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Responding and Toys

Wow, I can’t believe it’s been so long since I last blogged.  Similarly, I don’t know how much longer I might have left it if it wasn’t for the events of this week.  That sounds ominous…it shouldn’t.  This week I have mostly been on First Responder training with LIVES.  I qualified as a level 2 responder, and was on call (admittedly as a 2nd responder) this evening.  No calls tonight, which I suppose is a good thing, though of course it would be nice to get the first call out of the way sooner rather than later.

The course was ace.  When I did the first aid at work course, we all knew what form the practical assessment would take: you would enter a room where there would be an unconscious but breathing patient that you would need to do a primary and secondary survey on before placing them into the recovery position.  The practical scenarios for the FR course were a lot different.  You wait outside a room with your first responder bag (which contains a defib, an oxygen bottle, three oxygen masks and some other goodies).  Inside, the trainers set up the scenario before one of them meets you at the door to tell you what ambulance control have told you.

My first scenario was to an adult male who was feeling unwell.  That was it, nothing more.  I had to ask the relevant questions of the patient in order to work out what I was up against. My patient had a headache, only it was a stroke.  I correctly identified the problem, but annoyingly treated it incorrectly. After giving him 15l/min of oxygen I was gently reminded by the trainer that stroke patients shouldn’t be given any oxygen because it actually makes things worse! I’m still kicking myself.  Still, it’s a mistake I will remember and not repeat, and the training room is the place to make those mistakes.

My second scenario was a 38 year old lady who was bleeding heavily with a miscarriage.  When I arrived she was bent double up against the wall of the training room and was going into shock.  This time I slowed myself down a bit and forced myself to go through the processes systematically.  I fared much better that time around.

The thing which really struck me about all of this was just how little you have to work on.  For me, I only have to worry about it for the couple of hours that I’m on duty.  For the people who are regularly on the front line of medicine — the doctors, nurses, paramedics, EMTs etc — they have to deal with that shit on a daily basis.  Ladies and gentlemen of the health service: you have my respect.

The written test was pretty straight forward, not because I’m naturally brilliant or anything, but because the course was so well delivered that it was easy to remember the discussions we’d had about each topic that was being questioned. I got 100%.

I’ve been raving about the whole First Responder a lot in the office, on twitter and to pretty much anyone who will listen.  Sorry about that, but it’s just so incredibly cool to think that I’m now in a position to be able to help people who are unwell.  It’s also a nationally recognised qualification (IHCD First Person On scene), so it’s good CV fodder. 🙂

This week hasn’t just been about the First Responder stuff though.  You may be aware of the news regarding HP, specifically the massive reduction of their Touchpads from £350 to £90.  I bought one from on Monday, within a minute or two of them being reduced.  It arrived today and I have to say that I’m pleased with it.  There are a few things that I haven’t managed to do with it yet, such as getting a working terminal/ssh client, but there are lots of things that I can do with it…such as write this post (which I am writing in the WordPress app).

So, if you’re one of the people who gave me money for my birthday, thanks.  You bought me a tablet PC.

Keep smiling.


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