Not what you might expect. There weren’t any great revelations about doing CPR or dealing with breathing problems. Instead, Sarah was a very funny instructor. She could be a regular at the Yuk Yuks Comedy Club. How refreshing to have a teacher who wanted us kids to have fun. along with learning a whole bunch. And the first aid manual seemed topnotch – up-to-date, with clear explanations.
I got to experience what I’d experienced before … a sadness at not remembering what to do. Sarah spoke fast and moved fast and I couldn’t keep up. When it came time for the hands on, I was often lost. After my initial panic about this, I found myself sinking into the rhythms of the day, absorbing what I could in the short term, knowing that the manual would help me for many tomorrows. Contentment washed over me, knowing that I’m a work in progress about addressing emergencies. I accept my foibles and celebrate my desire to assist human beings when they’re injured.
Sarah was not just a fun machine. She knew her stuff. She complimented us on our effort. She thanked us for our good natured spirit. And she looked right in our eyes and said, “Do what you can. If you freeze, maybe your contribution will be to call 911. And it may be that sometimes all your good efforts won’t save the person’s life. Honour yourself for trying. Be good to the human being who wants to help.”
So when I ride my bicycle across Canada next summer, I may keep an injured rider alive until medical help arrives. I may fall short of that goal. Or the worst incident may be a small cut. Whatever the story, all my being is ready to serve.