First Aid Toolkit

This week I am on a three day First Aid at Work training course, so that I can be our office First Aider. I really enjoyed day 1, as I loved learning new and practical skills such as CPR, the recovery position, the Heimlich Manoeuvre and then some bandaging skills. We arrived as 14 strangers, who sat in silence, looking at our mobile phones in the morning, and by the end of the day we were laughing together as we bandaged each other up and shared horror stories of accidents that people had had , or witnessed, at work. I am not sure what we will be covering today but I know that there is assessment on Wednesday, but it is an interactive course where we are all trying out the new techniques, not just watching the teacher demonstrate. In fact it is almost a full week of first aid training as I am also enrolled on the parents course at school on Friday afternoon, that was set up because of Joshua’s seizure in the bath incident in January.

Although this course is designed for First Aid at Work, I could see lots of skills that will be useful at home when taking care of Joshua. We were shown easier ways to roll the patient into the recovery position if you are alone and I now know what I should do in the event of a choking incident or if CPR were necessary. So these are valuable life skills and I am very grateful to have the opportunity to learn them , even though I hope never to have to put them into practice, of course.

Working in an office environment, we do not have too many hazards to deal with, but a choking incident or a trip down the stairs could happen anywhere, but we heard some pretty gruesome stories from someone from the army and a butcher too. Fortunately I am not squeamish at all, and I am not phased by blood – although I am not comfortable with vomit. When Joshua was younger and having full tonic clonic seizures that threw him across rooms, he had several head injuries, despite wearing his epilepsy helmet. He cut his head open on the brick hearth one time and he split his chin on a ceramic public toilet  on another occasion. I think his seizure must dull the sensitivity as he did not really react to the amount of blood or the cuts at the time and with both, we had to go to A&E to be checked over , X-rayed and to be glued back together . Now I would be able to bandage his head up, but would of course still take him to the experts. And the First Aider role seems to be about doing the best thing to keep the patient comfortable and safe while somebody calls  for an ambulance. I hope that my experiences with Joshua over the years, will help me to cope well in an emergency situation. I find that I can remain calm during the incident itself, and then I tend to react and agonise over the ‘whats ifs’ after the event.

So let’s see what today’s lessons will bring….

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First Aid

I have spent a lot of time re-living the events of Saturday morning in my mind and the inevitable imaginings of ‘What If….’ have been playing on my mind over the last few days. I was determined not to be afraid of Joshua having baths anymore, as he loves them so much, so we got back on that particular horse,  but I will never leave him alone in the bathroom again, not even for 5 seconds. So in that way, I have learnt from my mistake and I am very lucky that I did not pay a higher price for that mistake. But I kept pondering how else it could have been a calmer, better experience.

I identified my own lack of basic first aid knowledge; most of my first aid education has come from films and television; that is how I knew to lie Joshua on his side, but I was unclear what I was supposed to do next. Last year, Joshua had had a couple of choking incidents – he had got crisps stuck in his throat and had been unable to clear it himself so had stopped breathing. On the first occasion, my husband had stood him up and squeezed his ribs and the Hula Hoop had come flying out. I was home alone on the second occasion and I had stood him up and slapped him on his back and eventually, after a lifetime had passed, he coughed and breathed again.

So I feel vulnerable due to my ignorance when I am on my own, we live in a remote location, I cannot simply shout for neighbours’ assistance. So my only solution is to gain the necessary skills to give myself more confidence in these emergency situations. I emailed school and asked if they would be willing to set up a First Aid training course for parents, as I cannot believe that I am the only one who does not know the basics. I received an instant positive reply and was asked to call the training company to see what they could offer. I had a long conversation with  the company and found out that they could run a three hour course at school, for a fee. I reported back to school management on what I had been told and I asked, via a parent Facebook group, what the level of interest might be. I was overwhelmed by the immediate and positive response and I learnt that the course has been booked for March, all in the same day.

I was delighted, as it felt as though something positive would come out of our frightening incident and that not only could I learn from it, but other parents who might find themselves in similar situations could do too and potentially, lives could be saved.