Tuesday 30 August 2011

How First Aid Ruined My Life

As part of being a foster carer I had to go on a paediatric first aid course. This is good, everyone always means to do these things  but life gets in the way. I've babysat my siblings for ten years, but what do I do if a child in my care starts choking? Screaming for my mother somehow doesn't seem like the right answer.

So I did my course a few weeks ago. It was on a Saturday when my husband and I were looking after my six siblings for the weekend. I got up, wished him luck and left the house, laughing to myself as I went.

My laughing was, however, short-lived. The instructor was an amiable enough man, who responded to my informing him that I was a foster carer by going off on a tangent about the horror he'd felt when his friend came out to him just before they were due to move into a flat together. I don't see the connection, but there you go. We had to perform CPR repeatedly on adult dummies, child dummies, and infant dummies. My hands, neck and shoulders were killing me. You have to push down unbelievingly hard to restart an adult heart, and while I'm glad to have that skill now the part of my brain that remembered I had fibromyalgia was frantically screaming 'This isn't an emergency! Why are you hurting yourself if this isn't an emergency?!'

I could have told my instructor, and he probably would have let me off some of the rounds, but that's not the point. In an emergency I'll have to keep going, and if I give up in a practice what hope have I got? Sure, in a really sticky situation adrenaline would probably sink in, but still.

The worst part was going through the numerous potentially fatal accidents that can occur in the home. Breaks, allergic reactions, asthma, burns, chemical burns, ingestion of solvents, things in the eye, falling downstairs, getting burnt by hair straighteners, choking on pretty much anything, getting bitten by dogs, run over by cars, hypothermia, hyperthermia...the list goes on. At lunch break I ran out and frantically called my extremely capable husband to check that one or all of those things hadn't happened to one or all of my siblings. Of, course none of these things happened.

It's scary realising how fragile the human beings we care for are, and how easily the bad stuff can happen. But you can't let it run your life either. How do you guys cope with the fear that surrounds everyday living?

Of course, if this happens then you may really be in trouble.

Will post an update on my writing tomorrow.


  1. I like the first aid fail!

    When I first had my kids, everyday objects became lethal weapons and trouble lurked behind every corner! Whenever someone looked after them, I imagined the beep of my phone was going to be a message telling me they'd had an accident or been taken ill.

    To cut a long story short, you can't carry on like that, and I gradually 'let go' of excessive worrying. Over the years they've had their fair share of accidents and illnesses, and guess what, if I'd worried in advance, it wouldn't have made the slightest difference!

  2. It is amazing, and we don't see it until some disaster strikes. And disasters can be surprisingly minor things.

    Fibromyalgia, huh? My hubby has that. It's been our constant companion for over 20 years. *hugs*

  3. ZOMG, if there's a wasp's nest near the First Aid Kit, those poor kiddies are on their own, I'm afraid! I have a paralyzing and overwhelming phobia of any insect that stings. (Okay, okay, just kidding - I'd probably woman up and risk getting stung if a kid in my care was hurt)

    I can really relate to this - I had to take a similar course as part of a babysitting training program when I was 12 years old. It's true - so many things can go wrong and do serious harm to little (and not-so-little) bodies. I'm mostly able to push it to the back of my mind, but when the fear insists on coming out, I try to remind it of all the stories I've heard of people who've survived all manner of incredible stompings - bear attacks, fire, falling down a mountain (that one's my dad) etc. The human body has its frailties, but it's actually pretty tough for all that!

  4. It is good that you have all of that information. At a previous job, I had to have training in first aid and CPR annually--it is an excellent workout.

  5. It's like all the doctors gettin hypochondira, eh? Once you know all the things that COULD go wrong, you are sure one WILL when they almost never do. It's good to have been trained, but life was just a little more enjoyable when you were ignorant... teehee

  6. You know too much. I hope I never know too much.

    Thanks for stopping by my blog! I'm am following you now.

  7. I had to laugh because I'm taking the course tomorrow night. I always say "I killed the dummy!"

  8. I had to take that class too and I really enjoyed the information, but it does still scare me a little bit to think that something bad could happen to my little brother and sister. But my parents are both CPR trained. :)

  9. Speaking as a nurse with a husband at medical school... believe me, we get our fair share of hypochondria.

    However despite knowledge like that, your best bet is still knowledge and being prepared.

    I still get worried that my husband has had an accident if he is home late for work or something though. Believe me when you know all the signs of serious diseases you never have "the flu" you have Pertussis or Meningitis.

    As for medical emergencies. I spend half my life informing my family and friends about silly little things they do that are dangerous. I have a mega first aid kit under my bed and in the car.

    And yes those dummies are hard, but don't worry, in an emergency - anything is better than nothing and to be honest the fear and adrenaline will keep you going. (truth)

    End of the day, there is nothing you can do about stopping these things, but by going to a first aid course you may save the life of someone one day. So arm yourself with knowledge and then try and relax knowing you have done all you can do.

    Sorry i am long-winded tonight it is after midnight for me and i have just got back from the hospital.


  10. That's the hardest thing you have to learn as a nurse is to not take work home with you. It's a good thing I have so many other things going on at home to distract me, LOL.

  11. lol forgot there is another writing nurse in the campaign isn't there... :-)

    cool stuff. Yes i agree it's hard.

    very hard. :-)

  12. Love the first aid fail!

    I had to take the course, and the class was offered at 8 on a Saturday morning during a big snowfall. I drove to the class, quite hungover, hoping that it would have been cancelled and I could go home and nap. Alas, the class was on!

  13. After learning the odds on CPR actually helping and the fact you cannot maintain CPR for very long (usually in hospitals here they have residents do shifts on the patient so they don't pass out) I realized most first aid training is misleading/hype. Except for practical stuff like banding a wound and noticing the signs of ailments (drowning, choking etc).

  14. Oh, I'm sooooo glad I know next to nothing about the medical profession! Otherwise I'd probably worry myself into a swarm of ulcers. Ignorance is bliss! :D

    P.S. I have a skating student who suffers from Fibro. You are obviously one tough cookie to always be so chipper and active all the time. You're amazing, girl! *HUGS*

  15. Whenever I look at WebMD I think I have every disease known to the world.

  16. I never had to take a course, but I did have to watch a video about it when my kids were born... The only thing I remember about the video is trying to stay awake through it and having a hard time of it!
    I hope your fibromialgia feels better soon!!

    @Kerri - if I ever do take a course, I'm so going to yell that!!!

  17. I took a CPR course when I was 39 weeks pregnant, and it was terrifying! (Also painful. And terribly awkward.) Like you, I'm glad to have that skill but the instructor brought up several situations it had never even occurred to me to worry about, adding to my fears. I still recommend it, though. I know if something happens I won't remember all the details, but I have a little cheat sheet, and since I've had the practice from the class the cheat sheet should be very helpful.

  18. I haven't done First Aid...except the basics you learn in high school and so on.

  19. It's good to be prepared and aware. I really need to update my first aid knowledge...

  20. Hello! Nice to meet you and thanks for stopping by my blog!

    Wow, first aid class sounds scary. I should probably take one, but I'd get all freaked out :)

  21. Hopefully you'll never need to put into practice what you've learned, but at least you have the knowledge.

    I came to you via your visit to me through the campaign and I'm looking forward to getting to know you.