First Aid For Dummies.

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I went to a first aid course once.  It was mandatory for all of us in the department so we were attending with other people from the office and let me tell you,  when we walked in there and saw there was a dummy for each of us I didn’t even try to restrain my relief.  It is such a heavy burden to know that everyone would want to be partnered with me and that some would probably want to fight it out and others might become suicidal.  All that emotion gets tiring and I was already a little fatigued.  But when I saw those dummies,  I was so relieved,  I hooted and hollered and jumped up and down on the table until I choked on my candy and the instructor had to do the Heimlich manoeuvre  on me.

Once you have a strangers hands all over your chest and you projectile spit a candy across the room hitting your boss and knocking out a tooth .. . there really is no need to waste any more class time on things like ice breakers.  Hysteria pretty much tears down those walls we keep around ourselves.

We got straight into the instruction right after the boss was in the car and on his way to the emergency dental hospital with his tooth neatly wrapped up in a tissue with a bit of ice.  I offered to pack it for him but everyone else thought it best if I sit down and rest … on the other side of the room . . . behind the screen.

The instructor told us to spit out any other candy or gum we might have in our mouth.  I showed him my candy was still embedded in the wall where it landed after it ricocheted off the boss’s tooth.  I like to get points when I can.  One of the other women was chewing gum and he had to tell her three times to spit it out.  The third time he took her over the garbage can and held it out in front of him demanding she put her gum in there.  She dutifully moved her hand to her mouth and then to the garbage can.

And kept on chewing as soon as his back was turned.

He told us we had to do that in real life if we ever had to do CPR because it would be awful if we were giving someone mouth to mouth and then ended up losing our gum or candy in their mouth and they choked to death.  I also pointed out that the gum might accidentally land in their hair and then it would be really hard for them to comb it out before surgery and the person might not only have scars from the accident but the other patients might laugh at them and call them names like “sticky bubble hair” or “gum head.”

The instructor had us watch a short video and then he demonstrated on his dummy.  Half way through he thought he saw the gum woman chewing again but she said “no.”  They had a stare off and gum woman won.  Then it happened again … and again!!  Finally he made her open her mouth and show him and she did.   None of us saw any gum.

Gum woman 5, Instructor Zilch.

The instructor got all flustered but you could tell he still did not believe her.   He asked if we had any questions and then it was our turn to work on our dummies.  He pointed out these were incredibly life like and expensive and we were very fortunate to have them on loan to us for the day from the fire department’s stash.    We were all practicing away, counting out our pumps on the chest, listening for breath, pinching the nose and tilting the head back and breathing in to their mouths.  It was cool their chests rose and everything.  I was really attracted to mine.  That happens in real life too.  When you go through something really traumatic with someone you can form life long bonds.  There is no sense fighting it.  God probably even caused the accident so you would have a chance to meet.

Everything was going fine and the instructor was walking around the room encouraging, pointing out things we should or shouldn’t do,  until he came up to the woman and everything got really quiet.  Her face was all red and she seemed to be spending an inordinate amount of time clearing the mouth of her dummy.  Her finger was actually stuck in there.  The instructor had to perform a fingerectomy and he just got her free when we heard him gasp and shout at the woman,  “You lost your gum in his mouth didn’t you?  DIDN’T YOU???”  She kept insisting she hadn’t.  He tried to grab the dummy and she grabbed it back.  They were tug-of-warring back and forth.  He was trying to walk away with the dummy but she would not let go so he kind of had the dummy underneath the arms and she was holding onto the waist and he was pulling one way and she the other.  He eventually ended up dragging her across the floor.  She got some awful rug burns before she finally let go.   There was smoke and everything.

The instructor was shaking the dummy and holding it up and listening to it and you could hear this “clunk clunk” inside the chest.  He turned it over and was thumping it on the back and doing the Heimlich manoeuvre again and nothing.  I thought perhaps the dummy might have inhaled a piece of metal from the car crash he was in but no, the instructor said it was gum and the dummy was permanently contaminated and ruined!!

