On Monday and Tuesday Wiley and I attended a two day First Aid course. I was enrolled as I needed certification for my role as Client Liaison Officer. I was a little apprehensive about how I would go administering first aid but it turns out that having vision isn’t essential to providing emergency aid.
It started out a little rocky as the first person we encounter didn’t acknowledge mine or Wiley’s existence. We were obviously well and truly hidden under the invisibility cloak that some people want me to wear. The person only spoke to Jo, my friend and colleague, who was doing the course with me. He referred to me as ‘she’ and ‘her’. He asked Jo if she was going to ‘look after me’ and questioned how I would be able to do the exam. I did my best to insert myself into the conversation, seeing as it was about me, but even when I spoke he ignored me.
After he left Jo and I chatted about how incredibly rude he had been. I said if he was our trainer I’d be having a quiet word to make sure that sort of behaviour ceased immediately.
Fortunately he wasn’t our trainer. I expect he voiced concerns about having me in his class so another trainer volunteered to run the class. We really lucked out as he was a wonderful trainer. He said he is the only one that doesn’t use powerpoint. That worked for me as he didn’t rely on visuals, instead he gave great descriptions and told amusing and interesting stories that helped everyone, not just me, retain the information.
I know he put a lot of thought and effort into the best way to describe things so I could understand what he was talking about. He also did most of the demonstrations on me so even though I couldn’t see what he was doing I could feel it.
I thought bandaging could be a problem but it turned out to be a rather tactile exercise so I managed it with no problems. I passed the skills tests and also got Jo’s, my patients approval.
In addition to passing all the skills test I got through the scenario exam. I had three first aid situations to deal with. I identified and treated them all, although I did ask people to get me things such as bandages. I guess I was doing a little bit of First Aid by proxy but I was told that often the person providing first aid will direct others on what they should do.
At the end of the course we had the final written exam. They accommodated my needs by setting me up in separate room with another trainer who read me the questions. Thankfully I had retained the important information and passed without getting a question wrong.
Wiley was an absolute star, he was so patient and well behaved. I took in a mat so he had somewhere comfortable to sit and a nylabone for him to chew on. He also had lots of wee wee breaks. I got up at 4:30 so I could take him on a long walk before class. As he was tired he happily snoozed most of the time.
He helped me out during the scenario exercise by putting his head on my patients knee which assisted me in keeping them calm while we waited for help. What an asset!! The only thing he didn’t like was when I got bandaged, he offered me comfort but trying to climb into my lap so he could closely monitor what was happening to me. What a sweet and sensitive lad he is.
I am very grateful that my trainer and St John’s worked with me and didn’t see my vision loss as a barrier to getting a First Aid qualification. I just hope that I never need to use it!