September 3rd, 2023Kyle’s Rant
Every year for the past 39 years, since I was 17, I have done a first aid course. The first one was for my skipper’s ticket which involved a little bit more than your average, what is now day course, plus home study.
The certificate was a small ships doctor’s course, which involved practicing sutures by stitching up hunks of pork and stuffing our counterparts into body bags for storage in the ice holds. The course went for a full three days of rolling around the floor perfecting bandages down to the millimetre, washing out eyes, knowing what objects to remove and what to leave in. It was intense.
I am a great believer in regular first aid, in particular the CPR course, as the knowledge and technology has increased and changed and is something that most of us should be across.
A couple of examples of changes are the acronym ABC – Airway, Breathing and Circulation. This stuff was around when I was at my first course at the tender age of 17. Now the acronym has changed to DRSABCD which is Danger, Response, Send, Airway, Breathing, CPR and Defibrillation.
The courses now are not so precise and are more of a field first aid arrangement where you are taught to use what you have available and not to leave the defibrillator and EpiPen to the ambos, you get in and do it yourself.
So I commenced my once in three year training last week. (Not locally I will add. You will see why.) After about an hour of self-learning I attended the face-to-face class. It was good, comprehensive enough – and the only thing I didn’t like was the instructor. It was a Sunday, and he strolled in, no introduction, leaned back in his seat, feet on the desk and started explaining how he knew so much he had no need for the provided slides etc.
He had been an ambo, he said, but never signed up for what Covid brought along. Almost died in a car accident because he had to wear a mask and was breathing in carbon dioxide. Said no-one should have to wear a mask for hours on end. Hello surgeons, hello nurses, hello theatre attendants – as in surgical theatres…
He then launched into a few PTR – points to remember – and then asked us all to produce our licences and come up and sign our names “in the box”. A woman, who had English as a second language but had lived in Australia for 10 years, went forward and asked “which box?” to which he replied, in a loud voice, “the one next to your name”. She tentatively asked again, and by now he was shouting at her. Not once pointing to the paper – just shouting “the one next to your name!”.
Now, someone, me, should have stepped up. And to my eternal regret and shame I didn’t. I don’t know why. But it was clearly bullying and maybe racist. The most I managed was giving her a smile and an eye roll in his direction when she sat down. (When I signed my name it was actually confusing.)
Anyway, the class continued. We heard more of his stories. Like it is important to find out everything about an injured person even if you have to empty their handbag onto the street. Turned out he had found a Jane Doe one time who had been raped – “gang raped” – and her parents had not found out until the next morning. For some reason he had to go into all the gory detail on that one. Odd.
Then, because he had skipped the slides, he was ahead of time and decided to slow down by asking us about pets. He had a snake, of course. One person said they had owned a cat but it had died. “Did you turn it into a rug?” he asked. “No, we buried it in the garden,” was the sad reply. I swear he grinned. Until this day I can honestly say I have never met an ambo, or former ambo, I didn’t like, but I did not like this guy. Oh, the Heimlich manoeuvre is also over, just like this rant…