First Aid. Back to the Future. By Owen Zupp.
First Aid. Back to the Future.
I just completed a First Aid course and it brought back a lot of memories.
When Back to the Future hit the big screen in 1985, I was a 21-year old Ambo, learning to fly whenever my pay cheque allowed. The sequel may have projected Marty McFly forward to 2015, but hoverboards haven’t quite taken off and several less desirable aspects of society have.
Now in 2020, with months of stand-down blurring into another and no sign of international flying returning any time soon, I decided to step back in time and undertake a First Aid course.
It is a skill set that is well worth having and worth having up-to-date. Kirrily and I have both been busy with the kids and courses as our aeroplanes sit dormant, so the time has been far from wasted. Family time and stretching the brain cells are never wasted effort.
There was a touch of surreal about the experience of becoming the student, having been the instructor in the dark, distant past. In the days before the course, I had completed the required pre-course reading and assessments, identifying changes in the way first aid is rendered. Some changes were subtle and some not so subtle.
Seated in the classroom at socially-distanced intervals, it felt strange to have patient care discussed without the intimacy of touch, but these are the necessary and legal measures in the days we are living. As the instructor recounted practical examples and showed short videos of actual events, a sense of familiarity crept into my being. I was looking beyond the patient, to the surrounding environment, processing the posture and the perfusion of the distressed individual. Recall was kicking in both academically and slightly emotionally. Far from reflex, it began as one perceives the massive turbines of the Queen Mary slowly starting and turning, gradually gathering speed and momentum. Vocabulary that I thought I had forgotten rose to the surface, although I kept my mouth shut. The data from decades ago was obviously baked in but needed to be stirred up to be seen, like silt on the bottom of a pond.
Part of me felt like I was that young Ambo again, recalling the mates that I shared those days with. And blokes like Wilco and Greg who are still out there getting the job done.
I look back on those days with fondness as four years I would never trade in. Joining the NSW Ambulance Service at 19 years of age, I learned a lot and I learned it fast. I was a kid that had to act like a grown up and eventually become one. I learned that working in a good team can be one of the most amazing experiences when that team performs. I learned that things are never quite as bad as they seem and there’s ALWAYS something to be thankful for. I learned that a sense of humour at the appropriate time is a very valuable tool in keeping a balance.
I never could have imagined that a simple course in First Aid would bring back so many memories and I am grateful for that. Perhaps I shouldn’t leave it so long, perhaps I should even look at training others in First Aid. Perhaps I should go Back to the Future a little more often.