Hundreds of years ago back in late 1997, my then employer invited staff to gain first-aid certification with St John Ambulance Australia. I decided to give it a go – partly to gain some useful knowledge, and partly because I thought it may give myself some much-needed confidence.
Fortunately, I passed the two-day course and got my certificate, although my level of confidence remained the same (ie: zero). Instead, I had given my then worry-wart self a new fear – having to give someone first aid and something going disastrously wrong.
Time passed. I was outsourced to a new employer. Every three years, I recertified my first-aid skills. There were a few very minor incidents at work where I was needed, but even then all I did was (a) check that colleagues who had already attended to themselves were okay and (b) record details about what had happened.
Several times over the years, instructors told us that apart from knowing how to help someone in danger, the best thing we could hope for was to never find ourselves in situations where first aid was needed. I found that mindset very reassuring indeed.
And then, almost 13 years after I first learned about first aid, I finally applied my training as detailed in this previous entry – and my late-1997 self would have been surprised and most of all relieved that I did something and kept my head.
Last weekend, I had to recertify again, and so off I went to another one-day course.
Admittedly, part of me wasn’t looking forward to it for two main reasons. Firstly, by St John’s own admission and from my own previous experience, the one-day recertification courses are quite draining and intense – and there would have been other things I would have much preferred to do that Saturday, which is usually my Sabbath.
Secondly, although my self-consciousness is nowhere near as bad as it used to be, there was still the uncomfortable prospect of having to do practical exercises with strangers, and especially with attractive female strangers.
Despite those misgivings, however, I went along.
And by day’s end, thanks to how my life has changed during the past few years, I had surprised myself again.
Firstly, although it was an intense day of training and I was exhausted at the end, I had approached it with a much better mindset than before. Thanks once again to what I had read of Eckhart Tolle’s The Power Of Now, I told myself that there was no point sitting in class all day and waiting for it to hurry up and finish, already – instead, focus on being there at each moment, and don’t think about anything else. So, I did – and as a result, the day went by very fast and satisfyingly.
Secondly, I was still initially reluctant about having to do practical exercises, and noticing that a couple of very attractive women were sitting near me didn’t help, either…but instead of succumbing to those fears, I decided to confront them. And I did – I cracked jokes, often took the lead in group exercises, and demonstrated that I was relaxed and reliable. As a result, I felt much better.
Finally, and perhaps most importantly, the Yarra incident had given me something invaluable for completing the training – experience.
This manifested in several ways:
- As I mentioned in my account of the Yarra incident, I took away from it a greater appreciation of my first-aid training; therefore, coupled with my Power of Now approach described above, being there at the course was much less of a drag that it had been in years past
- When our instructor described what to do in case a casualty has a fit or seizure, it was remarkable to sit there and recall that I had experienced something similar only weeks before – and that at the time, my training had kicked in like second nature and I had done something instead of nothing
- During the practical exercises, I was calm and relaxed with myself and colleagues about completing tasks; no, I wasn’t blasé about not getting minor things completely right, like wrapping bandages an exact way– but if I didn’t get it right the first time I would try again, and if I still didn’t get it right I would come up with an alternative that did work; I also shared this notion with some of my colleagues when they found themselves in similar situations, and they seemed to appreciate it
So in the end, thanks again to what I’ve learnt and experienced during the past few years, spending a Saturday doing first-aid recertification wasn’t so bad after all.
Until next time, stay well and take care 🙂