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Hemingway Adventure

Milan (second day)

Michael Palin - Hemingway AdventureTonight’s class is devoted to the cause and prevention of cardiac arrest. This is a tricky one for someone whose Italian is confined to ordering pasta, but I nod comprehendingly as we’re told how to check pulse, size of pupils, colour of lips and nose. Italian is such a lovely language that even parts of the body sound exciting - like very fast cars or interesting ways to cook veal. When it comes to the particularly mellifluous respirazione bocca a bocca I’m aware that the lecturer and everyone in the class is turned towards me, smiling in anticipation. Apparently I’ve nodded once too often and volunteered myself for a demonstration of mouth-to-mouth resuscitation.

In these hygienically correct days the victim is not one of the blondes attending the course but a unisex polystyrene torso with a pink head, yellow rubber hair and no arms. Even the dummy lips are protected by a square of white gauze which remains stuck to the end of my nose as I straighten up. (Much laughter.)

Worse is to come. I am asked to join two others in showing how to lift an inert body. The instructor appeals to the class for anyone weighing around sixty kilos to be the body. Due to a misunderstanding, a man who is sixty years old but a lot more than sixty kilos is laid on the floor in front of us. I get the middle section. It gives a whole new meaning to bottom of the class.

Still, it’s nice to know that after two years of this I could become a fully qualified Red Cross Ambulance Driver.

Hemingway took two days.
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  • Series: Hemingway Adventure
  • Chapter: Milan (second day)
  • Country/sea: Italy
  • Place: Milan
  • Book page no: 49

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