I think he forgot that we are just first aid people, NOT doctors, and we are supposed to refrain from making any type of medical diagnosis, not even if we have dozen of friends who had the exact same thing happen to them and we are pretty sure we know what is going on.

He looked around the class.  Several of the other employees were gathered around the woman where she had crumpled on the rug.  They were wrapping her floor burns and practicing other first aid techniques like putting her arm in a sling, splintering her leg and getting a hollowed pen ready to do an emergency intubation in the neck.  I think someone had gone to fetch the jaws of life.  One lady was stitching the hem of her dress … best to focus on your area of expertise when you have so many helpful hands.

I was practicing French kissing with my dummy.

The instructor lost it and kicked us all out without any certificate for the course or anything.  He took his dummies and went home and we never had any more first aid courses, ever.  Evidently our office was banned by First Aid Canada.  They said we had killed all the dummies.

I didn’t think any of those dummies had much of a chance of making it anyway.   You kind of get a nose for that kind of thing.    They should be looking for the guy who caused the accident and not blaming us good Samaritans who took the time to stop and try to help them even though we knew it was a lost cause.  Most of them had already lost their arms and legs anyway.  At least they had someone with them when they passed and didn’t die all alone in the middle of the conference room.

Government Assistance and The War We Wage Against Each Other.

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According to the Courier Mail, the Australian Government has another proposal to cut welfare payments. (see article here) I applaud the government’s efforts to look at everything and see where we can cut costs.  I applaud their seeming commitment to the idea that the solution has to help people, not just dump them and leave them off worse than before.  I admire that about the Australians, they seem to think a bit more before they jump, or at least make an effort to see the whole picture.

What irritates me is the immediate discussion that ensues where people use their own anecdotal situations as proof that everyone else could/should be able to do the same as they did.  Someone states that  they have a disability  and when offered, they refused government assistance and went out and worked 3 menial jobs just to be able to buy bread and they are happy.  Good for you.  YOU are not everyone else.

1.  Stop thinking your life and your experience is relative to the entire world.  It is just one example of one way among billions of differing ways.

You have people who immediately want you to know that everyone/most of the people on welfare or with a disability are bludgeoning the system.  They again, can tell you that they see these people applying for jobs all the time, inferring they know everyone/most of the people on welfare or with a disability.  They insist that they know of jobs that are available and so the person who says they cannot find work is lying and just lazy.

2.  You can’t possibly know more than a mere point percentage of the people who are on welfare and no-one should take your limited experience with a handful of people, for a few moments on a given day, as proof that you are capable of completely evaluating a single human being, let alone the entire group, to the point you can speak to who they are and what their intent is.

You have people who insist people on welfare abuse the monies given to them.  They see them “all the time” buying alcohol and cigarettes and they know they are doing drugs.  They see them buying crap in the grocery store.  They insist they can’t afford ice cream and so neither should anyone on government assistance.

 3.  Please see number 2, same applies. 

You have people who insist all those who are on welfare. are overweight, lazy, wanting a free ride to play games all day. They are drug dealers and criminals and are probably responsible for every crime and wrong doing that happens in our neighbourhoods.

 4.  Please see number 2, same applies.

I have no doubt that there are people out there on benefits who do exactly what these people have observed but I am not willing to accept even the anecdotal evidence to be true because, just like I do not know the people we are talking about, I do not know the person judging and have no reason to believe them any more than I do the recipients.

I don’t know what the situation is.  I am not on welfare.  I don’t have a disability.

