“But a Samaritan, as he traveled, came where the man was; and when he saw him, he took pity on him. He went to him and bandaged his wounds, pouring on oil and wine. Then he put the man on his own donkey, brought him to an inn and took care of him”
– Luke 10:25-37
Friday October 11
Today is the final day of our Advanced Wilderness and Remote First Aid course. We're in the car, on our way back to the 'BC First Aid' HQ. It has become our new home. After spending our classroom time re-learning how to recognize, P.L.A.N. and treat injuries and illness, external bleeding, airway obstructions, heart attacks, etc…we spent yesterday in the bush reacting to emergency scenarios. Luckily it was sunny and beautiful day. Hopefully, the good weather will continue today (touch wood).
On the drive to Sechelt, we text Emily (oh sure, i remember her…didn't she just get a new kitten?). She replies that the weather in Toronto sucks. It's currently raining. I send her a picture of our clear blue skies to…you know…cheer her up.
(actual photo of Friday morning's sky in Sechelt)
I'm pooped…and a little punchy. We were in the woods for most of twelve hours yesterday (except for 'the treatment').
Oh, that's right…I had to leave class for a bit yesterday to get a tetanus shot. I've been playing with 'Charlie', he's the family dog where we live. He loves to play fetch with his ball but hasn't yet learned to drop the ball. I've been working on it with him.
Tuesday afternoon, when we got home, he and I were practicing. He finally dropped the ball exactly where I wanted and as I reached to pick it up…he reached too. Unfortunately, canines beat fingers every time and I got a small cut on my right pinky finger. I cleaned it, polysporined it and slapped a bandaid on. All was cool…really I'm fine…then I mentioned it in class to our instructor, Kellei. When she found out that I hadn't had a tetanus shot in…ohhh…twenty years, she insisted that I go to see the Regional Health Nurse and get one.
So yesterday, while everyone else continued working on emergency scenarios, I hiked out of Kinnikinnick Park, where we've been training, and drove into Sechelt.
I went to the Regional Health Nurse, who told me that I had to go to a Pharmacy because tetanus shots are now administered by Pharmacists. Cool.
Thursday is Senior's day at Shoppers Drug Mart…that means twenty percent off for everyone over fifty-five…it also means that the store was packed yesterday. I had a bit of a wait but then Mimi, the Pharmacist (who was sensational), took a time out to give me the shot and then asked me to wait around for fifteen minutes (just in case i keeled over). To my relief, I didn't. I was back in the forest within an hour and a half…healthier but sorry that to have missed an hour of training.
The scenario training was really fun…and nerve wracking. People we're dropping like flies…strokes, heart attacks, concussions, heavy external and internal bleeding…”Hello, my name is Wendy. I know 1st Aid…would you like my help?
We spent all day (and evening) reacting to the Machiavellian machinations of the master of disaster…our Instructor, Kellei. She uses makeup to create a sense of reality that has been missing from the other courses we've taken. Punctured ribs, compact fractures of the kneecap, a foot impaled by a stick…”Hello, my name is Steve. I know 1st Aid…would you like my help?”
Wrap it, treat for shock and leave her on our forest-made stretcher for the coyotes (sorry honey…only the strong survive)
We had dinner back at HQ and then hiked back into the woods for the evening portion. Night scenarios…a dehydrated, semi-conscious mushroom picker has gone missing for three days and can only mumble 'mushrooms' to rescuers…a teenage fight leaves two very intoxicated and belligerent girls bleeding from the head and neck…a fisherman's foot is frost bitten from having stepped into an icy lake…Great stuff.
That was yesterday…
…this is now and we're getting ready to go back at it. We will be exposed to more scenarios, write a test and…get certified. Let's not get ahead of ourselves though…lots of work still to be done. Time to re-focus. We'll talk to you in a bit.
Okay…it's lunch. What a morning…Dave had a stroke right after breakfast (poor guy), Wendy was poisoned with slight facial burns…one disaster after another. We're feeling better about ourselves though. One reason for our surge in confidence has been the authenticity of the acting and makeup. Our victims stay in character. Another reason is the manner in which Kellei debriefs us after each scenario. Everyone from rescuer to victim to bystander, is asked to relate one thing we like about our performance and one thing we would improve upon. This allows Kellei plenty of time to instruct, to ask us questions and if necessary, to offer alternative actions we might take in the future. Brief, efficient and mature. What great leadership.
After lunch, we go back into the forest, Laurie treats Dave after he cuts off his hand with an axe…then, has a totem fall onto her head, knocking her face first into a fire
We based one of our favourites (and last of the day) on an experience our brother, Brian had. His incident involved a can of dog spray and his pants pocket. In our 1st Aid scenario, we padded it up a bit. I have sprayed Wendy in the eye with bear spray and she has run face first into a tree…with the following results
The only thing left before we write our test is to practice our Hypothermia Wrap…we volunteer Wendy because it's going to get very warm in that wrap and she's the one person who would welcome that kind of heat.
(why not…the astronauts wear them)
(oh, would you look at the time)
The final test goes well. We discuss the results together…an occasional groan marks the discovery of an error. Kellei awards the diplomas…no groaning now, we're proud of our accomplishment. Gotta admit, it feels pretty darned good. Thank you Kellei, Dave and Laurie
Wendy and I are having Luke over for dinner tonight so we say goodbye to all, get some last minute geography lessons from Kellei and we're off to pick up groceries.
By the time we get home, Luke is sitting on the stairs awaiting our return. We welcome him in.
After a hearty dinner of pork chops, oven roasted potatoes and a Calabrese salad, the three of us sit back onto the couch, sip Luke's wine and watch Louis C. K. doing standup in 'Oh My God!'
By the time we've done laughing and chatting, it's pretty late. We're all tired as heck so, Luke is going to crash on the larger couch. We're going to bed too…man, I am done in…I wonder if we'll dream of injured faces and limbs tonight
Moose and Wendle…we know 1st Aid…can we be of service?…zzzz
'Did You Know?'
In 1901, Jean-Henri Dunant, the founder of The International Committee of the Red Cross, was co-receiver of the first ever Nobel Peace Prize