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The reason we keep our first aid up to date

(22 Posts)
Cantcopewiththis Mon 17-Jun-13 10:10:42

Hi, I just wanted to share something that I discovered last week, and am now struggling to deal with.

I have had many conversations with nannies who question, why we need to do a first aid course, every 3 years? Friends have told me they don't learn anything new, so why bother?

Well last week, just a few weeks after updating my first aid. I found myself in a situation where I needed to use what I was taught. I am very very grateful that I was there and able to assist and possibly save a life.

What I also want to share, is that although what we are taught on these courses is amazing. Nothing really prepares you for when it happens for real.

I have been thanked for what I did and the couple of people that I have spoken with, have told me that I should be very proud of myself. But right now I am really struggling with dealing with the whole thing. I'm feeling a whole mix of emotions and alot of 'what ifs' which apparently is perfectly normal.

Have any of you ever had to deal with an emergency, and had to give CPR? If so how did you cope afterwards? Is talking about it the best way, or just trying to move on and pretend it never happened (easier said than done)

Right now, I just can't talk about it. Hence the writing it on here instead. I'm reliving it in my head everyday, and dreaming about it at night. I just wish it hadn't happened, but turning the clock back, isn't an option.

Anyway sorry, that was a very long winded way of saying, that's why it is important that we keep up to date with our first aid, because although we hope we will never need to use it. Sadly sometimes we do.

isisisis Mon 17-Jun-13 10:59:43

Morning, I'm not in childcare but you came up on active posts & didn't want you left unanswered.
It sounds like you did a terrific job and should be very proud of yourself. It's very normal to feel as you are afterwards - particularly I imagine if the person was known to you or a child.
I've worked in healthcare, including A&E & surgery, for years & I still have one case (a child) that stays with me even though I know I did everything I possibly could.
Could the people you did your recent first aid course do a 'debrief' with you, you may find it very helpful to discuss what you did, what you could of done differently ( if that's something you're worried about) & I'm sure they'd be delighted they helped you help someone else!
If not what about another friend in healthcare/st johns ambulance? Their is a lot of benefit in talking about it with someone who understands & will hopefully put your mind at rest. We have to have 'critical incident debriefs' after anything similar and it is very helpful to talk about what happened & the 'what ifs'. In the last one my feeling was that I hadn't fully grasped the urgency of the situation from the nurse initially as she was so calm-no harm done - but we discussed what could be done differently (shake/kick the senior if they're not getting it!) next time.
Again, I think you've had a difficult experience, but thank god you were there & that you'd done that course. Well done x

HerrenaHarridan Mon 17-Jun-13 11:00:14

It is normal to feel shell shocked.

I have had to use my first aid training several times. I was taught in army cadets and the training is very different there. You do lots of pressure is on type enactments but it still doesn't prepare you for having someone's life in your hands.

The update every three years is annoying especially since often changes are either non existent or minor tweaks but the fact if the matter is if you don't use it you will forget it and possibly to something dangerous when the pressure is on.

Well done for stepping up and keeping a cool head.

It's ok to panic and freak out a bit now. smile

Cantcopewiththis Mon 17-Jun-13 11:15:58

Thanks for the replies. It's good to hear that what I am going through and feeling is 'normal'. I have spoken to the trainer who taught my latest course, and she has been amazing.

I think my problem is the baby is still in hospital, she was doing well but has not had a good weekend. So things are still touch and go. I keep thinking what if and trying to work out why things happened the way they did. But the truth is it happened and I can't change that.

As for it's okay to panic and freak out now! I am! Xx

RosieGirl Mon 17-Jun-13 15:37:43

Well done, it sounds like you did a good job and will hopefully be able to feel proud you could help.

I know I would also pull it apart, re-visiting every aspect of it, but eventually it will fade and hopefully you will just remember the positive aspects of what you did.

I am due on a first aid course in July and have no issues in having a reminder, if anything I would prefer a regularly annual (shorter) refresher, rather than a full 12 hour one every 3 years.

HerrenaHarridan Mon 17-Jun-13 19:57:13

The big what if is what if you hadn't been there!

You were and you did what you could to pass her on to the professionals alive. Now they are doing all they can.

What you describe is exactly how I deal with every difficult/stressful/frightening situation I am in and is specifically something I learnt through first aid.

Remain utterly calm and logically in the face of chaos and just keep dealing with the situation until it is safe to freak out!

It works really well for me but I have never managed to skip the delayed freaking out. To the point that I can think of occasions where I have literally broken down shaking, crying, hyperventilating, sweating the works!

A good and very sick friend of mine has convulsions as a part of her complex illness. She had a protracted fit during which she fell out of her wheel chair and was smashing her self to pieces on the floor and furniture.
I did everything I could and waited it out with her, afterwards she was incredibly confused and frightened because her legs didn't work.
It was quite simply the most terrifying and heart wrenching thing that has ever happened.

