I could tell right away that something wasn’t right. Debbie came to get me in my office; she was worried about a young woman who had come to visit our school. After a few minutes visiting one of our classrooms, she was brought back to our office because she said she wasn’t feeling well. When Debbie brought me to the preschool office, I asked the woman if she was okay but I could see her shaking slightly, like someone who is very nervous. It looked strange, although not something to panic about, so I asked her for the name of someone who could pick her up, which she willingly gave me. I left the room and when I came back in I quickly saw that she was beginning to have a seizure. With the Mommy and Me class singing in the background – 15 moms and babies behind the office partition, I lifted her off the chair and laid her on the cool floor with a soft coat under her head. Call Caroline Cardullo, our aquatics director and our resident handler of emergencies; call the ambulance. Debbie and Hadas quickly made the calls. I sat on the floor next to her, letting her know that we were taking care of her, and Caroline was by my side ten minutes before the ambulance ever arrived. She knelt by the woman, holding her head and asked her a few essential questions, which at first she could not even answer. Caroline brought a calm command to the situation, holding the woman’s head, reassuring her and talking softly, reassuring us and helping us to calm our racing hearts. By the time the ambulance came, the young woman was coming to but clearly exhausted by the experience. The EMTs wheeled her out of the building, we put the office back in order, and the day continued. The children and mommies kept singing and playing, and the office phone continued to ring.
When Debbie, Hadas and I realized that there was something wrong this morning, we all three jumped into action and did not panic. What the three of us learned is that we are a good team, even in an emergency. The irony of the morning was that I had just hung the sheets in the office for the staff to sign up for CPR and First Aid. The incident this morning reminded me that we do this not just for licensing; we take these courses for the situations we hope will never happen in our preschool. All of these courses are taught by Caroline, who teaches the material, not only with knowledge and competence, but also with a great sense of humor, which makes the hours of training after a long day of work fly by. I am sure that the “action” mode I kicked into was in part thanks to Caroline, who taught my last CPR and First Aid course. Something she taught had stuck with me and everything she taught me can use a refresher course every two years, as mandated by the State.
Today I blew the shofar, I helped a class clean up after an encounter with pomegranates, I toured a prospective parent, I responded to emails, and I sent a young woman to the hospital. So it is in the life of a director; you never know what you will encounter on each new day, and if you are lucky, you have a solid team with you for whatever may come your way.