Thursday, August 10

Bottling Out

There we were, commuters on a crowded train, somewhere between Chancery Lane and Holborn. I had my heads on, trying unsuccessfully to catch a few winks before reaching work.

"Does anyone know first aid?" someone asked all of a sudden. Looking up, I saw a bit of a commotion one set of doors away. Without hesitation, I jumped to the rescue. I saved the girl and carried her out of the train at the next stop to the cheer of a admiring crowd and random back pattings. I even caught a smile from a random pretty Asian girl. Hooray!

Except that's not quite what happened. Let's rewind a bit.

"Does anyone know first aid?" someone asked all of a sudden. Looking up, I saw a bit of a commotion one set of doors away. And then I froze. I mean I did know first aid, or at the very least I had attended a class around two years ago (or so I thought at the time. Checking my blog now it was actually, rather shamefully, just the one), but I had no idea what I was supposed to do on the day.

I vaguely remember something about the recovery position and possibly even CPR, but ideas plagued my mind about her in trouble being better off without my "help". And of course there was the whole issue of FAILING in front of so many people. Yes folks: this was all about me and not some poor girl collapsing on the Central Line.

So I remained where I was, debating with myself on what to do. And to be fair I was leaning towards getting over myself and going to see what I could do (even though, potentially, people would wonder why it took me so long to do so). Even if I wasn't confident I did have more experience than the others present (assuming they were indeed untrained and not being as cowardly as I was), and what little I knew may have helped. But by then it was too late - thankfully the same person who shouted the initial request for help was now informing us that the girl was alright and how everything was now ok.

Half of me breathed a sigh of relief. The other half was kicking itself for being such a pussy. Thinking about it I didn't really need to do much - she was conscious, so it was just a matter of making her as comfortable as possible and possibly even checking her pulse. Not much is ever expected of a first aider, and even the best would have had to request more help at the next stop. Hindsight really is a bitch y'know.

Now, I don't mind not being able to help. I don't mind being unequipped for a task, a useless bystander or even forgetting my training. However, not being able to step up is a behaviour I've criticised others for and is something I thought I had rid myself of a long time ago. It seems that that's not quite the case, and instead of writing a blog about how heroic and manly I am I've ended up having to do the the opposite. Jeez. It's still about me.

But perhaps some good can come out of this whole thing. I'm now going to arrange a time with my fellow first aiders and have a bit of a refresher to get some of that confidence back. And luckily, although first aid wasn't really required on this occasion, it could be vital the next time. And if I happen to be in a position to help at that time I'll most certainly do my best to do whatever I can; I mean it's the least I can do in order to redeem myself for today's failure.