Once I was safe to panic, bloody hell!!! I was a mess. I called Samaritans as I didn't want to talk to any mutual friends about it (for her privacy) they couldn't understand a word I was saying.

Thank goodness you were there and knew what to do.

I really hope she gets better quickly. Please update and let me know.

Don't let the what ifs haunt you. It's important you think them through but once you have done that you need to congratulate yourself on doing the best you could in a bad situation smile

Blondeshavemorefun Mon 17-Jun-13 23:14:30

Well done for staying calm and saving the babies life

About 3yrs ago roughly as I just renewed my first aid I had to use my training on dh

He had a fit and then wasnt breathing as tongue was down his throat

I had to pull him off the sofa - remove tongue and put in recovery position - then called ambulance

You had a traumatic time and if you need to speak to someone then make sure you do - either Samaritans or counsellor at doctors x

Cantcopewiththis Tue 18-Jun-13 06:58:55

Thank you for sharing your own experiences. Sadly there wasn't a happy ending to this. I received a call yesterday saying the baby had very sadly passed away. She had improved and everyone thought she was going to be okay. But she had a bad weekend and yesterday her little heart gave up.

God Bless Her! Xx

Trumpton Tue 18-Jun-13 07:07:15

Oh bless her. That's so sad. Make sure that you get support for yourself as to cope with the feelings you will have. Thank you from every mother for being there and helping the baby.

TweenageAngst Tue 18-Jun-13 07:24:29

Cant cope although the outcome was a sad one, your actions got the baby to hospital, you gave her a fighting chance and gave the parents precious time with their daughter.
It is normal to go over these scenario's in your head and wonder if you did all you could. Take it from me you did. There are very few people who can confidently perform CPR on a baby and the chances of anyone surviving an out of hospital cardiac arrest are really really small anyway.
Disclaimer I do CPR regularly and I still go over each arrest in my head afterwards.

Cantcopewiththis Tue 18-Jun-13 09:48:05

Thank you Trumpton and TweenageAngst

I needed to read that. Made me feel slightly less alone.

I'm struggling with this, and all the emotions that come with it. Also thinking about her parents and siblings, and what they are going through. I know deep down that I did what I could, but right now all I'm doing is going over things in my head, thinking 'what if'. Having spoken to a couple of people, I do know that this is 'normal'. But it certainy isn't easy.


glorious Tue 18-Jun-13 14:17:31

Oh cantcope I'm so sorry. As others have said you did a terrific job to keep the baby alive to get treatment. That's all you could do and you did so well not to just panic. Be kind to yourself. And I agree, everyone who uses childcare should be grateful to professionals like you thanks thanks

HerrenaHarridan Tue 18-Jun-13 15:45:35

Oh, can't cope! I'm so sorry!
That's just horrible!

You did everything you could and I glad to see you saying that about yourself.
Those poor parents! sad

Blondeshavemorefun Tue 18-Jun-13 16:26:43

im sorry to hear the baby didnt survive BUT you gave her a fighting chance or she would have died before going to hospital

you gave her parents precious time together with their child and you should be proud of yourself

Cantcopewiththis Tue 18-Jun-13 19:17:43

Thank you glorious, Herrena and Blondes for your kind words and for sharing your stories. I know I am not alone in what has happened. But right now that's exactly how I feel.

Today I received a beautiful bouquet of flowers from the babies grandparents, on behalf of the parents. I burst into tears when I read the card.

I feel like I have failed and that I could of done more, or that maybe I did something wrong! Which I know is stupid, because she was doing okay a few days ago sad it's hard to believe she's gone.

I haven't managed to talk about things properly yet. The one friend I did TRY to talk to, started asking 20 questions, and wanted to know all the details. NOT what I needed.

I did have a call from my first aid course tutor today, which was very sweet. She was extremely supportive and full of useful advice.

So I guess it's now a slow process of working through my feelings, and dealing with things. Rather than bottling them up, and trying to avoid them.

Thanks again for the support. Xxx

Cindy34 Tue 18-Jun-13 20:58:57

Sorry to hear the update. Having done numerous first aid courses over the years, I have never had to do cpr for real. Broken bones, bleeds, but never cpr. Survival chance is low but it can give loved ones a chance to see them, to say goodbye.
Sounds like you did a great job and got the baby to specialist care and the parents got to be at the babies bedside for the last hours of his/her life.

You do not say how you know this baby, if they were in your care at the time or not but if you know them well or not, you will still grieve for them. So take things slowly, think of the positives in their short life.

Next time you do a first aid course, mention it to the trainer right at the beginning, as doing training will bring things back into your mind. Prepare for that as best you can, perhaps if you feel up to it by then explain to the group what happened and how all the training you do can not prepare you enough for doing it for real.

HerrenaHarridan Tue 18-Jun-13 21:29:31

Ooooh! That is so lovely of them, to think of you and what you did for their baby on the midst of their grief.

