Tag Archives: resuscitation dolls

Thoughts for Friday – 19th June 2015

My brief stay in Nottingham behind me, I was looking forward to spending time somewhere a little closer to home the following week. Unfortunately, due to the horrific design of the A27 (see my previous Thoughts post), I had no choice but to book overnight accommodation for the duration of my stay.

As you already know, the last time I stayed just outside Brighton, my colleague booked us into the most awful establishment and I had decided that I would NOT be staying there again. That meant that I had to find somewhere else to hang my hat for the best part of the working week.

moneyMost of the chain hotels were either booked up or way outside my budget (my company only allows me to spend a certain amount on overnight accommodation and any infringement on this results in having ones fingers broken and various objects inserted in various places – joke!) The truth is that I work for a charity and if I can save some money by keeping to or coming under my budget limit, I am happy to do so, knowing that the money saved will be spent on meaningful projects that will benefit people with a learning disability.

One of my favourite sites to use when looking for accommodation is Booking.com (and no they didn’t pay me to say that). The site allows you to compare prices of overnight accommodation easily and also offers discounts for registered users who use their site regularly to book their stays, which again means that I can get value for money for the budget I have.

I found a small B&B listed not far from where I would be delivering that week and found that not only was it a stone’s throw from where I would be working, it also had free Wi-Fi (I never book accommodation that doesn’t include Wi-Fi or breakfast) and even its own gym and indoor pool. It sounded great and so I booked my stay and didn’t think any more about it until I began my journey on the Monday afternoon.

fawlty-towersCall it paranoia, but I began having visions of the B&B resembling something out of Fawlty Towers, with highly-strung owners and bizarre guests. The further I got to my destination, the more fear crept into me, crawling through my veins and placing pressure on my bladder and bowels. Would I survive the week, or would I get eaten alive or buried under the decking in the back yard? Would I ever be heard of again?

It must have been the cheese sandwich I had the night before that had caused me to become convinced that staying in a B&B in the middle of nowhere (it was down a long country lane and off the beaten track) would see the demise of Heather B Costa before she ever made it to Mrs Loveton’s home in the good old US of A.

I couldn’t have been more wrong about the B&B and I was delighted to find that, even though it was in the middle of nowhere, the surrounding acres of countryside were beautiful and a sight to behold. From my window I could see wild rabbits running free, deer frolicking across the fields and all manner of wild birds flitting from tree to tree.

2015-06-03 17.41.12The room was pretty good too, with a clean and spacious en-suite bathroom that had hot running water (my last visit to this area of England didn’t) and reliable and speedy Wi-Fi. The only downside was that I had a single bed, and so I had to try very hard (and successfully I may add) to make sure that I didn’t roll off and land on the floor during the night.

The bed, though small, was comfortable and I managed to get a good night’s sleep on each of the three nights that I stayed there and I didn’t once fall out and land on my ass.

Best of all was the freshly-prepared breakfast banquet that I sat down to each morning, although I must confess to being slightly overawed by the 60-piece matching china dining set that adorned the massive dining table. I had a number of pieces of cutlery of differing sizes and I am almost certain that I showed myself to be the cretin that I am by using the wrong spoon or knife at the wrong time.

KC-05267.1LBy completing a menu form the night before, breakfasts were made to order and I enjoyed a bowl of porridge and blueberries each morning, followed by toast, scrambled eggs and baked beans, as well as my very own pot of filter coffee and orange juice. The eggs for breakfast were from the B&B’s very own hens and were collected each morning at 6 am from their hutch. Talk about fresh food!

As for the sessions themselves, they went pretty well and I had a good group of learners. It just so happened that it was also a pretty warm and humid week and that I was delivering my sessions in a room on the top floor of a building and with windows on all sides, which meant by the end of each session I was dripping with sweat and almost ready to fall asleep standing up.

10227067335_03666877bc_zThe delegates who had been with me for all three sessions expressed their disappointment that I would not be delivering their last three sessions, and I found it quite sweet that they’d taken to me so well. It’s always nice to hear that your delegates appreciate the sessions and how much effort and energy is put into each one.

