My brain is full of stuff that generally could be perceived as useless. ENTIRELY USELESS. Obvs there’s some good stuff – like how to make a cup of tea, remembering where my bed is, and how to rewire giant lasers to go from stun to kill – but in the grand scheme of things, my brain is a repository for crap. Actual, real crap.
This is what my brain is up to right now:
AKKA AKKA FUH-tong FUH-tong ZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZ pop WOOOOOOOOAAAAHHHHHH
See? What a load of shit. That is a DAILY OCCURANCE. Man alive. I can’t even spell occurrence. My brain got it wrong first time. Like it needs a run up. Damn brain.
BUT ANYWAY. What am I getting at? Oh yeah. My brain has recently acquired some new information, however, which means that it is FINALLY using its powers for something positive and useful and potentially awesomesauce.
I went on a First Aid course.
Woo! That’s right. I am now a First Aider. I was a bit disappointed that we don’t get costumes to wear in our new roles but I might fashion my own. I’m thinking spandex onesie with F A emblazoned across my chest. And a cape. And a mask. And a tutu. Maybe.
This course was great. Absolutely great. It felt good to be learning something new and relevant and ultimately life-changing. It was also astonishing and frightening and kind of humbling. The other people on the course shared their stories of real-life emergencies. We watched a video of some lifeguards on Bondi Beach doing CPR on someone dragged unconscious from the waves. We practised tying bandages on each other. We learned all sorts of terrifying statistics about survival rates and deaths, and how you really don’t want to have to perform a Heimlich manoeuvre on yourself – with a spindle-backed chair* – if you can possibly help it. We learned about choking, and burns, and bleeding, and shock. I now know CPR, and how hard and fast I have to do it if I want to make a difference between someone living and dying. I know how to put someone in the recovery position, even if they’re seated in a chair or slumped against a wall. I know how to treat a burn or a scald. I know what to do if someone has a seizure. I know that in an emergency, I can be of use until someone more qualified than me turns up with the defibrillator and the drugs and the superior knowledge.
It’s all good stuff. In a way, I hope I never have to use it. When my ex and I had to call an ambulance for Moo about eighteen months ago I vowed to myself that I would never want to have to do that ever again, ever ever. Of course, accidents happen and those wonderful paramedics are there for a reason. But during the First Aid course, I finally came to terms with what Moo went through that awful evening. I thought I was over it, yet when I was explaining to the course teacher what had happened, I started crying and wobbling a bit and that’s when it struck me that the absolute worst thing about it all was feeling so damn useless. My infant daughter had been unconscious on the rug and I didn’t have a clue what to do. Thankfully, it turned out just fine. I now understand that after vomiting a few times Moo went into shock and her body shut down to protect her vital organs. She was still breathing, her heart was still beating. But it was like a reboot. Turned off then on again. Fucking terrifying for me and her daddy. I hope she never does it again. At least I’d know what to do. If it happened to ANYONE.
This stuff should be taught in schools. Currently, it’s not. Seriously. EVERYONE should know some basic first aid. Shouldn’t they? Am I right in thinking that? We should be confident enough to know what to do if we see someone collapsed in the street, right? Even if it’s put them into the recovery position and call an ambulance, that’s something.
I feel like I want to do more.
Are you a First Aider? Or have you ever been in an emergency and instinctively known what to do?
*dude tried it, impaled himself on spindle, and died. True story. Aargh.