Sunday, April 21, 2013

Miscellany, as usual

Last weekend was our first wedding anniversary. It also happened to be the first nice day of the year, which was a change. This weekend is actually prettier and warmer (see below) but it was wonderful to just pootle around the garden and giggle at each other. I still catch myself pointing at Boy and shouting "Husband!" with a measure of disbelief. It really is odd to stop and think about it, at least for me. We married each other!

Anyway, the other thing I did last weekend was go shopping. I wore a hole in an unforgiving location in my favourite jeans, so needed to replace them. I guess this is to be expected when one wears her lightweight denim lady-jeans around a construction workshop, but it annoys me nonetheless. I have work trousers, I just don't particularly like them. Maybe I should do something about that. It's just, y'know, the rest of the trouser is absolutely fine, no stains, no holes, pristine, but one hole in the crotch and they're roont--you try to patch it and wind up destroying the area further because the fibres have all been ground down to a powder by your giant thighs, so there's no fabric that will hold a stitch... Anyway, I went to Marky-Sparky of an afternoon, picked out about five different types of trouser to try on, and happened to accidentally grab a pair of...jeggings. 

I wasn't shopping for them, and I didn't mean to like them, but when I tried them on...comfort happened. These are the denim-spandex type, they actually look and feel like jeans and have a zip closure, but unlike the superduperskinny jeans that seem to be 90% of what's on the market these days, which don't typically fit over my feet (and certainly not my calves) these are form-fitting but accommodating. They're cozy. They go on easily and don't rearrange my fat into a a slug-tube that would offend even Renoir. They seem to say "oh this is your shape? Okay, we can do that." 

I'd imagine they'll last a few weeks at work, so I'm going to try to resist wearing them in the metalworking area. (Days I know I'll be doing a lot of welding I actually just wear leggings under my boiler suit. Much easier to move than fighting the canvas-denim friction war.) But they are unfortunately very comfortable, not too unflattering, reasonably priced and readily available. I am such a conformist.


In other news, as of last week I'm a certified first aider for my workplace. I've been working for Central for nearly a year and a half now, and while that's peanuts compared to some of my colleagues I feel ready to engage more thoroughly with the operations of the school than previously. I'm also doing a lot of paperwork with regard to the healthy and safe usage of my props students' classroom materials these days, around the day-to-day carpentry and workshop supervision. It's involved, but I always have something I can be doing (which I'll gladly take over being bored.) 

First aid has really changed since last time I took a class in 2008. Well, maybe it's just different as I'm in a different country and doing a different form of first aid--this is simple FA at Work, with the expectation that paramedics and trained, equipped hospital staff are right around the corner, that while the situation may be urgent it's rarely so urgent that you need to get creative to stabilize someone, and that there's typically a dry indoors to remove yourself to in inclement weather. It is different in scope and in approach to Wilderness First Aid in almost every way. I didn't have to make a bandage out of the casualty's bra or pull traction with a jib-boom. Despite low survival rates of cardiac arrest without speedy defibrillator access, you are expected to keep going with the CPR until help arrives, not until you get too tired to continue. We did not learn how to move someone with a suspected spinal injury or how to improvise a back-board out of a tent. We learned no triage models and practised no knots. For the most part, aside from raising injuries above the heart and putting pressure on wounds, CPR and the recovery position, the bulk of first aid at work is "reassure the casualty, phone for an ambulance and monitor vitals." Fair enough. 

Seems like CPR in general has gotten simpler, though--less cerebral, anyway. There is no distinction between artificial respiration and full CPR in this aid style, which is handy. Just jump in there. Choking response begins with 5 back blows before launching into 5 abdominal thrusts, which makes sense. It's funny, coming from different areas of life-saving expectation, the different ways I've been taught to encourage someone to breathe are not only numerous, but conflicting. For drowning events, you're taught how to begin abdominal thrusts in the water, while swimming. I don't think a back blow would work very well in that instance, but maybe I'm wrong. Once you get the casualty (in the US the victim) to terra firma you begin with horizontal abdominal thrusts--you kneel around their knees, knit your fingers and shove away from yourself on their abdomen above the navel. It shoots water out of the lungs with impressive force. It can also badly injure other organs, but that is considered secondary. Only then do you start AR, and if they don't cough you'd start CPR. I don't know if this is current technique for lifeguard training--that training was from 15 years ago--but it requires much more thinking and ordering of response. Not "check for breathing for 10 seconds, if you do not detect a response begin CPR, a simple 30 chest compression to 2 breath ratio"--much less thinky and specific. All crafted with an assumption that the first aider will be pretty freaked out, so keep it simple and easy to remember. 


Today we scrubbed the kitchen floor, after an unfortunate case of digitis butteris led to the demise of a coffee-filled mug. It is probably the cleanest it has been in a year. We keep looking at it approvingly. We've also been able to do laundry and hang it in the garden to dry, which is fabulous. The rest of the neighbourhood's washing machines are likewise whirring away. Ah, returning to some semblance of in-house civilisation. Ah, spring!