This week, I attended a basic First-Aid at Work course with the excellent St John's Ambulance (www.sja.org.uk). It's a 3-day course and quite intensive, but we had a very small group and it was nice to be able to keep things informal and open to discussion.
I learned a lot, but it was also nice to know that what little First-Aid I knew previously was on the right lines. My main reason for getting trained was to give me the confidence to help someone instead of deferring to who I thought would be a higher or trained authority. Twice, I've found myself in situations when First Aid was needed and although I knew roughly what to do, I didn't think I was allowed to do it.
The first time was in a pub during a Halo gig. A man near our table was on the verge of collapsing. I tried to get the landlord to help, but he simply referred me onto his wife, who wouldn't take me seriously until I dragged her from behind the bar and showed her the man collapsed on the floor (honestly, when a sober customer in your pub tells you that an ambulance is needed, wouldn't you think to take that seriously?). The band stopped and John, the singer announced that medical help was needed and there was an off-duty nurse in the pub that night, who stepped right in and took over until the ambulance arrived.
The second time was at work, and this time, I was able to help. A girl had a pacnic attck during an exam and was sitting in my office breathing really quickly. I realised she was hyperventilating, grabbed the nearest paper bag (I'm really quite the hoarder) and got her to breathe into it.In the meantime, I sent a colleague off to fetch a trained First-Aider. It was a good job I knew about the paper bag, because when my colleague finally came back, she'd been sent all around the College! The person with her was actually the 3rd First-Aider she tried. Luckily, by then the girl was fine and able to do her exam later.
Both times I felt really let down by the people who I thought were in charge and should have helped, so it's nice to now have the confidence to jump in straight away.
After my assessment yesterday, which was quite physical, I decided to treat myself and check out the new yarn shop in Cambridge - The Sheep Shop. In fact, you may even be reading this post after being directed from their Facebook page! The shop opened late last year, but as it's on the other side of the city to where I work, I haven't been able to get over there until now.
The shop is beautiful - really light and bright with a fantastic selection of yarns, books and equipment. Sarah, the owner, was very chatty and friendly while still giving you space and time to look around and while it was tempting to buy all of the shop contents, I decided on a few balls of yarn and some crochet hooks (walking several miles a day tends to temper your retail therapy sessions!). I was most impressed with her selection of yarns - lots of natural yarns and more importantly (to me anyway), yarns produced by local dyers. After spending the day practising CPR (which doesn't half take it out of you) it was a lovely way to end a rather tiring day! If you haven't been to the Sheep Shop yet, I thoroughly recommend it. It's at 72 Beche Road, Cambridge CB5 8HU (or you can check our her website at www.sheepshopcambridge.co.uk)