After three long days, I packed up my equipment and my Annie dolls, all of whom got a good pumping and blowing on the last day, and returned home to the comfort of my own bed. It was good to be back by Thursday evening, but the one thing that I missed more than anything was the fantastic breakfasts at the B&B, even if I did use the wrong cutlery…

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Thoughts for Friday – 12th June 2015

My resuscitation dolls arrived while I was mid-migraine and so I didn’t really do anything with them until the unbearable banging in my head had abated somewhat. I had only been expecting three dolls and so therefore I was surprised to find another doll stuffed inside one of the bags.

wipes-lMy first job was to thoroughly sanitise said dolls, after all, you never know who’s had their lips round them before I got them…

I gave all four of my Annie dolls a good wiping down and then pumped their chest several times for good measure. Lord knows what my downstairs neighbour thought of the sound of springs repeatedly being put under pressure.

Each of the dolls has a removable face (they are clipped on at the ears), presumably this is so you can remove them, give them a quick spin in the washing machine and then hang them out in your back yard to dry so that you can scare the life out of your unsuspecting neighbours.

I’ll give it a whirl and let you know…

It just so happens that one of my dolls has an issue with its face clipping on to one of its ears and after an hour or so of battling with it, I decided to give up on the latex facelift and left it as it was. I have christened the doll Vincent, for obvious reasons…

301475779664_1It just so happens that my cousin’s young daughter, Molly, is working hard getting her Brownie badges and one of them is for First Aid. I took Vincent, along with assorted bandages and slings, and gave Molly her very own one-to-one First Aid course. I have to say that, for an eight year old, she did incredibly well to remember everything, though her first attempt at chest compressions looked more like she was using Vincent as a trampoline, rather than trying to resuscitate him.

Molly, and her parents, were appreciative of the time I spent teaching her the basics of First Aid, but the truth was that I was glad to have some practice before heading to Nottingham for what would be my very first solo First Aid session. I wouldn’t have felt quite so nervous had I been shadowing my colleagues repeatedly during the last couple of months, but as luck (or not) would have it, I’d only shadowed once during that time.

So it was with some trepidation that I packed my bags (and my dolls) and headed to Nottingham in my car. The venue was 200 miles away from where I live and so I drove up the day before and checked myself into the hotel (which was also the venue that my session would be held at). I left just after midday, expecting to miss most of the traffic. It turns out that every man and his dog must have been coming back/going on their holidays as the traffic on the M25 by Heathrow and the M1 by Luton Airport were horrendous.

It took me nearly six hours to arrive in Nottingham and by that time I was in desperate need of a drink, something to eat, and a wee – but not necessarily in that order.

coffe-nervousI didn’t sleep much that night either, the alcoholic drinks that I’d consumed only served to keep me awake as I went back and forth to the bathroom for most of the night. I woke the next morning feeling tired and nervous and I was quite honestly crapping myself about what was to come.

The first of my delegates began turning up when I was mid-way through trying to tie a sling for my left arm with only my right and I must have looked like a right idiot chasing the end of a triangular bandage around my back like a dog chasing its own tail.

I was hoping that all of my delegates would be new to social and care and First Aid so that I could potentially wing bits of the course that I wasn’t overly familiar with, but it turns out that two of them had already had a great deal of experience in working with paramedics and the Fire service. Rather than letting this bother me, I actually got one of them to show the group how to apply a sling, thus getting out of doing it myself. Who says a trainer has to do all the teaching in the session?

It’s always difficult to take on a group that one of your colleagues has already delivered to as they have certain expectations of what you’ll be like, but I have to say my Nottingham group were good fun, if a little rowdy for my liking.

The group seemed to enjoy my renditions of ‘Staying Alive’, ‘Nellie the Elephant’ and ‘Another One Bites the Dust’ as I showed the group how to perform chest compressions at the correct speed, although it’s fair to say that I won’t be starring on Broadway any time soon.

Considering that I was flying by the seat of my pants for the entirety of the day, the session went better than I was expecting it too and I received some good feedback from my learners. I think they particularly enjoyed my anecdote about how the resuscitation dolls got their face and I also remembered that I’d agreed to share it with my readers too, so here goes:

L'inconnue_de_la_Seine_(masque_mortuaire)The face that is used for Resusci Annie dolls is taken from a mould of a young woman who had been found drowned in the Seine in the late 1880’s who was known as ‘L’Inconnue de la Seine’ or ‘ The unknown woman of the Seine’. Apparently, the pathologist in the Paris morgue who performed the autopsy was so taken with her beauty that he took a mould of it (otherwise known as a death mask) and it is the very same mould used by Peter Safar and Asmund Laerdal who created the Resusci Annie doll in 1958.

I tend to only share this nugget of information after my delegates have performed the CPR routine well enough to pass the course as it tends to freak them out a bit otherwise and I suppose it brings a whole new meaning to the term ‘French kiss’…

Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m off to disinfect an unknown French woman’s face…

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