I do know that sometimes when people cannot afford television or trips to the theme parks at the Gold Coast that “ice cream” might be the biggest thing that happens in their life.  It might be a treat they allow the children a couple times a month.  That is just as possible as is the idea that they eat it all the time when there are healthier choices. Food is incredibly personal and has a whole range of meanings for us that don’t always have to do with health.  When people are not at the top of their game food can be a source of comfort and self medication.  I see complete irony in complaining they buy drugs and then complaining they are buying food.  It makes me think the point is just to complain.   In those comments condemning them I hear people telling me that they would be happier if these people simply did not exist.  The fact they do exist, the fact we have to see them, makes them angry.  That concerns me more about the people complaining than it does about the supposed assistance “abusers.”

I have compassion for my fellow human being which includes a  sense of responsibility to help and care for those that need help and care.  I know that when things fall apart in a person’s life it is difficult to find coping methods and have the sense of self esteem that allows one to get out there and change their circumstances.  I know that one of the biggest hurdles to that self esteem are the people who stand and judge them without ever knowing them and who paint them with broad strokes of their limited experiences.

I also know that people get stuck and sometimes it is easier to throw money at a problem than it is to roll up our sleeves and actively engage with people in a way that addresses the source of the problem.

I know that we cannot go on supporting growing numbers of the unemployed and it concerns me that it is growing and I want to know why and understand how we can all contribute to a better outcome for future generations.  I may not be able to do much for the whole country but I can have an impact on my own family and friends and if each of us would do just that . . . problem solved.

We have to stop looking to the government to give us magic answers and we have to stop the adversarial position of just attacking any idea that is put forward or from getting carried away with our anger over the problem and doing really destructive things … for us and our country.    We have to start working together, taking responsibility for both the problem and the solution.

Identifying the problem is not placing blame, it is identifying those areas we need to work on and improve.  Can we stop the “us” and “them” and realize there is just “we.”  We have to look at this, understand it, change it, heal it.

We can do it.

But not if we are going to put our energy solely into name calling and further marginalizing a whole segment of society that is already marginalized.  When a natural disaster happens no-one bothers with who might have “deserved” the losses or the damage they suffered.  We just start pulling people from the debris.  The sorting out of what happened and why and how it can be prevented is another discussion to be had when all the fact are in and we are calm enough to sit and think of what can be done.

The problem is the enemy.  Not the people.  Perhaps the greatest thing we can all do to start this ball rolling is to take down the wall we have put between “us” and “them.”  We are all just human beings, none of us perfect, none of us doing all the right things that we can sit and judge others and none of us really having any idea what that person next door, on welfare, or a millionaire, is about or what they have been through.  So let’s stop the fighting and start the healing.

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Out Foxed but Never Out Played.

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I went to some lovely Botanical Gardens the other day and took the grand children for a nature walk to explore.  Their mother decided to attend with us so off we went planning on a great adventure.   Among the beautiful flowers and plants were delightful art pieces with whimsy and colour, unexpected lagoons …. and 50 million screaming flying foxes.

