My day started off like so many others’ around the world yesterday – with breakfast in bed. Made by a 7-year-old that included rather limp and violently buttered toast, a heaping bowl of cereal and biscuits. Vegemite then climbed into bed with me and had breakfast too.
But after that, my day was quite a different kind of Mother’s Day. I did a full day children’s first aid and CPR class.
Now, it sounds very worthy of me, but let me assure you it is not. I had no idea that the date was Mother’s Day when I registered – it was just a free date on the calendar. And I whinged about it to QB when I did find out. So, this wasn’t exactly a self-sacrificing move on my part.
At the same time, I am so pleased that I did it. Although it wasn’t particularly fun to spend my day hearing about all the ways my children can come to harm (the ‘bites and stings’ session alone made me reconsider the wisdom of living in Australia), it was empowering to learn what to do when the worst does happen.
Doing a first aid course – that included CPR for children training – has been on my ‘to do’ list for a long time. Miss Z’s neurologist recommended I get trained some time ago, so frankly it is a bit shameful that it has taken me so long. But Miss Z’s recent respiratory issues finally kicked me into gear. After all, the only thing potentially more awful than having to do CPR on your child is to have your child stop breathing and not knowing how to do it.
Miss Z has stopped breathing – or had difficulty breathing – a few times during seizures, although fortunately all the severe instances happened when we were already in the hospital. But there is no guarantee that is where we’ll be in the future. So, I learned what to do.
And not just that. A lot of the other first aid advice was also useful – including how to immobilize a fracture, how to respond when your child has burned herself or chopped off a finger (do not put it on ice – makes it hard to sew back on – just keep it cool), not to mention what to do when your child is bitten by a snake (argh!).
It was also interesting to take a first aid class now, after four years of looking after Miss Z. Before Miss Z, I didn’t think I could cope with anything medical. In an ironic foreshadowing of things to come, I remember reading about fever convulsions in a baby health book before Vegemite was born and declaring I would “SIMPLY DIE” if anything like that ever happened to my baby. Fast forward a few years, and I’ve lost count of how many seizures I’ve managed with Miss Z.
When Vegemite was around 6 months old, I picked her up from her pram in the kitchen and accidentally knocked her head on a cupboard. Vegemite screamed, I panicked and we were eventually taken to hospital by ambulance. Vegemite was smiling when we arrived and the doctor was unable to find any sort of mark where her head was bumped. But I was shaken – and embarrassed – by the experience. Again, fast forward a few years, and I am used to calling an ambulance, reciting Miss Z’s medical history and current symptoms over the phone and to the paramedics and the doctors at the hospital. Although I may be worried, there is no more panicked hysteria.
In the past four years, I have learned to do so many things that I never thought I’d be able to cope with – replacing feeding tubes, nasal suctioning, seizures, nebulizers, and managing a vast array of medicines. And it made me more confident about my abilities in the first aid course. Practicing CPR on various sized dummies on Mother’s Day, I knew that I never wanted to be in that situation with another person, but that if I was, I’d cope and I would do the best I could.
And that little confidence boost was a nice Mother’s Day present in itself.