A Neighbor in Need: Practical Test on First Aid Skills

Ever thought of getting a first aid kit in your home? Photo borrowed from: http://www.myhealthkit.net/images/first-aid-kit-red2_LRG.gif
Ever thought of getting a first aid kit in your home?
Photo borrowed from: http://www.myhealthkit.net/images/first-aid-kit-red2_LRG.gif

It’s 12.05a.m. I have just gotten under my covers with a book on Emotional Intelligence to lull me to sleep when….. ‘Baddy, open for me, please open, I am dying!’
I know I am the only tenant on the third floor with lights still on at this ungodly hour. I try to ignore the calls for help and try to sleep. Forget the book. Who can read with that commotion outside? The desperate pleas persist.
Afraid, I decide to open my door and check on what is happening. The cliché that Nairobian’s curiosity killed the cat quickly fading from my mind, adrenaline taking full control of the situation.
‘What’s wrong’, I ask.
‘I have been stabbed, I’m bleeding, and I’m dying.’
I join in the frantic call for help. ‘Please open for him, he’s hurt badly’.
Five minutes later, Baddy, my neighbor opens the door and the young man collapses in a heap on the door. He explains to Baddy that he has fought with thieves who have managed to stab him. Baddy is evidently confused as he tries to call someone for help. Terrified by the sight of so much blood, I go back to my house and start praying. ‘God, please don’t let him die’.
In my house, I recall the First Aid we learnt in the HPE 113 at Daystar University during the January Semester. I remember how some of us found it annoying and time wasting. Not to mention the extra fee we were paying for such an ‘irrelevant course’.
I open my door again and this time, I enter my neighbor’s house. ‘Look for a belt or something to tie his leg, let’s stop the bleeding.’ My instructions fall on deaf ears, no, confused ears. Baddy walks out to go open the gate for the other friend who has arrived on a motorbike. He alights and the rider leaves. He is also limping when they arrive at the door. He says he has been hit on the leg by a hammer.
With my desperation evident, I explain to them that I need help to tie the bleeding leg so as to block the blood supply. ‘I am only able to use one hand, that’s why I am asking you to help me’. Baddy gives me a belt which fails to serve the purpose, and then resorts to his baby blue scarf. He helps me to tie it just above the knee.
Baddy then tells Freddie, the stabbed guy to wash the leg. By this time the entrance to the house is a bloody mess. Deep cuts should not be washed to aid in blood clotting, another valuable lesson I picked from HPE class. ‘Please do not wash anything, just call for help’.
‘Give me a blanket please; I want to cover him as we wait for help to arrive’. As he adjusts himself to lie on his back, I see the two chunks of missing flesh on his shoulders. They are also bleeding but not as seriously as the leg.
I run back to my house and reach for some gloves that I used to use for cleaning toilets back in the days when I lived in flats that shared common lavatories. They were medical gloves that I had taken from KENWA if my memory serves me right. That long? Now is not the time to think of the probability of expired gloves. Your safety comes first even as you help an injured person- another gem I got from the time wasting class. At least they are finally going to serve their real purpose. I pick a pair of scissors on my way out. Just in case we need to cut the tight trouser.
Quickly I slip two of the gloves on my left hand, and avoid the right hand which is time wasting should I try to wear gloves on it. I find myself giving instructions to baddy. ‘Put on these gloves and help me pull off the trouser.’ The teamwork is amazing and in a short time, the trouser is off.
A plain clothes policeman on night patrol arrives with the flat caretaker. He interrogates the two gentlemen and they explain their ordeal. He then leaves, leaving instructions for them to go to hospital, get treated and record a statement at their station in the Chief’s camp the following day.
Freddie is now complaining of the cold and thirst. I ask a neighbor who has also joined us to help me fetch a glass of water. I then hold the glass to him, he props himself up and lustily drinks. I then ask his injured colleague to throw me a pillow which I use to support his ‘baby-locked’ head. ‘Madam, shut the door, I am cold.’ We add another blanket, just to keep him warm and I push the door to keep the night cold out.
‘Madam, will I really make it to hospital, I am getting weaker’, Freddie says. ‘You have to be strong, you will make it.’ I assure him.
‘Madam, tie for me my leg, it seems it’s broken, it’s very painful.’ The injured colleague requests me. ‘If you suspect a fracture, just lie straight and wait for help’, I answer Freddie’s counterpart whose name I didn’t have time to catch.
An hour later, a white taxi arrives to take them to hospital. The surprising thing is that Freddie’s injured friend with the supposedly fractured leg is the one who carries him downstairs. I follow them with a blanket. They exchange with Baddy the duty of carrying him on the first floor. Once in the car, I cover him with the blanket and stand aside.
Another neighbor asks me if I am accompanying them to hospital. I reply in the negative. Baddy runs back upstairs to lock his door and comes back to enter the car. They then drive off to Mama Lucy Kibaki hospital.
As we are left behind, the caretaker, two gentlemen and one limping lady, we are wondering just what the young men were doing outside at 12.00a.m. A conversation develops on the type of neighbors they are and their weird characters.
‘I beg to leave, let me try and catch my sleep’, ‘Oh! Madam, you go and rest’, the caretaker replies. I go back to my house on the third floor, shut the door, wash my hands and glance at my phone. It’s 1.33a.m. This has been an interesting end to a dull day, or is it the beginning of tomorrow? Till then let’s try to catch some sleep.


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