First Aid

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:


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. 

About these ads


  1. SilverSparkleTibby

    We actually did do a short first aid course in junior school. It wasn’t AT school, we went somewhere else, and I’m quite sure it was part of a trip to see a fort or summit. Sadly the only two things I vaguely remember are the recovery position, and that if someone gets and electric shock, and they’re still touching the thing with the electricity, to move the limb away using some non conducting thing. They chose a broom. That’s all I retained. Think I could do with a refresher! :P

    • motherventing

      The recovery position is a good place to start! Always handy to know that. Basically make sure airways are clear, and call for help. But yes, a refresher course would be great ;)

  2. MummyNeverSleeps

    Oh missus, I remember that post. Huge props to you for doing the course, it’s something I’ve been meaning to do for YEARS. And totally should be part of the curriculum

  3. franglaisemummy

    I am right in the middle of a St John Ambulance paediatric first aid training course at the moment as I’m applying to register as a childminder, and I totally agree that it should be compulsory. I also made Hubs do a first aid course with me when I was pregnant with our eldest daughter as I was freaking out about what we would do if anything happened to her, we never had to use it (she’s now 6) but I don’t regret it at all.

    • motherventing

      Your first aid course sounds great, I’d love to do something like that. It would be amazing if all parents did a basic first aid course as part of the antenatal care. Could be absolutely invaluable.

  4. newmummyem

    I think it’s shocking that it isn’t taught in schools. Your survival rate if you have a heart attack in Switzerland is about 50% because first aid is taught in schools and people are comfortable enough in their knowledge to help someone. The government were looking in to rolling out first aid course in school but as far as I’m aware that’s as far as it got.
    The only reason I know that is because of a tv programme I watched.

    As far as first aid training goes, I have non officially. I have been in situations though were first aid has been needed, but only very basic.
    My OH has recently secured funding for a defibrillator in out town as the ambulance time is 15/20 minutes, not quick enough for heartattck. I’m very proud of him :) I will get training on how to work that, and will be doing a first aid at work course soon.
    I had to give someone first aid the weekend just gone actually and the police commended me in my fast thinking and being able to react in a calm efficient way.
    When I had to call an ambulance for M though I was anything but calm and efficient.
    I don’t know whether it’s because when it’s not someone directly connected to you, like a child, you’re able to compartmentalise emotions? It hit me after on Friday the seriousness of the situation and then I felt sad and angry, but not whilst I was doing my thang.

    Sorry for the rambley reply, points well made and brought up though! :) x

    • motherventing

      Well done to your OH for that! My theatre company are also thinking of finding the money for a defib, we reckon it’d be good for the community to have a public one on the premises. You’re right, I think if it’s a stranger that needs first aid you are more likely to react calmly – I have no idea how I’d be if it was Moo or someone close to me, I can only hope I’d be OK and get on with the good stuff. Thanks for the reply, not rambling at all :) x

  5. TheRealMrsBash

    Hey MoVo! Because of my work as a nanny and pre school worker, I had to do first aid training. I’m glad I had to do it! Think it should be compulsory in schools!
    Can’t wait to see you in your lycra!!!
    Rachel xx
    PS I have saved two children from choking….

    • motherventing

      OMG two?? That must’ve have been so scary :( The amount of times I’ve had to smack Moo on the back, it could happen so easily. Scary. And you know, YOU get to wear a costume too :D xx

  6. Michael Cargill

    I’ve done a few whilst I was in the Scouts, some of which included exclusive access to Resusci Annie.

    How much use any of it would actually be now, I have no idea – I’ve forgotten most of it. That would probably be the same for any kids who learnt it at school.

    • motherventing

      The course teacher made a point of discussing teenagers who drink/take drugs and pass out, choke on their vomit and die horribly. If their mates knew to leave them in the recovery position and call 999 then that wouldn’t happen. Dunno. It’s the sort of knowledge that you might retain, even if you don’t use it, if you see what I mean. And you can always do a refresher course? And what EXACTLY did you do with Resusci Annie??

  7. Claire

    I’m a childminder and have to train by law. Thankfully other than minor cuts and bruises, I’ve not used much on my lot. However i have been first on the scene at a minor car accident and called an ambulance for my mum whilst she had a mild anaphylactic shock. The training was invaluable. So good I even sent my husband as like you say, we should all know what to do in an emergency!

    • motherventing

      Ah yes, my mum used to be a childminder and I remember she went on a few courses. It’s good stuff to know, even if only for cuts/bruises etc. Maybe all parents should go courses as part of an antenatal thing??

  8. Mrs Smith

    I did a first aid course a few months ago, having two babies in my care I was constantly paranoid about what i didnt know and what could happen. The course like you say was unbelievable. It really made me stop and think firstly how precious everything is but also knowing a few small things can make all the difference. What I can’t prepare for though is my reaction should it happen to my family or a stranger. I’d like to think i’d go into fight mode and start pumping their airways but i cant be sure, although to i now know to do something is better then to do nothing until the professionals arrive.

    I read your post about the night your daughter was ill. JFC. That would have turned me inside out.

    Yes – I concur that it should be compulsorily taught in schools.

    • motherventing

      You can never know HOW you will react, but I’m supposing that a little knowledge about these things is better than none, assuming the ‘trained’ part of your brain will kick in if needs be. Like I said, I’m hoping I’ll never have to use it!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s