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In the land of the blind… ...

Posted Oct 04 2009 11:10pm

Last night I went to see the staff of what would once have been known as a Working Men’s Club, but it now known as a Member’s Bar because they let women in now. Like most of these places, this one is run by ’salt of the earth’ types, many of whom have retired, and most of them look battle-worn and tired with life. Everyone greets everyone else as ‘darlin” unless its man to man and then its ‘mate’. I had been asked to go along because a few weeks ago someone collapsed in the bar, and no-body knew what to do.

I say no-body. As is inevitable in such circumstances, members of the public suddenly all become experts – especially with a few jars down their necks….. So there was widespread panic. No-one wanted a repeat of that, and it was quite obvious that the group had been shocked by the event.

So, I spent an hour and a half talking to them about unconsciousness, opening airways, and the recovery position. I explained in terms they would understand about conditions that might cause unconsciousness, and what they could do to help before the ambulance came. I got them to practice opening the airway and putting people into the recovery position. They felt very self-conscious to begin with, it was obvious. By the end, the group had opened up to eachother, and were sharing experiences of various medical conditions together, which we talked through. 

Finally we talked about the event that had occurred at the bar, and what they would do differently now that they had learned a few things tonight. Everyone said that they now felt confident enough to be able to take charge – something they hadn’t done on the night in question.  A little knowledge and some confidence. That’s all it takes.

My work was done. I left there feeling good, because over the course of an hour those people had changed. And another 10 people are armed with the knowledge to save a life….

Last night I went to see the staff of what would once have been known as a Working Men’s Club, but it now known as a Member’s Bar because they let women in now. Like most of these places, this one is run by ’salt of the earth’ types, many of whom have retired, and most of them look battle-worn and tired with life. Everyone greets everyone else as ‘darlin” unless its man to man and then its ‘mate’. I had been asked to go along because a few weeks ago someone collapsed in the bar, and no-body knew what to do.

I say no-body. As is inevitable in such circumstances, members of the public suddenly all become experts – especially with a few jars down their necks….. So there was widespread panic. No-one wanted a repeat of that, and it was quite obvious that the group had been shocked by the event.

So, I spent an hour and a half talking to them about unconsciousness, opening airways, and the recovery position. I explained in terms they would understand about conditions that might cause unconsciousness, and what they could do to help before the ambulance came. I got them to practice opening the airway and putting people into the recovery position. They felt very self-conscious to begin with, it was obvious. By the end, the group had opened up to eachother, and were sharing experiences of various medical conditions together, which we talked through. 

Finally we talked about the event that had occurred at the bar, and what they would do differently now that they had learned a few things tonight. Everyone said that they now felt confident enough to be able to take charge – something they hadn’t done on the night in question.  A little knowledge and some confidence. That’s all it takes.

My work was done. I left there feeling good, because over the course of an hour those people had changed. And another 10 people are armed with the knowledge to save a life….

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