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Tuesday 18 October 2011

A Highly Embarrassing Goof - Eddie's First Aid Course

I am having a short break from Painting and Decorating stories so we step into my time machine and travel 15-20 years into the future.  I had just joined a private ambulance company as an ACA/driver which did very nicely for me as a run up to my retirement.  Before any of us can be let loose with patients in any way whatsoever the basic requirement is a four day intensive First Aid course, and that is for starters, even to allow us to undertake  routine patient transport. After that we progress to more in house courses like the First Responder Course and if anyone wants to progress in the A and E area the training is very intensive, culminating with a Paramedic qualification.  I was a 'oldie' and there was no point in me having aspirations which were unrealistic, considering I was nearing retirement, so I struck with First Aid and First Responder courses plus any relevant in house course the company considered necessary.  I attended a four day residential Drive 1 course in Cornwall which qualified me to drive any ambulance up to police driving standards, but not using Blue Flashing Lights and Sirens for A and E work. That required additional training as a Drive 2 Emergency Driver for Accidents and Emergency driving.  I remember teasing someone who had just passed her Drive 2 and said that she would do in an emergency if they couldn't find anyone else!  She loved it and laughed her head off.
Anyway back to the story.  The venue for the four day First Aid course was ex house and our trainer was a lovely lady called Dianne.  She was a very efficient trainer and fortunately she had an extremely good sense of humour.  I loved studying First Aid.  We paired up as twos and took it in turns to practice resuscitation to an unconscious but breathing patient and then rolling them over into the recovery position.  My partner was Pam, who had started work on the same day I did.  For obvious reasons we could not use live partners for an unconscious and non-breathing patient.  Instead we used manikins and practiced CPR, Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation, where the requirement was to get them on their backs, apply two breaths into their mouth and then 30 quick compressions to help pump oxygenated blood round their bodies and notably to the brain, and keep doing this until emergcy services arrive. Several of my friends have saved people doing this which is marvellous. There is a lot of residual oxygen in the lungs of an unconcious non breathing patient, in fact 16%, as opposed to 20% in normal air and freshly breathed into the lungs, so it is possible to keep oxygenated blood circling for a while.  However the success rate of a full recovery is just 6% unfortunately.  One chap on the training course forgot he had to use a manikin and started to practice on his lady partner, whom he did not even know before that day.  This caused a high degree of amusement and uproar.

Here is a manikin just like the ones we used:

This guy is applying 30 firm chest compressions

During the second day, Dianne was dealing with eye injuries and the requirement to apply an antiseptic solution to wash any harmful grit or similar intrusions away from the affected eye. We were asked if we could suggest appropriate solutions which may be available in a First Aid situation. Various suggestions were made, all of which were entirely acceptable and then I put up my hand and was invited to offer my idea.  I said, jokingly, "This morning you said, 'Never knock urine, it is a powerful and effective anti-septic' , so why not urine?".  The whole class, including Dianne, went into hysterics with Dianne acting, "Excuse me patient, do you mind if I pee into your eye?".

Next day we progressed to shock and why it is necessary for a shocked patient to always lie down.  Shock simply is lack of oxygen to the brain, which normally takes 30% of all oxygen in our bodies.  This explains why invariably we feel sick when in shock. The stomach hates not having an adequate blood supply and if that falls short it's contents are rapidly expelled in vomit.  And vomitting is so dangerous for any breathing unconsious person and there is a vital reason why they have to be put in a recovery position. There is a real possibility if they are left on their backs they may vomit and this may be inhaled. Vomit is very acidic and corrosive and would certaining dissolve lung tissue and causae death - even in small quantities.  By placing patients on their side all vomit can drain out of their mouths. During shock a lot of blood is diverted to the greedy brain.  Nature's way of dealing with this is to fall down and lie down and that is the correct First Aid procedure.  To assist further more blood is diverted to the brain if the feet are elevated. Gosh! haven't I remembered it all well? Hope you are interested!

Anyway with all that on board the following afternoon we were taught about head injuries and if the patient is in shock as well, then it is more difficult to stop bleeding from the head injury - it's a swings and rounabouts situation. The solution is to raise the head slightly and rest it on the First Aider's knees whilst squatting. This was ably demonstrated by Dianne and a lady pretend patient.

And then Eddie drops an unbelievable unintentional clanger. In front of the entire class, with a girl as the patient lying on the floor with her head on Dianne's folded legs in a sitting position and supporting her head these immortal words gushed from Eddie's mouth:

"It's surprising what difference an extra 6 inches makes!"

