Tag Archives: opportunity

Staying Alive

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Hello there, you valuable member of society!  How’s it going?

Yesterday was my first in a two-day training course in paediatric first aid (or PFA for those in the know, darling).  It’s a strange experience, because it combines something incredibly important and worth knowing (i.e. how to save a life.  Thank you, The Fray) with something quite amusing: twelve strangers in a room spending all day pretending to resuscitate the world’s creepiest doll.

First aid is truly vital, and ordinary members of the public save lives all the time by knowing its procedures.  I am truly grateful to have this opportunity to learn more about it, and I only hope that if I am ever in a situation where I need to use my newly-found skills, I will be able to stay calm enough to remember what the heck I’m supposed to do.  Having said that, yesterday’s training gave me several moments of amusement, and I would like to share a few of them with you.

Firstly, the trainer was a lovely woman who was clearly very passionate about her work, but she was also pretty odd.  For example, she was explaining the importance of sensory perception when approaching a patient: “what can you see?  Blood, perhaps?  What can you hear?  Is their breathing a bit shallow or too quick?  What can you smell?  Maybe they’ve been sick.  What can you feel?  Are there any swellings or possible broken bones?”  All very sane and sensible advice, you might think.  Absolutely.  But the poor woman ruined her point by adding in the serious, long-suffering tones of someone who has genuinely had to deal with this scenario before, “Not taste, though.  That’s the only sense you mustn’t use.  Never taste your patient.”

Secondly, as you may already know, current thinking on CPR is that you should give thirty chest compressions followed by two rescue breaths, and the compressions should be in a tempo of 100-120 compressions per minute.  Roughly speaking, this is a similar tempo to the Bee Gee’s hit Stayin’ Alive, which is a bit tongue in cheek, but makes it pretty memorable.  The only problem with this handy hint was that every single person in yesterday’s training session almost failed the CPR section, purely because we kept humming the song to ourselves and losing count of how many compressions we’d done.

Last but by no means least, our trainer was also one of those people who has some verbal peculiarities.  Some of them are the kind that would usually drive me up the wall, such as saying “pacific” when she meant “specific”.  However, there was one oddity that endeared her to me forever: when lecturing us on the importance of abdominal thrusts (also known as the Heimlich Manoeuvre),  she kept referring to them as “abominable thrusts”.  I am ashamed to say that I had to excuse myself more than once to go and have a giggle in the corridor.

So, having unsuccessfully reassured you that I’m mature enough to save lives, I will go back for a second day of training and hope for better things.  You have yourself a merry little Wednesday.

Deliver Us to Temptation

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Good morning, you gorgeous creature!  How was your bank holiday weekend?

Today I’d like to have a chat about temptation and what it means to each of us.  To a married person it might mean avoiding the temptation to flirt with an attractive stranger; to a student it could be staying home to revise on a Saturday night.  To a lot of Londoners it’s deciding not to push tourists down the escalators, and for pretty much everyone it’s not kicking your television in when Simon Cowell makes an appearance on it.

Being tempted in any sense is a bit of an ordeal, because it combines two juxtaposing things: the opportunity to have something that we want, and the anticipation of impending doom.  It’s lovely to imagine obtaining something that would make us happy, but the key is to remember that that happiness would only be fleeting.  The person on a strict diet is only happy for as long as takes to consume a doughnut, and the recovering alcoholic who falls off the wagon will only have their hangover as a souvenir of the fun times.  Greatness comes before a fall, look before you leap and bad things come to those who just can’t wait.

The key to successfully defeating temptation is, bizarrely, not to avoid it.  Repeatedly facing temptation makes us better at seeing it for what it is: a very temporary sensation that would have catastrophic effects in the long run.  Not many people have the clear-sightedness to see past the moment of temptation, but the more times we come up against these moments, the better we become at looking beyond them.  George Bernard Shaw said, “virtue is insufficient temptation”, but I think virtue is actually temptation that got bored and was eventually forced to leave us alone.  We won’t become people we are proud of by avoiding the things that could ruin us: we become those people by standing up to our demons and saying “bog off, demons.  I’ve got better things to do.”

Speaking of which, have a glorious Tuesday.  I hope you tick lots of things off your to do list.

Pointless Preparation

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Hello, dear reader!  How are you getting on?

I admit that I’m a control freak (although we prefer the term “relaxationally challenged”).  It probably explains why I like directing so much, and why I enjoyed being the social secretary of a drama society when I was at university.  I like to know where I’m going, what I’m doing and when.  Unfortunately I’m not very organised, so despite my best intentions I very rarely have a clue what on earth is going on.

This weekend is a perfect example.  I have to be in several different places over the course of a few days, and I have not yet figured out transport, timings or how much clothing to pack.  (While we’re at it, what the heck have I done with my suitcase?)  One of the places I have to be is a television studio in Elstree, because tomorrow Ash and I will finally be going on Pointless.

I am, if I may use the common parlance, pooing myself a bit.  I know that this brilliant opportunity has been on the cards for a while, but because there were so many dates that Ash and I couldn’t do I sort of convinced myself that it wasn’t really going to happen.  Except now it is.  Oh crap.  I mean, oh good.

In this situation the only control I have is over my last-minute revision.  I should be poring over a map of the world learning all the countries that border Germany, or finding lists of obscure films featuring Sandra Bullock.  I will probably do both of those things later.  This morning my plan is to write this blog, dye my roots and find my favourite nail varnish.  I have never been one for sensible prioritising (or being able to find suitcases, apparently).

I think that a lot of people have this problem: when we are worried about something, we deliberately under-prepare for it so that we can always claim “well, I didn’t try very hard” if we fail.  It’s a philosophy that got me a very mixed bag of GCSE results, but given that I am knocking on twenty-five I should probably have grown out of that approach by now.

It’s a bit late at this stage to do any serious learning, but I promise I will try.  It might be too late to change my personality and become sensible, well-prepared and knowledgeable, but at times like this we have to stay optimistic.  You never know what you can achieve if you try, even just a little bit.

Ash and I have to be at the studio appallingly early tomorrow, so I will update you lovely people on our progress when we’ve finished recording.  Wish us luck!

Have a fantastic Thursday.

P.S. Ash just called me to tell that the Piccadilly line is on fire.  This does not bode well…