About yesterday's first aid course

It is an entirely different ball game, attending a first aid course given by a man who is an actual, current paramedic. You know, like, as opposed to school nurses and driving school instructors who are all very well-meaning but just don't have that... oomph.

I mean, the wealth of practical, hands-on knowledge and experience this guy - the one that was training us yesterday - possesses is just... wow. If he could, I bet he could go on talking about the stuff he's seen for hours on end, and I could very well listen for hours on end.

I don't want to say it was magnificent because magnificent is not really the word to describe a first aid course, but to me, that's exactly what it felt like.

And to, then, pair his course up with a roomful of people who are current SAR members, meaning, they are the ones who go out searching for missing trampers and whitebaiters and occasionally for suicidal people or elders with Alzheimer's - and they all have their own stories to tell - I have never in my life enjoyed a first aid course as much, and I've taken, how many so far, five? Six?

So, in no particular order, and just to get these things out of my head:

There's a website called www.aedlocations.co.nz that's got a map of New Zealand's publicly accessible defibrillators online. A great resource, I think.

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If not happy doing breaths on another person during CPR, don't, as massage will push oxygen from the lungs to the brain anyway. And as a side note: do you know how many people in New Zealand have been diagnosed to have hep C?

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How fast to push on a chest during CPR? 100 beats per minute or, to put it simply - and I got quite a kick from that - in rhythm to the Bee Gee's song "Staying alive"

;)

And when "Staying Alive" ends and the heart's not going yet and you need something to keep ticking you over, continue with Queen's "Another one bites the dust".

;)

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Liability and first aid - if you're doing your best trying to save a life, you're not liable.

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90% of people that are performed CPR on, die.

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Blue lips = blue brain.

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There are several positions from which CPR can be administered. The one I - along with the rest of us - seemed to prefer was straddling the person's head with my knees as I'm then able to keep the airways open whilst I'm pushing on the chest. Like this:


Instructor's comment? "Over the head CPR is acceptable everywhere except on a beach wearing Speedos."

;)

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When talking about defibrillators - and bear in mind that most people attending were farmers - someone noted, "Here we just drag him over to the electric fence and throw the leg over the fence." To which the instructor noted, "It works."

;) (I should just stop adding smiley faces to paragraphs, shouldn't I.)

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What does a defibrillator shock feel like? Well, according to a person who got shocked when he didn't clear his leg from a patient's body when CPR was administered, "Like being kicked by a mule does."

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One of the guys there worked as a boatman taking people to the start of Milford Track and two people he gave a lift to were potential future SAR "patients".

One had a light daypack and when asked, where was his food and water, replied, "Oh, I'll just get something along the way." When explained - by this boatman - that between here and the end of the track there's only one place to buy food and it's this boat's here store, he ended up walking the track on a supply of potato chips, chocolate bars, packets of candy and such.

Another one had a big pack but upon enquiring admitted to having it all full of camera gear, not even a sleeping bag. He walked the track using his spare pair of underwear as a sunhat.

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Sometime along the course I realised, it's been years since I've been in pain - apart from pains of pregnancy and childbirth - which is probably why I'm slightly anxious about being in situations where I can end up in pain again. I don't remember exactly what it used to be like.

Whereas as a teenager and a young adult, I didn't have many reservations about pain as I quite often ended up in situations where I was faced with it and I just dealt with it.

I think I might miss out on a lot of great things if I don't take them up because of fear of pain I might end up with.

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A police officer, now dead, had told one of the guys there how right before he had a heart attach he'd felt a strong need to go use the toilet and when he did have a heart attack in the toilet there, then realised why so many people he had, over the course of his career, found with heart attacks in toilets.

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Best dressing for burns? Gladwrap.

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Cyanide, apparently, smells like grated almonds. And as a side note: when you're close enough to smell grated almonds, you're probably too close to be walking out of there.

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Alright, that's it for today. Have a good Sunday, guys!

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