Oh wait, 50 million screaming flying foxes AND their feces all over the place.  They were everywhere we looked.  Their guano was dripping off of the trees, signs, plants … and covered the foot path.  Despite the fact their guano is supposedly easily cleaned up with water, apparently the position of flying fox guano remover was currently still open, and had been for some time.  Protection agencies like to tell you that the whole story about guano taking the paint off houses and cars is just a “myth.”  They cover that with blaming the paint if someone has proof.  The bottom line, you are never ever going to win the argument.
No outrage is allowed for the people who slaved for years to present a work of love and beauty, or for the people who want to attend a beautiful park on a lazy Sunday afternoon, the flying foxes are protected.  It doesn’t matter that  they take over wherever they go and destroy everything with their guano.
In the words of the children, “oooooh!”  and, “they stink.”   The guano was not the only reason for the stink.  They also like to mark their territory with their own distinct gland secretions, used to attract females, and the young have their own unique odors that attracts their moms.  In other words 50 bazillion different stinky odors all blending with the guano.  “Yes children they DO stink.”   My ears were bleeding from the noise as we had no choice but to walk under the trees where dozens of them squirmed and writhed.  We tried to choose pathways leading away but soon found ourselves in flying fox hell with each path leading us further into the darkness.
The children’s mother told me “don’t let them touch you because they carry some serious diseases.”
Ok, on what planet do I look like I would let any of them close enough to “touch me?”
I asked her, “well they avoid people don’t they?”   I think I was whimpering a bit, I didn’t even care if it frightened the children.
“Oh mainly ya, but sometimes they fly and get stuck in long hair.”
I grabbed my hair flying in the wind and pinned it up with spit and dirt and wooden twigs I found on the ground.  I jammed the twigs into my head and hoped they could not smell blood.
I could read.  They had huge signs everywhere stating if you come into contact with them you could die of a couple of deadly diseases but hey look, aren’t they cute, don’t you want to cuddle them?  Please refrain from doing so.  I tried to picture in my head of a sane person running to cuddle them but having to be restrained.  I tried to picture them in my mind between the baby bunnies and the baby puppies, all cute and cuddly but that ended with the foxes flying off screeching with laughter leaving the ground littered with fuzzy little lifeless bodies.
I “refrained” quite easily.
But then I did more.
I ran.
There is simply not enough fuzzy to compensate for the naked skinned wings …. (not sure how I am typing this when my whole body is shuddering.)
This is the insanity of the world we are living in.  Let the disease ridden animals take over and protect them at all costs.  Let the humans die.
I am not going down without a fight.  I will fight the animals for my right to live and breathe and smell botanical flowers.  I am not afraid of scary animals.
I am pretty confident I can take a fluffy bunny … or maybe a kitty.

The Canadian and the Australia Weather Savant, Cyclone Marcia Post Four.

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The Sunshine Coast RACQ CareFlight Rescue crew has taken these photographs while on a mission to airlift a patient from Gympie Hospital this morning.  (See story in Gympie Times)

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And now for the flooding. ABC news re:  Gympie.

Well we are flooded in.  Both bridges are out.  We are staying put until a later date.

Everything is good, despite not having any milk to drink.

Meanwhile I have seen people in other communities on the news who are greatly relieved the stores are open so they can go shopping, “supplies were getting low.” If other people actually consume that much food and milk overnight that being unable to shop for one day puts them in peril . . . I apologize.  Our groceries and milk last us for days and at any given time we have more than enough food to outlast a couple weeks without a store easily and much longer with a limited menu.

I cannot believe how bad some communities have been hit, and once again people just get on with the business of cleaning up and rebuilding – which often takes months of hard work.  As I said, the Australians are a remarkable people.   Their homes might be going down but there is always someone out there taking advantage of the great waves.

Hubby is disappointed the water has completely receded in the back yard.  He got a kayak for Christmas and has only been able to practice in the swimming pool thus far.  Stroke, turn the boat around, stroke, turn the boat around ….  He could have taken it in while the water was there but he said he would have had to keep batting the water dragons out of the way.  They had taken over the lake.

I did tell him I could cause more flooding.  I did it once before and I could do it again.  I had a landlord once where the house got flooded.  When I phoned to tell him we had to abandon the house for our own safety, he phoned the neighbour to see if it was true and everyone was flooded, or whether I was just out there with the hose causing water damage to his property.  I guess in his world people do that kind of thing.  I am always impressed with the super powers some people think other people have.  I am Flood  Woman, able to divert an entire river to take out most of a south end of a province in a single bound.

Anyway I survived an Australian Cyclone.

Now I am locked in with the neighbours.  The same neighbours who stand in the trees and spy on us at night.  Thank heavens we did not lose the electricity or we might have had to stand in the trees to spy on them.  And then, what if we ran into each other . . .  in the trees . . . spying on each other?  Would we actually have to speak to one another?  And who would get whose cooties first?  I don’t think we even have a bike stand to meet them at for the big rumble that would have to ensue.  Rumbling might be prohibited under the flooding laws, I am not sure.  We could probably ensue but not rumble.  I think rumbling is up there with looting and I have already been in most of the neighbours houses at night when they have been sleeping and there isn’t really anything there worth looting.

