4. a. something (as a hat) made of straw;
b. a tube (as of paper, plastic, or glass) for sucking up a beverage.
A rather common, lowly material, it is derived from multiple sources, usable in weaving, plaiting or braiding as well as fodder for livestock. And in areas where I have lived straw and hay equate to each other.
However, I am discussing definition 4.(b) the tube used for sucking up a beverage.
Crafters have made use of drinking straws in many ways, usually in connection with children's crafts. In and of itself, children have played with straws as if prized toys. Mischievous youngsters use a variety of techniques in settings where drinking straws are available. I remember dipping them in honey and blowing so high in the air as to stick on the ceiling in a popular teenage hangout.
But today I want to introduce the drinking straw as an instrument which Ihave added to my personal first aid kits.
While in Arkansas Heart Hospital I had a serious atrial fibrillation attack at 3 a.m. one morning--3 days already on new medication. The night shift was in a tizzy as my heart rate would soar to dangerous heights and quickly fall to lower rates, although still not normal.
Since I was placed on a medication with narrow safety margins, they had to check several sources before administering the usual routine medications for the episode.
Meanwhile my assigned nurse brought in a straw, told me to place my finger over the end and blow as hard as I could into the straw. I did several times but the desired effect did not appear on the monitor.
Later I was told to keep some straws handy; if I saw my heart rate rising on my pulse oximeter or blood pressure machine, or felt arrhythmia's, to try this trick.
Since being home, if my heart rate jumped 30 points or more a couple of times while simply sitting, or the arrhythmia symbol shows up on my blood pressure machine, I completed this low tech procedure to stop the spiraling heart rate. It worked, but, importantly, I did this early in the episode, and is probably the clue to when it works.
Since coming home I have assembled several packages of medications including a straw, to use if I am far from medical help.
I CAUTION ALL OF YOU THERE IS NO GUARANTEE THIS WILL WORK. SEEKING MEDICAL TREATMENT IMMEDIATELY IS THE VERY BEST REMEDY.
OUR RESCUE AND AMBULANCE TRAINED PERSONNEL IN MY RURAL AREA IS GREAT.
I REPEAT: CALL 911 IS THE FIRST STEP.
I know....I have used our rescue and paramedic personnel four times in recent months.