Saturday, 17 October 2015

First Aid

Sometime in early August, I was called back to the office in the middle of conducting monitoring visits. Reason - I'd been selected to undergo first aid training at the West African Rescue Association.  I liked the idea and I must say I enjoyed the training. I came back feeling ready to save any life especially through CPR.
A little over two hours ago, on my way back from the same monitoring visits I'd been recalled from, somewhere before Nkonya in the Volta Region, there was this gentleman dressed in Electricity Company of Ghana overalls by the side of the road. He was furiously flagging down our car. We stopped. He was standing by an ECG truck. He managed to tell us that two of his colleagues had been electrocuted and will need assistance in being conveyed to the hospital.  The fact that their own company had turned the power on while they were working is worth mentioning.

I was scared. As he went to bring them, we began to make room in the car. I was seated alone behind. I was getting more scared.  I kept wondering if I was going to end up having to be in such close proximity with someone who's probably already dead. I however knew there was no way we could drive away because of fear. Earlier in the trip, we'd been stopped by a man who wanted a lift as part of his journey to Hohoe. We told him we were on official assignment and so couldn't offer him a ride. I felt so terrible as we drove off, but there was not much I could do about that.
This situation was however different. It'll take the devil himself to drive away from such a situation with the excuse of being on official assignment.

The first of the victims was responsive as I could tell he was aware of his surroundings. The second, was unresponsive. As the guy struggled to get the second unresponsive victim into our car, I knew his chances of making it alive to the hospital were dwindling. I asked him to put the guy down on the ground and I jumped out to start giving chest compressions. I hadn't even thought about the fact that I'd have to give mouth to mouth resuscitation to someone I didn't know. By the time I was nearing 30 compressions,  another gentleman was by my side whom I think was part of the ECG team. I instructed him on how to do the mouth to mouth which he did. I continued with the compressions but I was getting scared and I felt my compressions were not strong enough although I noticed a little responsiveness as the compressions went on. I showed my boss how to do it and handed over to him as I reached for my first aid handbook from my bag, flipping through to see if there was any other thing I should be doing.
By this point, I was a bit in shock myself at this unexpected situation. I flipped through so many times but couldn't figure out what I was looking for.
I rushed back to continue CPR when I noticed he'd been left unattended for a second. I was praying,  compressing,  giving instructions and confused all at once! An empty taxi turned up by this time and the people who'd turned up at the scene all felt we should be transporting him to the hospital. I asked if they were sure he was breathing and the guy giving the mouth to mouth was certain of that. I, because of fear didn't want to to look too closely at the one I was trying to save. I didn't want to find out if he was dead or alive. I felt the best option was to go on with the CPR until he came around fully but I also wanted him to be with the experts within the shortest possible time as I knew there was nothing like an ambulance going to turn up with paramedics. I advised the men to continue attempting CPR in the taxi though it wouldn't be as effective. They sped off to the hospital and we continued our journey.

The first victim had already been sent to the hospital while we were attending to the second.
When we got to a filling station to top up,  a taxi driver approached to ask "what happened to the other guy?"
Apparently, he was the one who transported the first victim.
I kept praying for this guy through the journey till I was confident God had heard and would answer.
I didn't take anybody's contact because I didn't want to hear bad news.... I must confess. I would rather work on the assumption that he made it than face the opposite fact.

We'd planned to set off on our journey at 6am, we ended up leaving around 6:30am. We made an unplanned stop over in one of our intervention communities as well. I've been asking myself if it was all part of a divine plan for us to be at that spot at the time we were because one minute could have made a difference in us missing the guy who flagged us down.

After this experience,  I came out with three resolves:
1. I'm going to make sure my company gets an AED as part of our first aid kit. I'll also look into getting one for personal first aid use.
2. I'm going to work on keeping fit so I wouldn't need a stronger person to assist me if I have to do CPR
3. I'm going to advice all I know to learn the basics of first aid

This experience has shown me how fickle this life is. One minute, you're here going about life. The next, you're treading that thin line between life and death...... Another reminder to live each day as if it were my last. Another reminder that this life I live here is just the dress rehearsal for the real deal - ETERNITY. The big question is, are you reading this, ready for eternity?