In case of an emergency

02 Jul 2019

Upon leaving your family’s secure home into the wide world of higher education, you will need to acquire certain skills in order to stay alive. If you haven’t figured out how to cook or use a washing machine you will have to learn it upon entrance into adulthood. At the latest. Those responsibilities are, as tiring as they sometimes appear, the backbone of everything good about being an adult. Because without skills to deal with life and laundry, you will never be independent.

Now, I know from experience that some people will never figure out how to do these things. We can argue about the skills that make up a proper adult and everyone will have a slightly different opinion about it. As a matter of fact, I couldn’t give two damns about whether someone can make proper scrambled eggs or not. Skills needed vary — depending on the individual. However, there is one skill that I would argue everyone should possess. I am talking about first aid.

‘First aid is a skill I acquired and I will be damned if I won’t apply it when I need to’

In order to understand why I’m talking about first aid in the first place, I will have to give you a little background information. This story begins because my older brother was born with a rare neuromuscular disease called spinal muscular atrophy that leads to a loss of motor neurons and progressive muscle wasting. So while he can feel everything perfectly (unlike people who are paralyzed), he doesn’t have any strength and is, consequently, dependent upon an electric wheelchair. Last Friday, he fell out of said wheelchair. And this is where we encounter the importance of first aid.

Because I was the only person present at the time, I was the only one able to administer basic first aid, including stabilizing his body, trying to keep his body temperature up and calling an ambulance. My brother broke his leg, suffered a concussion and lost quite some blood from a forehead wound, but had I not reacted the way I did, way worse things could have happened following the acute shock after the fall. Don’t get me wrong, I’m nothing close to a pro when it comes to anything medical related. As a matter of fact, the last time I had a blood sample taken, two nurses had to drag me to another room, because I fainted. I’m a huge coward. But first aid is a skill I acquired and I will be damned if I won’t apply it when I need to.

I really don’t care if people learn how to cook or do their laundry when they become adults, but first aid is a must. Everyone encountering a person in a medical emergency should at least know the How-Tos of a cardiac massage, recovery position and correct emergency call. The world is a mess, but I full-heartedly believe that we can bring some order into it if everyone would just acquire and apply skills to help a person during an emergency. And if a coward like me can do so without hyperventilating, you can too. Sign up for a first aid course. Watch an instructive video. And, if you can, save a life.

Every two weeks, Antonia will add the songs she writes about to the Spotify playlist below. This way, she creates a soundtrack to her time in Nijmegen. Click left and right for more songs.

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