Thursday, 21 April 2011

Wednesday 20th April 2011

What a day.  I spent the day at Shropshire Jelly drafting replies for funding applications.   I also met some wonderful supportive people.

Following that it was a session of Swimming After Surgery (SAS), where we had to say goodbye to Heidi one of the swimming instructors.  It was decided we would give aqua aerobics (low impact) a go.  This was so funny and we ended up laughing so much.  No tears were shed.

It was an amazing evening and one I will never forget.  My limbs are aching a bit today but I thoroughly enjoyed the session. 

Heidi will be missed but her replacement is already in post.

Heidi you are amazing with what you have got me to do and achieve.  I know I have lots more to learn and attempt.  My swimming life is certainly taking off.

All of us at Swimming After Surgery (SAS) wish Heidi all the best for the future.

Saturday, 9 April 2011

Friday 8th April 2011

Oh boy,

Thursday evening the car broke down at Shrewsbury School where I was undertaking my lifeguard training.

This meant I didn't get home until 8.20 pm after we were recovered by the RAC.

Panic set in of how myself and another candidate staying with us were going to get to Shrewsbury School for the assessment. 

I telephoned the tutor who gave me a telephone number of someone who could help.  He was more than happy to help us out which was a relief.

On the Friday morning we did our CPR training in readiness for the assessment.  We finished by about 11 am.  With plenty of time prior to the asessment which was at 1.30 pm. 

I asked for a quiz (the others groaned) but I am glad I had because it made us relax and realise we knew more than we thought we did.

The assessor arrived and tutor departed the room.  Apprehension and nerves were present not only from candidates but assessor as well.

We needn't have worried he went round the room asking questions.  I had a question which I managed to answer comprehensively while the others then looked at me and smirked, I burst out laughing and had to explain why.

I am pretty gullible and had fallen for things all week from the others including the tutor who had informed us with a straight face that for burns you need cling film if it is too hand (TRUE).  We also need a ruler to measure the new CPR distance on an adult which is 5-6 cm for compressions (FALSE).

The whole room including the assessor laughed when he heard that one.

The theory part was over next it was the dreaded CPR we knew we had to do the adult one but the assessor would choose baby or child (junior).  I was the last to go again in this session. 

While I was on my hands and knees he threw the baby dummy over to me (he had been briefed about my back problem) and asked me to resuscitate it after I had finished the adult.  This was the one dummy I didn't want. 

Next he got us to do bandages and slings.  He then asked various questions.

One candidate got upset as he was asking a few questions at her.  She walked out of the room.  The assessor looked puzzled wondering what happened.  I said she was upset and another candidate was told to inform her she had passed that part of the course.  In fact we all had.

Next we headed off for the swimming pool via cars. 

There were 7 candidates in total (3 reassessments and 4 brand new candidates). 

The 3 reassessments went first.  I wasn't allowed in the water and just had to sit and watch from the side.  Nerves were beginning to build and I was anxious to go but needed to sit and watch.

The three candidates completed their assessments.  Next it was our turn.

Oh boy the people we had trained with during the week were now being assessed at the same time this meant a new "body" had to be introduced.

Yikes nerves set in and I nearly bolted.

We were asked to stand by the assessor while he explained the land rescue.  This is a rescue where we have the discretion of what equipment to use e.g. rope, throw bag, torpedo buoy, pole etc.

I eyed up my position and worked out which rope I was going to go for. 

We had to turn our backs as we are unsure of where our casualty would be in the pool.  As soon as he said go we had to look for casualty and grab our rescue aid.

I threw the rope unfortunately it had tangled so I had to drag it back in, half coil it and throw again.  I did this and safely got my casualty to the side.  I then had to get him out of the pool and sit with his back to the water.
Next was the tow.  We had learnt 3 different types of tow, hip tow, (this one we all dreaded) shoulder tow and arm tow.  He spoke to each of us in turn, he said to the first person arm tow, the next person arm, he spoke to another one (who was muttering hip) he said arm.  Oh no I thought I have the hip tow.  No.  We all had the arm tow to do.

That was it.  "Lifeguard to the rescue" we all shouted jumped in and got to our casulties.  Towing them holding onto their arms.  Once at the side we had to make sure they were safe.

Next came the dreaded dummy.  I had positioned my goggles in place for this one.  (As I wear contact lenses, I was allowed to wear goggles but I had chosen only for the dive to do this and explained this to the assessor).

During the week I had attempted to go first with the dive so the other candidates were giving me this option if I should want to do so.  I insisted I didn't want to go first, so the assessor informed me I was to go last. 

The purpose of the exercise is to get a body from the bottom of the pool and recover it to the side but for safety reasons a dummy is used for the bottom and then swapped for a "live casualty" to be dragged over to the side and then got out of the pool safely.

