I heard a voice behind me “Keithy, Keithy”. I spun round to find a breathless Rosey staring at me. “He was choking – sprout – stuck in his throat!” I told her to slow down and tell what had happened.
She was hopping from one foot to the other, as she began to explain that a man in the cafe had got a sprout lodged in his throat and had begun to turn a strange colour. She then rushed round behind me, clamped her arms around me and squeezed me so hard my ribs hurt. I asked her what she was doing. “This is what another man did to the man who couldn’t breathe” she spluttered. I explained that I too was now having difficulty breathing, so she let go. “It was the Heinz manoeuvre” she continued. I decided not to correct her, Heimlich was a word I could never see her getting the hang of!
“Well” she continued “I was watching, then suddenly the sprout flew out of his mouth like a bullet, and hit me on the nose”. I commented that it was fortunate she didn’t have her mouth open, because the man may have had to perform the Heinz manoeuvre on her! I laughed, she frowned.
Anyway, this episode made her think. She thought for quite a while. I clicked my fingers to try and bring her back, and she blurted out “I’m going to do a first aid course!”
Well, she was as good as her word, and she duly signed up for a crash course (she thought that was a funny name, as she would soon be qualified to save lives at the scene of a car crash!) I went with her in order to help her out if she had difficulty understanding anything.
On the first day we did things about burns, cuts, bleeding and basic everyday accidents. Unfortunately she passed out at the site of the pretend blood, so the section on dealing with fainting was held a week earlier than intended! After that we moved on to the heavier stuff. I had to stop her when she tried correcting the tutor on his pronunciation of Heimlich, but she was the first to volunteer when he asked for someone to demonstrate it. She glowed with pride when he congratulated her on her technique, even though she did almost break the victim’s ribs in the process.
But it was the session on resuscitation that I will never, ever, forget! On the table we had a life size dummy of indeterminate gender. I had to slap Rosey’s hand when she started groping around looking for clues! She said she was uncomfortable with the idea of mouth-to-mouth in case the patient had been eating garlic, so she sat it out until we started on the pressure method – the pressing on the chest technique.
It was Rosey’s turn to have a go. The dummy was now down on the floor and Rosey knelt astride it provoking a few sniggers and crude remarks from a couple of on-looking young men! Then she started pushing down, letting go, pushing down, and letting go. To aid her concentration the started muttering “he-ho, he-ho, he-ho”.
Well, she must have been pressing a little too hard because the dummy started to join in! As she let go it made a sound like ‘ha’. So now we all started to hear “he-ho-ha, he-ho-ha, he-ho-ha”. By now the muted giggles had turned to laughter, and bang on cue the dummy seem to take on a life of its own! It began to raise one leg each time she went down which prompting her to whimper “oo”. So now we were hearing “he-ho-ha-oo, he-ho-ha-oo, he-ho-ha-oo”! She never actually saw the funny side of it.
We are now half way through the course and Rosey is wondering if she might have a future as a Paramedic. She thinks the uniform is quite fetching and she’d love to make people jump with her siren! Perish the thought!
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