Wherein work takes over my life

Sumimasen! Gomenasai

These days, I begin speaking thus to a colleague of mine, a Japanese lady who works on a computer that always seems to have irreversibly bad things happend to it. I’m not too sure what the two words above mean, but I’m hoping that they are phrases offering apology. One basic Learn-to-Speak-Japanese course and over ten years of watching Japanese anime have only served to give me a vocabulary of Japanese terms that would only be applicable if I were a rude and narcissistic ((insert robot name here))-pilot who regularly engaged in sexual activity.

Of course, that side seldom comes up in my conversations with my colleague.

I suppose I should also be apologizing to my readers as well, whom I have neglected with over a week not posting. It’s just that work is terrible at the moment (and, I suspect, the moments to come).

My main role as a graphic designer has been somewhat superceded by my abilities with a computer. Over the past weeks, I have learnt many an Outlook 2003 trick and actually performed a full system restore on a Windows Server 2003 PDC. I have learnt the fragilities of IIS, and the sad and sorry state of Microsoft’s CRM software. I am on call almost 24 hours of the day in case the email server goes down, which as all sysadmins must know is one of the most critical points in business. Learning how to do a system restore is an affair that will potentially stop your heart when you’re actually doing it on a production server.

I lost two weeks of data on our database. That took a lot of Gomenasais. It’s a good thing I’m lowly paid and it’s highly unlikely they can ever find another person to take my position at my pay-scale, or I’d have been fired, though to tell the truth being so lowly paid I’m not too sure I’d be unhappy being fired.

There were days when I barely touched Photoshop at all.

Weekends sucked, too, due to the First Aid course I’m attending now. Due to the nature of my company’s business, several staff members had to attend a First Aid course, and I tagged along since it was to be paid for in full by the company anyway.

First Aid is a depressing topic, really. The actual series of actions for CPR are simplistic enough that you can learn them in half a day, or even an hour. Here’s the (almost) complete procedure, in three simple drawings:

Actually remembering what to do in case of an accident and having the guts to do CPR is another matter altogether. You see, CPR is a life-saving technique. Having played a glut of RPGs in my life, I have this tendency to think of human life as having a measurable value, with a maximum HP (hit points) and 0 being death. Actual life, though, is a lot more complicated. CPR may save your life, but it risks permanent disability, puncturing lung and liver, damaging the heart and will most likely end up in a couple of cracked ribs. The definition of Life in CPR, it turns out, is a medical one – meaning as long as your brain is receiving blood and oxygen.

Even doing CPR might end you up in a hospital, since you risk infection from the person you do rescue breathing on. Worse – you might get sued for malpractice if you do something wrong and kill or permanently injure someone (which is why torniquets are illegal in Singapore).

First Aid can save only about 30% of lives (given that proper medical aid can arrive in time) according to the statistics our instructor provided. It’s a depressing figure, but like our instructor said – if you didn’t do anything, wouldn’t you regret it for the rest of your life? Also, there have been cases of people having no pulse or breathing for hours who have been saved through unceasing CPR performed by trainee doctors and nurses at hospitals (no wonder the necrophilia). CPR is actually the final hope for a casualty, not defilibration.

Which is not to say all casualties should be pumped and blowed-into. Being able to differentiate which you can do such things for takes up a large portion of the course.

The test is tomorrow – with any luck I’ll pass it and be certified to perform CPR. I’d recommend it to my friends, but unfortunately, First Aid is the kind of course you hope all your friends go for but you will probably never take up yourself.

If doctors weren’t paid so highly, would so many people want to heal?

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