is stupid; she can always take a makeup. I'm NOT one of those "don't smile till Christmas" teachers. But she's a 15 year old girl--this is how they think.)
     
  38. bros

    bros Phenom

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    Sep 23, 2011

    Yeah, when I had a seizure in 11th grade geometry, I only lost consciousness, but I could tell the class was rattled. The girl who brought my backpack and laptop case down to the nurses office was crying. Before the nurse had arrived, I could tell that most of the class was shaken, although they were rather quiet (or I was just not hearing them)

    I believe the first words out of my mouth were a string of expletives (keep in mind that I am rather timid and rarely, talked, let alone cursed) followed by "I just had a seizure"

    Of course the nurse didn't believe me, though. My parents got rather angry at the school for that :p
     
  39. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

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    Sep 23, 2011

    Ally was in school today. We had a quick chat, and she said she's feeling much better. She didn't say what had caused it, so I didn't ask.
     
  40. Chrissteeena

    Chrissteeena Companion

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    Sep 23, 2011

    I've passed out before. The first time I was in HS, then I passed out once at bush gardens and once at disney.

    The doctor I saw, back then, was convinced I was hypoglycemic. After all the testing that I had done recently... my passing out is not because of hypoglycemia at all. It's a blood pressure problem.
     

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