First Aiders

At least I had a first aid kit!

My good deed for this week, assisting an elderly gentleman who passed out while waiting for a bus. I had dropped Nina, my wife, off at the health food store and I was waiting in my car, practising the harmonica. Tongue blocking and lip pursing the blues scale.

I noticed a man with a large backpack walk in front of my car; he was on the sidewalk. I was in a parking lot in front of a store facing the main street. The man was heading for the bus stop. I ignored him and continued my blues harp practice.

I lifted my head up to wail and I noticed the man was gone. A little scan of the area and I can see his feet just on top of the curb. The rest of his body was crumpled up on the road. I rushed over to see how the man was doing. At the same time, two other men, good samaritans, were also rushing to the scene; they had been across the road in their truck, a flatbed truck with welding equipment in evidence.

The general consensus was this man was not responding. His eyes were open but he looked dazed and he was not able to move or speak. The three of us agreed that we should call for an ambulance. I had grabbed my cell phone on the way over and put in the call for 911, but before I could press send; the good samaritans indicated a police car was coming. I turned and noticed the police car cruising up the road behind me, emergency lights flashing. The police cruiser pulled up next to me and came to a stop.

The police officer asked me if the ambulance was on route and I told him I had not completed the call. So he made the call through his central dispatcher. We informed the officer what we had seen and where we responded. The officer made his own inspection of the fallen individual. The man had hit the back of his head on the pavement when he fell down and his head was bleeding. I asked if he wanted to put a compression bandage on his head.

“You have one of those,” he asked?

I told him I would have one in my first aid kit in my car. I am quite sure he would have had a first aid kit as well but might have needed to complete an incident report the size of a book if he utilized it.

My kit was located and I brought it back to the scene. The two good samaritans had managed to stand the injured man up. He was unsteady and could not stand on his own. I gave the compress, a triangle sling, to the officer; my kit was missing neoprene gloves. I had used them on another first aid mission. The head injury did not look too bad but it was still bleeding.

The officer put his neoprene gloves on an applied pressure to the wound.  The injured man could not or would not speak, he just nodded his head when asked if he could speak English.

Another police car arrived, lights flashing. The first officer asked the arriving officer to check on the paramedics.

“Find out what state they’re coming from,” he asked his officer associate?

Nina arrived back at my car and I asked if I could be excused; it seemed to me that the police officers had everything under control.

The original officer thanked me for my help. He also checked the head wound and found it had stopped bleeding. I felt like he wanted to give me back the compress as it was no longer required.

“I probably have a plastic bag in the car I can put that in. I’ll deposit it in the garbage later,” I told the officer reluctantly.

Thankfully he declined my offer. he mentioned the ambulance could dispose of it properly. Good, I thought. I really did not want to touch a bloody compress with my bare hands. I must remember to put gloves in the first aid kit. Very important in these days of highly infectious germs.

I got to the car and Nina was off on another mission to a different store. I waited in the car and watched the procedure. Finally, the ambulance arrived, lights flashing and siren wailing. I guesstimate it took twenty minutes.

The injured man was led into the ambulance. Another twenty to thirty minutes and he was led out of the ambulance with a huge gauze bandage on his head; gauze wrapped around his head, leaving his eyes and his cloth mask visible. There was a large pad over the wound, the gauze held the pad in place.

The first officer on the scene led the injured man to his police cruiser and helped him into the back seat along with his backpack in tow.

I really don’t know what that was all about. It could be a number of things. For sure the individual did not require a trip to the hospital. I was pleased on that front. I hoped that the officer was going to drive the injured man home. In my mind, that’s what was happening.

I still had not seen a bus on the street. This was not a very busy street and the only reason the police were in the neighbourhood was to direct traffic around a fallen wire.

My first aid had come in handy, or at least my first aid kit. That’s one of the things they tell you about at the first aid course. Make sure you have a quality first aid kit and keep it updated.

On the subject of a first aid course, I recommend everyone take the standard first aid and CPR course. My certificate is coming up for renewal this December. Due to the Pandemic, it’s been extended through the end of  January 2021.