Part three! Part three is here! Will I need to break it again? Find out in this episode!
Day two. We are in the building. We are sat down. Briefing commences. First aid class: underway. I will do some serious medicine. I will be… Bat-medic. Oh my god, why didn’t I think of that earlier?! Anyway… today is rather more outdoorsy stuff. Many people were only doing a one-day course on office first aid, so now it’s all a lot more relaxed.
The time is ripe for me to bring up bearsharks¹ again. Smiles, stares… it’s getting old. I decide to cut back. The morning is just classroom stuff. Or… is it? No, scratch that. We’re going outside to deal with someone with an injury. Blood is present. We also have a time limit.
The top score is (allegedly) 15 minutes, and we’re competing to beat that. Whether that is the actual time is debatable. I am put in charge for this and we are split into two teams. That’s one team under me, one team under mum (coincidental) and one casualty for each.
The casualty is a dude, happily unconscious (I prefer it that way) with a nice red swimming pool in his leg. Yeuch; I’m glad he’s out. I direct my team (efficiently, if I do say so myself) through the ABC’s² and Primary Survey. Then, concluding there is nothing wrong with him other than the MASSIVE BLOODY HOLE in his shin, we start to heal him.
And he’s bandaged up. One large, bloodstained dressing later and his leg is mostly covered up. Mostly. The small red crater must be left to rot; that little bastard plagued me on day one as well and I hadn’t been called out then. Anyway, we’re done in under the time limit. “We’re done!” The yell is quiet but satisfying. Moments later, the other team is done too. Close call.
Lunchtime! Back we march, happy to have beaten the top score and happy to be going back into the warm dry class. A lunch of champions – no, scotch eggs and raspberries, and it’s over. No scream today. The afternoon is… the great outdoors. Out we march and… helmets..? Why are there helmets out here? Apparently, we have to take these off.
Oh, what’s that? Without killing anyone? I see. This may require effort. So… I will be the headrest. I will hold the head, and I will take off the helmet. I use my legs as a headrest. Well done me. Then it’s time for a real challenge. We have to bandage up a guy with a huge gash, a busted arm, possible spinal injuries and… diabetes, we learn.
You see, I was given (on day one) a hint: on day two, outside, the devious buggers were going to hide some stuff in the clothing of the casualties. I wasn’t told what they’d be, where they’d be or when they’d be hidden. But it was a big help anyway. Because guess what we find? An insulin injector.
So, we start off. “Be as thorough as you can,” I say while working out the map with Nicola. We have to grid-reference our location, ditto the nearest 24-hour service (capable of calling an ambulance) and find the quickest and safest route there. I am busy doing this when I’m called over to help keep the guy steady as they move him up so he isn’t pressed against the tree.
He screams. He passes out. I hold him.
Another medic does (to my annoyance) the map. The guy is checked again. He’s bandaged up and stuff, but my legs are screaming from holding him up. We’re on a bit called the Slippery Slope of Death, by the way. Go figure. He’s slipping, my legs are dying and the ground’s sloping. Hence the name.
I ask (loudly) for someone to replace me. Help comes. It feels freaking awesome when my legs are freed. I am free! The pain is going! Anyway, he passes out shortly after the bandaging. Then, as I read the Manuel at them, Nicola goes off. The course is plotted; she’ll take three-odd hours to get to the destination. Woo.
Then there’s a lot of rummaging while I sit there as (basically) a weight for our first aid fanny-packs. Bloody hell! What are they after? And, triumphantly, one of them pulls out a wallet. And an insulin injector. Which meeeans… he’s diabetic. Oh well, we should have looked harder. Still, at least our group found it (mum’s didn’t).
Then it’s time for another exercise. This time I’m the casualty. And the injury is, quite coincidentally, a broken arm. Wowee. The treatment is a EuroSplint, of the exact same type that was used to splint me in UB. The splinting is done with only one bad joke (“Limoncello” is NOT the “freshest transformer”) and otherwise all goes smoothly.
Then the last and shortest challenge: fix a twisted ankle. Okay, so there’s this bandage, right, and it sticks to itself like clingfilm. So we use that, and she’s okay, but then she says she feels faint, right, and then she passes out. So yeah, I ask Manuel the Manual and he says that she’s got compression. Diagnosis complete, level complete. Woo.
Anyway, that’s that. Now, my feelings. Erm… private.
¹Bearsharks were a running gag during the first aid course, starting with day one when we made charts of all the things we’d have to consider. I was with the group for “Environment” and… well, let’s just say they fell under the category of “Environmental Hazards”. They’re 50% bear, 50% shark and 100% deadly. Well, one breed is. The other just flops about and drowns.
²Airways (anything in their windpipe?), Breathing (are they breathing?) and Circulation (blood flowing?) check.