Monday, June 7, 2010

The Importance Of First Aid - Would You Know What To Do?

I’ve been a first aider for about 12 years. I originally did my certification as part of my nursing studies and then later through various companies I’ve worked for. You basically re-certify every 3 years and refresh your CPR and de-fib every 12 months.

Having first aid skills is a vital asset, all parents should know what to do in a crisis. At worst it could be the difference between life and death. In the least it could just mean keeping a level head in a stressful situation.

I say this because I’ve seen many situations where first aid was required over the years, I’ve seen people pass away in front of me, I’ve seen life and health at both ends of the spectrum.. The one that is etched in my mind was 5 years ago when Mr T (just 3 at the time) had a seizure.

We had not long arrived home from a birthday party held at our local adventure playground. It had already been a day full of fun and lots of energy was burnt by all. We were gathered around the kitchen bench finishing off the party food when T dropped from standing to sitting rather awkwardly.

He then stiffened up and fell onto his back. I could tell by the look in his eyes that he was going to have a seizure, I’ve seen many patients in my nursing days do this as well as another family member so when its happening you know. 5 years later I can still picture the look on his face as if it were 5 minutes ago. He looked frozen, trapped inside a body that would not work, his eyes said “help me daddy”.

I had been standing beside him when he dropped to the ground and was already crouched beside him as his hands began to spasm. I knew what was coming so I called out to mamma bare (who was on the other side of the bench holding B) to look away, I didn’t want the memory of this to be suffered by her and B. They were already distraught enough at this point. Seeing an innocent child in a grand mal seizure is not something I’d wish on my worst enemy let alone my wife and son.

T’s body began to shake in repeated motions (aka tonic clonic). Time stood still at this point, what seemed like an hour would have been seconds at most. He had been eating when he dropped to the ground. In first aid training they warn not to put your fingers or any objects in the mouth of a person during a seizure as they bite reflex could see them damage their mouth or you lose a finger. The thought of losing a finger vs a child choking saw me quickly feel in his mouth for food, which was clear. I held him and he convulsed and kept saying in his ear that I was there and to not be frightned and that it would be over soon.

The seizing motions began to ease so I placed him in the recovery position, checked his breathing, mouth & airways again before quickly grabbing my keys and then carrying him to the car. We were at the hospital within minutes and by that time he had already re-gained consciousness so I knew we were out of the darkness. Mamma bare joined us and after a well deserved sleep T was completely fine and has been ever since. The doctors put it down to him having chicken pox weeks 2 weeks earlier and attained that it was still remnants of the infection causing his brain to do a sort of perform a power reset of sorts.

I still look back on that day and tear up, I have as I’ve been writing this. I was a mess for days afterwards and couldn’t even go to work. I couldn’t stop picturing the the visual of him and the look on his face. It was a horrible thing to witness but I am satisfied in the knowledge that I did the right thing and kept my cool.

Would you be able to do the same? First aid training can be a great step towards it.

Until Next time…..

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