There are several ways of doing this exercise.  Some people dive in first then obtain the dummy.  Others enter the pool and surface dive for it.

During the week as I have only recently learnt how to surface dive and be happy with how I rescue the dummy I felt better jumping in and then coming up to the surface ready to surface dive.  One of the candidates said "surely that is more scary doing it that way?"  I replied no as I get used to the water and then position myself correctly to collect the dummy.

As I jumped in said the words "lifeguard to the rescue can I have some assistance please" then went under water and bobbed up again ready to collect myself for the surface dive. 

I spoke to my "live" casualty and said please don't go under until I have the dummy and myself to the surface as I have no idea how long this will take me.

I counted 3 and went down.  I had managed to remember the technique and put my head down as far as it would go, I remembered to reach my arms out to the bottom of the pool far longer than I would normally to get past the dummy in order to get a grip.  I got the grip I held onto the dummy and hoisted it up, raised myself out of the water.  Dropped the dummy and then rushed over to "live casualty" and towed him to safety.

I handed him over to an assistant as I climbed out of the pool "unaided" (this means not using steps) and got to him to support his head and lift him out. 

There was a lot of clapping and cheering.  I had lots of support.

Next were the timed swims.  These are not easy as it involves two different swims with two different tows.  One has to be completed in 65 seconds the other in 45 seconds and they are done simultaneously.

The spinal rescue was the final task.  This is a slow entry into the water causing as few ripples as possible.  Accessing the casualty with one hand on the front of the face and the arm pressing into the sternum the other hand has to be placed at the back of the head with the arm pressing into the back.  The rescuer then has to keep that grip and swim under water to turn the casualty over and then tow them to a place where they can stand up to check breathing and stabilise the casualty with a team of lifeguards.

I managed to get the grip perfect but on turning the casualty over I lifted them slightly. The tow was ok and the handover was perfect.

That was the assessment over.  The assessor asked us all to get  changed and he would speak to us afterwards.

We came out into the corridor to find the assessor filling out forms.  I knew I had failed due to the timed swims but I had given it my best shot.

Having fallen on Wednesday during training I couldn't do much else apart from take advice from the tutor and rest the injury.

The assessor informed the group that they had passed except me but he did say that I had achieved an awful lot, far more than most people ever do in their lives and that if it was just on hard work I would have passed too.

He also said he was more than happy to help train me in the water too.

I was crying, he was emotional and struggling to keep his composure while talking to the group but said he needed to talk to me on my own while they filled in their forms.

I can be proud of what I have achieved and what I have attempted.  I just need to work hard on my stamina and get there.  Once I have done this I just have to telephone my tutor and see when I can be reassessed.

In the meantime I keep going with Ican2, the swimming club and my leisure swimming.

Enjoy whatever you are doing.

Best wishes


Wednesday, 6 April 2011

Mid Week

Oh boy what have I let myself in for?

The NPLQ = National Pool Lifeguard Qualification in a week - what on earth was I thinking of when I decided to give this a go.

I have never swum so much in my life let alone dived to the bottom of a six foot pool depth and touched the bottom.

Not only that I have discovered I am scared of the dummy!!!!

I don't know why or how I just am. 

Needless to say this is a huge struggle for me. 

Today I was doing my timed swim of which we have to do two one in 65 seconds and the other in 45 seconds.  I haven't hit the targets yet and today was not going to go my way.

I started out well on my first run and on my recovery of my "casualty" I slipped in the shallow end twice, recovered and set off with my casualty "on tow".

I winced a bit after slipping and then apparently I said "I don't believe this".  Next thing I hear is a scream followed by a sharp yelp of pain.  This was from me.

The casualty ended up being the rescuer and vice versa.

I had pulled my muscle just under my thigh and had to give in.

This was not fun and I had to be looked after and regain my composure to rejoin in the session.

I managed to rescue the dummy on my second attempt everyone was so happy including the "casualty" that takes the place of the dummy to be rescued to the side and then resuscitated.

This put me off what I was supposed to be doing and I forgot the procedures.

I have been to the Swimming After Surgery (SAS) session tonight and been able to practise surfacing diving to help me obtain the dummy from the depths of the deep end of the pool.

I just hope I don't let anyone down on Friday including myself.

No matter what happens I know I have put my all into the course and given 100%.

I will not lose what I have learnt but the experience on Friday will ensure I learn more as I go along even if I don't make the grade.

What a week I am having.

By the way I received my Certificate from the ASA to say I have passed my Level 1 Teaching Aquatics course so I didn't have to wait as long as I had feared.

So it is definitely onwards and upwards for me.

Best wishes