Oh! to find a big hole to fall into.  The whole place errupted into a sea of laughter! The patient's shoulders immediately started to shake as she laughed. Dianne roared uncontrollably.  All the men were splitting their sides and the ladies shrieked. OMG how embarrassing!!  I even thought I saw a manikin have a little giggle. The whole class was ruined for at least five minutes and Dianne was not able to resume her teaching without breaking into laughter yet again.  Eventually she said she was going to include this in her future classes as an aid to make it more interesting.  I quickly requested royalty payments which caused another universal laugh.

Anyway we all passed our course and three years later when I was required to renew my First Aid qualification I attended a refresher course, not run by Dianne, but I saw her and we had a good laugh about the event which caused such hilarity three years previous.

I am reminded that my certificate is about to expire but I do not think I shall renew it because my ambulance days are well and truly over.  Oh! Happy memories! LOL


  1. Goofs like that are the things that make class interesting - you provided a public service.

  2. One time, back in my waitress days, I was doing my schpeel for the umpteenth time and thinking about the tasks at hand while I talked.....

    Instead of, "on the right hand of the menu is the fresh sheet with the fish specials..." I said "fresh shit with the fish species..."

    I just kept going and pretended it didn't happen ; -)

  3. With my luck, I would have squatted and immediately passed gas!

  4. Great story,you are a naturale story teller;)

  5. And three years later, people (like me)are still in hysterics over this! I especially liked that the mannequin got a chuckle out of it, too!

    Will NOT reveal any of MY goofs, but rest assured, there are many.

    xoxoxo, cd

  6. Trust you to say that!
    Funny though and everyone else was funny too. Just as well you weren't taking an exam..

    Yes...... I've practised on a mannikin called Annie several times & then we had to use baby mannikins and get a pretend peanut out of the child's oesophagus. When my turn came to dislodge it, the *peanut* went shooting several feet across the floor! Not sure if a real child would have withstood such a severe blow to its back though.
    Those were the days.
    I hope I never have to use the paediatric first aid training I had. I doubt it as my time limit will have run out now so I wouldn't have to volunteer unless I was the only adult present.
    Maggie X

    Nuts in May

  7. Great story, Eddie. And, you know what? You did actually teach me a thing or two about first aid I didn't know before. However, you left one question unanswered: IS it OK to use urine?

    (Sorry if I'm being dense. I truly suppose that it might be, though. Was that made clear one way or another?)

  8. Suldog - thanks and LOL. No urine as a no, no! I suppose theoretically it would work harmlessly but oatients would be alarmed if they were peed over or even bottled urine poured into their eyes LOL. Glad you liked the first aid course and you will be most relieved I would never give you the kiss of life LOL (oh what fun we have)

    All those others who ccommented - thank youy for your interest and don't forget I want royalties if you use the joke LOL

  9. What a story, Eddie! Were you marked forever as the class clown after this??? ;-) I had a similar experience in high school (totally innocent) which I don't care to relive. LOL!

    I took CPR, and we worked with a doll named Resusci-Annie. It was very interesting, but I really didn't like putting my mouth on hers even though they cleaned it each time. Ick! You are a braver man than I!



  10. Hilarious recap of your First Aid course, but seriously, urine is only sterile until it hits the air and then it's all downhill. LOL And leave it to you, Eddie, to come up with that "unintentional clanger". You are such a hoot! :) LOL

  11. Another funny tale from the Ambluance Man.
    I, too, wondered if the urine was acceptable...but after reading Jim's question and your answer, I see now that it's not. Also, I learned from your blog, and that's always a good thing, Eddie. Thank you!!!
    Regarding the renewal of your certificate, perhaps you might want to renew....even though your ambulance days seem to be over. You never know. I've been retired from teaching for a while, but I keep my teaching certificate renewed. One never knows. :)))
    Big hugs to you, Eddie.
    Give Maria a kiss from me.

  12. Anonymous ~ I cannot think why you feel it necessary to Boycott American Women. I as a Brit have had the good fortune to get to know several American ladies and must say I have found them all to be kind, compassionate, charming and they all have a wonderful sense of humour. What more can you want? I wonder.

    Now that's earned me a few more Brownie points with the ladies, hasn't it?

  13. Oh Eddie, you still have that magic touch! Thanks for the visit.

  14. Hi Eddie, I learned a lot from this post AND laughed my head off. Only YOU could get away with that comment.

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