We woke up this morning to the sound of crystalized rain smacking against our windows. The weather man finally had decided to keep his promise and the trees and windshields of the cars were glazed with a thick icy crust. I had my First aid course which they decided would and should go ahead. By the time I arrived downtown the freezing rain and ice pellets had turned to snow. The visibility was terrible and the tires on my little car slipped and slided as I poked my way along.
It was surprising to see the snow mounded cars and 1/2 ton trucks parked at the Lion’s Centre where the course was being held. I circled twice looking for an appropriate parking space. When I entered the building a sign announced “First Aid Course upstairs- room 2A”. I headed up the stairs and noted 2B at the top. Glancing to my left I saw a room full of men! Catching one of their eyes I asked “is this where the first aid course is?” Smugly he replied “well it is the only other room up here and there are people in it so- yeah!”
It seemed surreal at first glance- four men lay on floor mats and four stood at their heads. An audience of 2 others as well as two instructors congregated around the mats. WHOA!
“I am kinda outnumbered aren’t I?? Are there any other women here?” I glanced around the room and noted the amused smiles of the men. Ok…there was one other woman up in the corner by a table. I made a beeline to her and asked if the chair beside her was available. I placed my purse on the chair and headed to the men and the mats.
I was not comfortable but focused on the ABC’s of First Aid and remembered a lot of what was being said from previous learning in First Aid. This was a refresher for me. The men role played- pretending to check for obstructions in the airway, the skin for color and ran their hands down the sides of the men on the mat for any show of blood pooling.
“Okay switch places. Those on the mats be the First Aider and those who are doing the First Aid be the victims” They finished their role playing and we went back to another short video clip. This one involved first aid when the patient feels faint and a shop clerk eases the gentleman gently onto the floor. Subsequently the gentleman becomes unconscious. They show how to make him comfortable and roll him onto a blanket. Ok…
“Time to role play” the instructor announces and we move to the mats. “I want only those who haven’t done any of this before to be the first aider and another on the mat”.
I looked around desperately for the only other female in the building but she was nowhere to be seen! Huh? I stood with the room of a gazillion men dressed in work pants and shirts- several of them were from the same job place- and grit my teeth and walked over to a mat that held what looked like a “safe” male. After I had settled I noted a door in the hallway opening and the other female came out of the washroom. She was probably younger than I am but she looked 110. She was thin and haggard. Coming into the room she knelt down beside the male on the first mat. Sigh…it would have been so much easier if she hadn’t been in the washroom!!
I know I saw smiles and smirks between the men. I wished I had worn a sack bag instead of dressed tastefully in a nice sweater and slacks. It was time to tip the man’s head back and check his breathing. I had chosen the man with absolutely no chin and no neck! Where was I to put my finger?? I managed. I even steeled my jaw and ran my hands up and down his arms and legs. I can be professional but I am not DUMB! These guys work together ALL the time and laugh and joke and were getting a great charge out of this whole scenario! Not me…I was mortified!
It was time for me to be the victim. To lay on the mat. I glanced at the woman beside me. She would just meld with the mat- she would even be unnoticeable laying on a mat…I looked down at myself, and the mountainous area between my shoulders and belly button and again wished that I could like the other female present JUST disappear into the mat. But I knew that wasn’t possible. I noticed as I lay down the male standing by the foot of my mat smirking and grinning at the man who was to be my first aider. Gritting my teeth I slid down on the mat. I felt as if I was too far down and moved back up. I was so mortified. I closed my eyes and just let the First Aider do his thing. Finally the torture was over and as I stood the guy who had been smirking and grinning said “there you did it!” Was it that obvious?
Then the instructor left the room as we did our first end of the chapter test. I poured myself into it as I really didn’t want to socialize. I felt so out of place. The woman beside me obviously didn’t mind.
The instructor came in to tell us that the building could close at any time and our course would be over for the day. We could reschedule but regardless we had to start at 8:30 and the beginning no matter where we were when the course was interrupted by the storm. I expressed my concerns and that I lived quite a way out of town. He graciously told all of us we could go. I stood to leave and as I reached the back the smirky grinny guy asked me where I lived and started making small talk…I really just wanted to get out of there! I am not sure what he wanted.
I don’t think I overreacted. Every other time I took the course it was with a room full of women from childcare. I made it home safe…not sure about sound and was able to reschedule for two weeks away. Oh well…who says First Aid courses are boring anyway?