I hope you realise they are trying to say they do not blame you in anyway.

They are casting around right now for somewhere to lay the blame, someone to be angry with, and that is not you!

Your feelings are totally valid, the guilt, the fear, disbelief, anger.
All of it is a normal, physiological response to intense stress.

It's all very well beating yourself with if onlys but
you did everything you could
You know that
You said that
So what else could you have done?

Without knowing the details I don't want to make sweeping statements but if the staff at the hospital had thought you had done anything incorrectly they would have said and the parents would not be sending you flowers.

Of course you feel devastated you tried to save her poor little life, but that wasn't to be.

If you don't feel like you can talk to your friend stick with the trainer, or the Samaritans, you can pm me and I'll give you my number but please don't bottle this up, let it out

You have done a good thing, a beautiful thing!

You prolonged this girls life long enough for the proper professionals to do all they could to save her.

If the whole team at the hospital couldn't save her, then nothing you could have done was going to change the outcome

You gave her parents the opportunity to be with her and say goodbye as opposed to getting that call every parent dreads.

You have done a wonderful thing and as well as everything else, you should be proud of yourself!

You kept your head, remembered your training and did what you could. No one could expect any more

Cantcopewiththis Tue 18-Jun-13 21:39:50

Just wanted to say the reason I haven't given too much info is because I don't think it's my place to talk about the details, particularly now.

But I can say, I was at the house to babysit, mum was still present when the incident occurred. I have known the family a long time, and quite apart from the mixed emotions I am feeling. I am totally devastated and heartbroken for their loss!

Thanks Herrena I am doing my best to talk about what happened. But may take some time. Thanks for the offer of a friendly ear! thanks

HerrenaHarridan Tue 18-Jun-13 21:50:23

Can't cope, it's ok you don't need to share anything if it doesn't feel right.

In this little pocket of the Internet, this tragedy is about you and your feelings.

Out there in your rl a family have lost a baby and I reckon your probably feeling like you've barely a right to be upset compared to what their going through but that's not true.

They may find themselves feeling very cut off and isolated as people often don't know how to deal with other people's pain.
Share their grief with them, not many people will understand what it was like to be there but you do.
Not many people will be able to understand without asking painful questions, but you do.

Your own grief is a mark of respect and love for the baby they have lost, share it with them, they understand and most likely will be comforted by it.

Cantcopewiththis Wed 19-Jun-13 07:00:43

Hi Herrena I wish things were that easy. But I am confused and upset and Angry. That's my problem, I feel angry at the situation, and angry that I have been put in this situation. Because although I know accidents happen, I have spent over 20years as a nanny and never had anything bad happen.

On this occasion it was out of my control, I didn't cause it, although if I had turned up 10minutes later, maybe it wouldn't of happened? THATS my problem, what happened shouldn't of happened, it was a stupid totally unnecessary accident sad and one that's taken away a young life, and ruined so many others.

Sorry I know that probably doesn't make much sense. But quite frankly, life doesn't make much sense, right now. Xx

Cathyrina Wed 19-Jun-13 21:32:57

oh this is horrible to read but at least you tried to help - well done for that. I've never had anything serious happen but exactly these stories make me update my first aid EVERY year. I think that's very important, 3 years is such a long time...

HerrenaHarridan Wed 19-Jun-13 23:08:00

I think I follow you.

The thing is there are a billion accidents like this waiting to happen, in every room in every house there is something that if a series of unlikely coincidences happened tragedy might strike.

It only takes a fraction of a second for the child standing next to you in a busy street to run into the road.

Most of the time you force yourself to ignore / negate these risks because other wise you would literally never dare close your eyes.

Right now you are probably super sensitive to it all and of course your angry, there is nothing worse than knowing the worst could have been easily prevented.
Unfortunately in order to actually live life we take risks all the time and mostly it works out, or its a near miss and you get a fright. Not quite always though.

All these feelings are completely normal in the circumstances.
Don't push them away, feel them until they are all used up.
I know your probably wishing all sorts of things, that on that day you lost your keys/ missed your bus/ fell and broke your leg or worse.
All normal.

But it may well still of happened wether you had been there or not. You can never know and it doesn't matter, really it doesn't, because it did happen and in the split second it took the world is irreparably different.

You tried to help her and you must be pretty mad at yourself because it didn't work.
It's ok to be mad at your self for a while, after all if you can't find anyone else to blame that won't stop your need to blame someone.
These feelings are also normal, but they are not ok and you need to work through them as a priority.

Forgive yourself for not being able to save her, a whole specialist team at the hospital couldn't save her, so there is no way you could of.

This will be a pretty dark time for you, it may take a while for you to even feel like its ok to move on. The first time you next smile or laugh you will probably feel like shit afterwards.

Oh op, I'm so sorry this is happening you, I just want to give you a cuddle and make you a cup if tea. Words don't really cut it for the big stuff x x x

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