Tuesday, 19 June 2007

Lemon Aid

In the last two weeks I have cut my finger, had a nose bleed in the street (bad enough for girls in the corridor to back off, shriek and go 'Oh my God'), stabbed my toe with scissors and banged my eye on my boot (that's the boot of my car- if I could do that with my 'feet' boots I wouldn't need to grunt whilst getting out of chairs). I also burnt my shirt because it somehow got caught between the frying pan and the hot plate thing.

Serendipitously, I happen to be on a first aid at work 4 day course this week. It's frantic, a little confusing at times and assessment led BUT... it's also educative and, gawd bless it, very good fun. I learnt, for example, that all the time I spent tilting my head back when I had that nose bleed just prolonged the blood loss and filled my stomach with snot and blood. I also learnt that when you put people into the recovery position it doesn't matter what your instructor says: size does make a difference. Some people's arms just aren't long enough to go all the way over their bodies. Interestingly, those same people have weeble-like qualities when you try to roll them over. Frankly, I felt re-assured that I was surrounded by so many keen first aiders when I inspected my crushed foot afterwards.

I have learnt two other things that I should have known too: 1. when you choke, the food is stuck in your trachea not your oesophagus. When I was younger (in fact I was quite old when I realised the inadequacy of my physiology awareness) I used to think that when people said 'it's gone down the wrong hole' they were talking about a hole for food and a hole for drink. I think that's why I avoided soup: how would it know if it was food or a drink? I would probably choke. 2. Blood in your veins is blue- I was awestruck by this. We didn't really do much biology at school but I can't believe I managed 40 odd years without encountering this fact. It turns out that when exposed to air (i.e when you cut yourself) it turns red as it becomes oxygenated. I asked my instructor whether James Bond's blood would come out blue if he was cut with a sharp bowler hat or something whilst in space. He said he wasn't sure but expected that was true.

Things I am now good at:

  • bandages
  • slings
  • getting help when rolling some people over
  • checking pockets for fags and keys before rolling people over
  • knowing about the three types of drowning

Things I wasn't really concentrating on or am/ will be rubbish at:

  • poison
  • lung problems
  • sustaining CPR- my hand hurts you see
  • anything involving vomit or anuses.

It's probably best not to seek my help if you have sat on a heart and lung seizing, vomit inducing cucumber in your vegetable patch.

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