The illegal rabbits some idiot had and let loose, who now inhabit our yard, are lying around like they own the place. They obviously know the council could not get over here to trap them, at least not for the next couple of days.   People are wandering in off the road for photos.  I am pretending it is life as normal which is fairly easy when you close your eyes, or put the head phones on and turn up the volume.  Hubby finally cleaned out his office and found all the things I told him were in his office but it would take a natural disaster for anyone to find anything in there.  He has real potential for that TV Show about hoarding if he puts his mind to it. Meanwhile I got to do the “I told you so” look complete with eye movements, shoulder shrugs, and dismissive walking away routine.

So thanks folks, you can put the prayer beads away, and the plastic dashboard Jesus, Buddha and hula girl.  It’s all over.  Hubby has measured the rain, searched the skies, let the guys know they should be good to golf tomorrow, although the buggies won’t be allowed for a couple more days, and let everyone know we won’t be having any rain for the next few days. I am mopping his fervoured little savant brow as I type this.  I am gifted remember.  Being a weather savant is hard yakka. We will wade on outta here as soon as the water goes down.  Until next time … take care!

You might also like in this series:

Part One.

Part Two.

Related News.  The Worms

Part Three

The Canadian and the Australia Weather Savant, Cyclone Marcia Post Three.

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Well we survived the night without incident.  Even the weather savant dude who shares my bed had a pretty uneventful night.  At least he did not wake me up with more weather predictions.

It rained.

And then it rained some more.

And then someone (rhymes with “key”)  got up and found out someone else (rhymes with ‘heather bouffant rude’) had left the bathroom window open.  I found out because ice cold water up to the ankles when you are limping through to find the toilet is quite an eye opener. So someone (the “key” rhyme-ee) had to mop up in the dark and swear under her breath.  Good thing I have incredibly well developed lungs.

(perhaps you and the rest of the office people gathered around to read this important news should stop a moment and hug one another.  Reflect on your loved ones and how grateful you are that you have an ordinary spouse and not a savant like mine … life is precious.  Yes, of course Bic lighters are completely appropriate at moments like this.)

I lay awake worrying that I had written a flippant post about filling the shoes of One Direction, should they be cut off from civilization for awhile with the storm, and that if something terrible actually happened to them I would become an instant, overnight internet virus.  I have always dreamed of going viral … I am trying to say that so I sound hip and aware but realize the fact I just typed “hip and aware” is probably a dead giveaway that I am a bold face liar.  Everyone is supposed to be engaged in a constant daily effort to do something, caught on film, that could be uploaded to You Tube and suddenly they would be pronounced awesome.   No-one bothers with “I want my son or daughter to be a doctor” anymore.  We want viral kids.

I could see A Current Affair surrounding the house wanting to know how I could be so flip and cruel in the face of such a disaster and pre-pubescent girls everywhere would want to kill me.  I couldn’t sleep.

I awoke this morning to the pics you see here.  Actually that is also a lie.  I awoke to complete darkness because for some reason, since my retirement, and my long anticipated dream of being able to sleep in as long as I want, I wake up at 4:30 AM every morning, wanting to paint walls, bake bread, and write a novel.  So finally, proof we lose our marbles as we age.

It was too dark to take a picture so I had to wait for the dawn.

Then I did what any committed reported does.  I put myself in the direct line of danger.  I went out in the rain, armed with an umbrella and the highest shoes I could find to keep my feet from ever touching the ground.  I could not risk my feet coming into contact with any of the freaking worms that are everywhere.  I certainly hope, come Armageddon that the cockroaches take them out first.

I got the pictures.

