For the last 10 years I have supported a wonderful charity – The Warwickshire & Northamptonshire Air Ambulance. I have helped run many corporate charity events, personally ran 5k, 10k and half marathons, all raising much needed cash for the charity. I now also have a standing order from my company account making a monthly charitable donation to this wonderful cause. Is it worth it?- you bet your bottom dollar it is! Today I experienced first hand why it is so important – and as if I needed any re confirmation of the importance of this service, it was all put into reality today.
This afternoon I experienced a life’s first. Something that you always know you may have to do at some point. Something that no matter how much training you receive will never really prepare you completely. Today I had to perform CPR on a gentleman that had collapsed at a clients hotel golf course.
I had been at the hotel, helping out the team with a wedding showcase – a day that I was expecting to be filled completely with excitement and smiley faces. Unfortunately it didn’t necessarily start out that way. Before the showcase, word had got back to the hotel reception that someone required first aid on the 18th hole. Although I had done some first aid courses in the past, I hadn’t got a valid certificate – but said I would wander up that way to see if I could assist the hotel first aider. I didn’t know what I was about to walk in to. Just off the course, there were a group of golfers huddled around a man on the floor. I could hear murmurs of “he’s not breathing” – this was more than a fall over in the ‘rough’. Before too long, there I was assisting the hotel first aider. Adrenaline kicks in. Training course notes go flooding through your mind. Then you’re there! In the thick of it. I have never seen someone looking ‘blue’ before. I had never been that close to someone who has just stopped breathing, and does not have a pulse.
Instinct tells you to keep going – whether you think it’s too late or not. And so we did. We continued. We kept going. We pumped. We reviewed. We pumped. We did not stop. Being only a matter of 10 mile or so from the Air Ambulance base – it was a matter of minutes before that wonderful, powerful sound of the WNAA helicopter came from the skies. It was that moment I felt an enormous amount of pride. I helped in someway put that in the air. I helped them get to this man in the short amount of time from the 999 call. I helped give this man a fighting chance. I knew trained professionals would soon be there.
Soon, a mass of paramedics and doctors (2 from the aircraft!) were next to the man. They took over – CPR, Oxygen, Drips, Adrenaline injections, a Defib – all actioned seamlessly, calmly and yet so very quickly. The professionals got to work. They were not going to give up. Now unfortunately if you were looking for a happy ending to this story, life doesn’t always go the way you would have liked. All the hard work and effort the fabulous medical team did, couldn’t bring this guy back to us. But at least we all gave it a bloody good shot.
Sitting at home now, it’s time to reflect. Could I have done better? Could I have done things differently? Possibly so. But was I there to help, support and give this guy a fighting chance – Yes. If two doctors, a paramedic, a defib and their years of medical experience can’t save someone, then I probably didn’t stand a chance to be honest.
Following on from my last blog about life skills, surely first aid is one that we all need to fight for to be added to the national curriculum. I’m not just talking about half a dozen lessons or so, like you get for Sex Ed. I’m talking proper, on going training, about things that can really make a difference to someone’s life. Yes it’s nice to be able to ask where the nearest library is in French; or to know the square root of 16; or to know who won at the battle of Waterloo – but surely knowing how to save a friend, a loved one or a stranger is a little more rewarding? Just a thought.
I will continue to support the wonderful WNAA charity and the outstanding work the team do. Will you? The charity gets no government funding and relies solely on donations to help it keep in the air. Take a look at their website for more info http://www.wnaa.co.uk/
Now ask yourself? Could you do without one less pint of beer this week? One packet of cigarettes less a month? Half a dozen less take-aways this year? You could – well why not make a pledge to this fantastic charity. I for one hope I will never have to take advantage of their service – but you just never know.
I live my life knowing I will make a difference to someone’s life at some point this year. Thanks for reading guys. Live life to the full.