Thursday, March 4, 2010

What a load of pollocks!!

I was obliged to take a first-aid course the other week, because I'm a "supervisor" and, I'm guessing here, but someone upstairs thinks I need to be able to respond to emergency situations to those under my supervision. Thinking back at some of the supervisors I've had in the past, they range from the micromanager to those who'd pop in between rounds of golf, have a quick squint at a couple of gels or a graph and consider me adequately supervised for another month. I'd like to think I combine the hands-off approach of the golfing guy with the ever-presence of the micromanager. So perhaps I should take the course; after all I'm likely to be there when they do something.

When it comes to first-aid and my skills-set, I've felt a great empathy with Gary Larson's "Lucky Night For Goldy" cartoon. Unless it's ram-ventilation of an overdosed teleost (the icthyological equivalent of bagging someone) my skill-set breaks down to covering someone with my official's vest (or running jacket) and holding their hand until someone more qualified; EMTs, an MD or a veterinarian turn up.

Still, it gives me something to do before the EMTs, MD or DVM turn up and sometimes I think that's what first aid is all about; keeping at least a subset of the bystanders to an event calm and collected.

Speaking of bystanders, the course was probably more beneficial to me from a triathlon perspective. In the past two racing seasons I've somehow been first on the scene a number of times, to the undoubted chagrin of whoever was being the "scene" and who was expecting someone qualified, we're sure. So a brush-up on the recovery position, CPR and why I won't be trying to extricate a crabon fribee seat-post from your leg wasn't such a bad idea. Besides, if anyone decks it in the lab, it's two metres to the phone, three if you're by the fume-hood, and a nine-minute response time whereas you will be holding down the fort for significantly longer at the turnaround. So, once again, unbeknownst to them (once again) the College supports triathlon in Nova Scotia. Thanks guys!

As anyone who has been through these, and other associated courses like OSHA, CCHOS or WHMIS, knows, the videos are excruciating. They exist on a plane somewhere between mid-budget horror-flick (good prostheses but no CGI) and the Darwin awards. Never mind screaming at the flimsily-dressed teenage heroine "don't go into the darkened house during a power-cut" this is more "Dude, why would you try to use a band-saw while standing on a revolving office chair with casters?". I mean, seriously. I know these scenarios are supposed to represent accidents but there are accidents and then accidents. Some of these First Aid videos are on a par with my favourite Ig Nobel award, the one about the guy bitten by a rattlesnake and who's friend tried to revive him by electrocution; this one made it into the literature so it's more likely to be true than the ever popular but probably ever apocryphal JATO/1967 Chevy Impala rocket-car guy.

When it comes to the improbability of the First Aid videos my favourite last week was a cycling one, perhaps understandably. The scenario was this; a bunch of guys on mountain bikes in the woods, one guy tries to show off (OK, that's bit is true to life) does a skid stop and decks it (who hasn't done that?). He landed (as we all do) leading with his shoulder followed in sequence by his arm, hip and knee and the bike goes off at a tangent somewhere else and to be honest it probably represented the biggest hazard of all; getting a Cat5 tattoo from someone elses bike on your head! And what did he break? His ankle! C'mon! How many cyclists do you know have ever broken their ankle in a bike-crash? Between us all I'm sure we can total up an impressive number of bike injuries and bones broken. Just in my immediate circle I can count lower jaws, clavicles, cheek-bones, noses, wrists, teeth, concussions and sutures galore not to mention acres of road-rash but an ankle?

Speaking of ankles, we should probably have a sock. Given that it is winter and cold and dank I've been living in the Balega Trails while running and truly, I haven't yet found them wanting. On those days I have a fit of enthusiasm and hop on the bike-trainer it's no socks at all.

But as we all know, the bike-trainer soon sucks all the enthusiasm out of any activity.

Seeing as this entry started with a fish-theme, perhaps it should end with one too and I present a pair of fish socks.

Yes, true, they are very, very blue without even a hint of white. But then again, so is the ocean on a calm day. And just below the surface, a shoal of fish. I can't quite make out what they are supposed to be. I know they are supposed to be a generic pelagic fish, but they confuse me; the fin arrangement is that of a flatfish but the overall body conformation makes me think of a pollack (Pollachius pollachius). And no I don't do that to show off as much as to avoid confusion. Fish have different common names on either side of the Atlantic and for all I know what I call a pollack might be known here as the Pointed Headed Wharf Devil Fish, but P. pollachius is just as valid in Halifax Nova Scotia as Halifax, West Yorkshire.

Taxonomic confusion aside, they are also short and ankle-length which is a big plus. It's quite easy to match them with blue jerseys and black shorts while the absence of a geometric pattern means they're just as good with stripes or checks. The blue hides all manner of dirt too, so you can look good on a rainy day without losing too many style-points unless you're wearing shoe-covers with shorts.

'til later



  1. Those safety courses are very important. If you feel you wasn't satisfied with the videos that you have seen, it's either because you took the wrong course or certain situations has never happened to you yet. But, I'm pretty sure that when you get stuck in one, you'll need that training and you'll find it very useful.

  2. Now a days most of the students are willing to learn First aid courses which helps him in their study.Some also want to learn only to handle the worse situations coming in life.I suggest only take training from certified institutes. Halifax Red Cross