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Debbie Ridpath Ohi reads, writes and illustrates for young people. Every few weeks, she shares new art, writing and resources; subscribe below. Browse the archives here.

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« tree hunt | Main | first aid, day 2 »

first aid, last day!


(Update 10:35 am: Posted a new Waiting For Frodo strip. I plan to post a bunch of these over the next week, for obvious reasons. :-) I'll also be continuing the strip through all three movies, though my posting schedule will likely slow down in the New Year until things heat up again in the summer. The next few strips, by the way, were done in collaboration with Jill Cainey, the Cute Weta Guy's girlfriend in New Zealand (Weta Digital did the special effects for the Lord of the Rings movie). More info about the Weta Letters here).

Completed my St. John Ambulance course yesterday. We covered secondary survey (additional assessment if medical help is going to be a while), bone and joint injuries, chest injuries, wound care, multiple casualty management, burns, poison, bites and stings, and various medical conditions (diabetes, convulsions, asthma, allergies). Lots of bandaging and splinting! We also learned about how to do triage in a multiple casualty situation. Saw more graphic videos, including sucking chest wounds (who INVENTED that term??) and various types of burns.

At the end of the day, we took our final tests, and then got our certificates. I had made a card for our instructor using the picture at the top of yesterday's Blatherings, and got the whole class to sign it. :-)

sling practice

I've had friends asked if I'm grossed out by all the blood and gore descriptions; I'm normally somewhat squeamish about such things. And I do confess several moments of internal "EEUUGGGHHH!!! GET ME OUTTA HERE!" during the course when things got especially graphic (I've purposely not gotten into details in my Blatherings, but our instructor covered some really horrific scenarios).

However, I found that the squeamishness was quickly replaced by a need to know as soon as I tried imagining someone I cared about being the casualty in any particular situation. Which is, of course, the reason I'm taking this course.

I hope that I will never have to use the skills I've learned. But in the event that something bad happens to someone I care about, I want to learn what I reasonably can so I'll be able to DO something about it if possible (instead of standing by helplessly). I say "reasonably", because there has to be a balance between learning some fundamental first aid basics and taking a zillion emergency situation courses (or going to medical school :)).

ring bandage practice

Not everyone can afford to take three days off for the course I just completed. However, while investigating first aid courses I found a wide range of similar courses offered at St. John Ambulance (I'm sure the Red Cross and other organizations offer similar coursees elsewhere) which take as little as a few hours to complete. St. John Ambulance will even send instructors to your workplace or home, if you have enough friends/neighbours interested. I've even heard of some parents arranging Infant CPR parties in their homes.

For those in Toronto, here's a list of courses that St. John Ambulance offers. I highly recommend the Infant/Child CPR course for parents (I took this shortly after my niece Sara was born).

Despite my new First Aid knowledge, I realize that there's still a chance I'll panic and forget everything I've learned if an emergency situation actually arises. But at least now I figure I've a better chance of having part of my brain (the part that was conditioned by the rote exercises we went through over and over again in the course) click on and say, "Wait a second, calm still remember the basic steps of what to do in any emergency situation. Now, just start at the beginning..."

Jeff let me practice on him again last night: I put him in a regular arm sling as well as a St. John tubular sling last night while we were watching episodes of The Sopranos (Scott loaned us the second season on DVD). For good measure, I also pretended he had a bad hand injury and treated him for that as well. :-)

first aid card


Infant First Aid for Choking and CPR: An Illustrated Guide (for children under one years of age)

Toddler First Aid for Choking and CPR: An Illustrated Guide) (for children approx. 1-9 years of age)

Today's Blatherpics:

- My First Aid partner, Ilya, just after I practiced splinting and bandaging his arm, then supported it in a sling. I told him to look like he was injured. :-)

- Practising arms splints and slings. We improvised splints from our First Aid books rolled up and secured by bandages.

- In this exercise, we pretended that the casualty had an objected imbedded in his leg to practise using the ring bandages we had made earlier. In class, we were always told to use the term "casualty" instead of "victim". A casualty is a person who is injured or who suddenly becomes ill.

- My St. John Ambulance card.

Today's Poll: (Courtesy Sherman Dorn)

Have you ever sent food through the post (mail, to those in the U.S.)?

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