The neighbours were pointing out their windows at the crazy lady with the umbrella and the camera out in the middle of the cyclone, standing on the edge of the pool snapping pictures.  I saw the shake their heads and mouth “Canadian” to one another.   I turned and waved … until I remembered I forgot to get dressed and during the night, when the whole flooded bathroom thing happened, my nightie got soaked and I had to take it off.  Hard to juggle protective hands, umbrella, camera, running feet.

Sometimes natural disasters like these provide unexpected moments that allow us to bond with complete  strangers neighbours strangers.

I tried to race back to the door as fast as I could . . . and then my shoe fell apart and my barefoot touched concrete and I had to dance and hop my way through the worms screaming.  I still have no idea how I made it into the house alive.

This whole worm thing is not funny anymore.

And as for the cyclone, well the one bridge is under, we are waiting to see what else happens.

Meanwhile in other news, the people of Gympie are waking up to the flooding around town, and sipping milk while they decide what to do next.

Bastards.

(that is not a bad word here in Australia, will the Canadian people just home from church please sit down and remain calm)

right back yard 6AM 21 02 2015

left back yard 6AM 21 02 2015

You might also like in this series:

Part One.

Part Two.

Related News.  The Worms

The Canadian and the Australia Weather Savant, Cyclone Marcia Related News, The Worms.

Worms

Having been relegated to staying off my feet, I find myself in a very uncomfortable position of having to ask for help.

After explaining to someone that I have been in agonizing pain since December 23rd and was unable to get out of the vehicle to come to their front door, they came down to see me.  Their comment was, after the hug, “what’s wrong, you don’t look very cheerful.?”

I admit I was at a loss as to what to say being as they had just been told I was on my way to another specialist and was in excruciating pain, AND drugged out of my mind with heavy duty pain killers.

“I’m sorry.  Forgive me forgetting my role in life is to cheer you up. What was I thinking?  I forgot it is all about you.  Knock knock …”

I am grumpy, and miserable.

Hubby is trying make it easier on me.  He just stopped by my room to ask if I needed anything.  Isn’t he sweet?

“World peace,” of course that goes without saying but I always say it.  The one time that I don’t will be the time they hand out the crown BECAUSE, although it was close, the other girl mentioned world peace and I didn’t.”

“Anything else?”

“Yes, the worms.”

“The worms?”

“I know there is a cyclone coming and all God’s creatures matter but I was praying for the birds last night, NOT the worms.  I don’t like that God is trying to cheer me up with sick humour.  It isn’t funny.”

“They can’t get into the house.”  I know he rolled his eyes.  I could hear it in his voice.  He thinks I am being ridiculous and over-reacting.  But I am not.

You see what I don’t get is how the worms all managed to climb out of the earth and make it to the patio and then get into the garage and make it almost all the way to the inner door.  Where do they think they are going?  More importantly how can my hubby not see it?  They aren’t just out on a worm strolling loop that just HAPPENS to take them up to our back door and our inner garage door. This is an all out assault.

I am concerned about how they got the garage door opener out of the vehicle and opened the garage door so they could get in, without us hearing anything.  Worms are nowhere near as dumb or innocent as they look.  They either planned it all and probably drugged our food so we slept through the whole thing OR they do emit a high frequency electrical impulse that is not only working to take over our minds, but can operated remote controls … remotely.

“I take it you want me to put them back in the yard?”

“No.”

“They could come back.”

“I want you to kill them.”

“World Peace . . . ?”

“If they can’t swim they have no business being in the ground. Where do they think the water that falls from the sky is going to go?  If they are just taking advantage of the fact the birds are all hiding because of the cyclone, they are not to be trusted.  They will clearly make their move whenever given the chance.”

“I suppose if they get in the house you could step on one and slip and fall and then I would be to blame.”

“No, you would be dead.  That is what happens to bystanders, even the innocent ones, should a worm ever touch my foot.”

My hubby went to get the worms.  Then I asked him if he could drive me by our friends house so she could come out and see me again.  I bet I look much more cheerful now.  De-worming does that for a girl.

You might also like in this series:

Part One.

Part Two.