Darkness still hovered over the land as my eyes opened in anticipation of the alarm. There is no way I am going to miss this train. Night visions woke me up in the morning. With Barbs’ advice I scribbled down a paragraph with what impression remained in my mind. What does this vision mean and what important information is it trying to consolidate?
Leaving the room is going to be a lot more measured after last nights fiasco. Maybe the shock and disbelief has affected my system with the release of endogenous compounds and their increased concentration changed the regular firing pattern normally found within my brain.
Can’t be bothered to shave this morning. Departure time for London is not that much earlier than what I’ve been doing all week but it’s Saturday and it’s been a long week. I’ve been up for a bit before hearing the alarm go off. Don’t really want to wake anyone else up if there is anyone else here. My morning routine has been streamlined with the introduction of ground coffee. I’m still getting used to having a sink in my room to brush my teeth in. The smell of drying laundry hung in the air and was quite noticeable after walking into the room after my shower. It was alot nicer sleeping with an extra layer of bedding on top of me even if it seemed like that layer was going to slide off due to its slippery outer layer.
There was a final check of my pockets before locking the door behind me. Coffee in hand I stepped out onto the chilly streets of Stafford and walked to the rail station. There was hardly anyone out at this hour and little to no traffic. Why would anyone be up this early? I remembered my reason and as I reached the station noticed that there were many more people on their way south towards London. As the train stopped at the little townships along the way more and more people filled the carriages. This was one of the first times that I’ve sat in First Class. It’s a bit quieter and there was no draft from the constantly opening doors at each station. It gave me time to compose.
Periodically I looked up from my writing and was conscious of the rising sun as the sun brightened the overcast day. The rolling green pastures of the countryside was punctuated by the occasional group of wind turbines slowly rotating in the wind. It’s not an entirely pleasant day out there.
Words are a way to puncture the isolation in which I find myself in. It doesn’t matter if they are voiced or written. Communication is a way of piercing the distance between those important to me. There was a flurry of conversations as I came in and out of data range with the appropriate towers. Sometimes the train moves too fast for data transmission. There is onboard service but it’s expensive and spotty. Got news that the little one flew on a plane for the first time. The journey time wasn’t too bad as concentration warped my perception of time. I had enough time to finish my composition.
As the train pulled into Euston I looked at the time and estimated how far I could go to get breakfast. Where is that coffee shop I frequent? The app says I have a few free coffees. The operations here in the UK don’t seem to run as smoothly as they do in North America but then again thinking about it each shop runs according to the kind of staff it employs. For the most part there are always two people on. Not at this one. There was one cashier that ran between the till and the machine. This is a big no-no for this brand.
With breakfast in my belly and a coffee in hand I walked over to the hotel to figure out where this meeting is. It’s inside the hotel somewhere probably in one of the meeting rooms. There is a line up for the receptionist. I spot the sign saying meeting rooms this way. No luck a key is needed to get to the basement by stairs or elevator. Back to the line I go. Fortunately others taking this training were also asking the same questions as I. Someone got a key and the training leader showed up and pointed us in the right direction. We squeezed onto the tiny elevator and headed downstairs. There was a maze like path to the meeting room allocate to us as we marched in a single file towards it.
A medium height blonde middle aged Irish woman was going to lead us through the session. She first made us introduce ourselves to the person next to us and then to introduce ourselves to the class. We were sitting in a semi circle facing the screen with a projected PowerPoint presentation with the title of this training session. She is a former nurse and has been teaching these sessions for a couple of years now. She peppered her talk with anecdotes from her other sessions as well as her clinical experience. She wanted us to participate in the discussions and answer the questions she brought out to us. It’s a Saturday and most people here just wanted to get this done and over with.
We began the day with a discussion about infection control and data protection. There are many different situations that require diligence when handling and discussing personal private information. There is a need to consider how I discuss my work day and where I work. This isn’t the first time that I have encountered this topic. I’ve been conscious of how I discuss my work and the events that have happened there. If it’s been a bad day it’s been bad if it’s been good it’s been good. Every once in a while I encounter an interesting case or situation and I try my best to remove anything identifiable and just present the situation as it happened. It’s the situation that’s important as it showcases something interesting. A level of professionalism must be maintained as it is important for my future.
Next we moved onto fire safety. We went through all of the different fire extinguishers that are potentially found in the clinical workplace and what kind of fires they are used for. We talked about fire safety as it pertains to healthcare. It turns out that arson is by far the biggest cause of fires in hospitals accounting for about half of all fires. It is followed by electrical and smoking the latter contrubuting to about ten percent of the fires and other a further ten percent. In 2008 a large fire burned at the Royal Marsden Chelsea location and the staff were able to evacuate everyone within twenty eight minutes. This achievement was heralded as a triumph of emergency planning. None of the patients died. Incidentally there were five major hospital fires in London that year. No mention was made of how those situations turned out. Having previously worked at the Marsden I know what kind of fire training they have for their staff and from what I remember it is really good.
We finished off with a discussion and demonstration about manual handling. This is the process by which a patient is moved or handled either horizontally or vertically. We discussed proper techniques of getting a patient from a sitting to a standing position, how to use a sliding sheet as well as a lift to move a patient. This is an involved discussion and it required the rest of my energy to persevere before lunch.
The woman leading the course was lively enough and talkative enough to make the time go by quickly. Her animated style forced everyone in the room to participate in the course throughout the day. She even pretended as an old lady or old man and while in character answering questions in the stereotypical style expected from such a person. The time passed quickly because of that and as a bonus there were some moments of laughter as some of the scenes played out.
After lunch it was time for CPR training. It is important to get all of this training right as one never knows when this information will come in handy. The steps involved are
- Check for danger
- Check to see if the person is conscious
- Call for help either yourself or a bystander and get an AED
- Check to see if they are breathing
- Start chest compressions at a fairly rapid rate and every thirty give two breaths
- Continue until help arrives or you can’t do it anymore.
There is a mnemonic that was up on the board but this is how I remember it. Interestingly enough statistics say that 5% of CPR attempts lead to recovery jumping up to 70% if AED or a defibrillator is used. These devices have an important role in saving people’s lives and should be placed in as many places as possible.
We covered what we should do in the hospital setting in case someone had a cardiac incident. I remember once years ago when a patient had a cardiac arrest after getting off a treadmill. We had a whole team of people there and performed the steps and had the Code Blue team there in minutes and successfully revived the patient. I spoke with the patient prior to the incident and they told me of having previous heart attacks and being revived numerous times. When something like this happens there is not much time to think but just to follow the training that should be ingrained. These incidents are rare but still happen often enough to warrant the training. As I am a healthcare employee I should know what to do in these types of situations.
The course finished quickly soon thereafter and I had some time before my train departure. Since in Camden I decided to walk around and check out how this area north of Kings Cross has changed. When I was here last there was a lot of construction going on. There still is but it has moved onto phase two or three of the development. The structures that have been put up are modern twists on the style that typifies London architecture and appearance. It was sputtering rain with some wind that accompanied me through this journey.
My ultimate destination was Camden Market. It’s a lively part of this area always filled with many people and interesting little shops. It is essentially a tourist trap and an entertainment district rolled into one. It also has some decent food stalls and feeling the emptiness in my stomach I was tempted to get some Chinese. I ate like everyone else standing there beneath an area that didn’t have any drips falling from the canvass above. I was conscious of the time and having reached my destination it was time to go back. Walking through the streets and the throngs of people there are always things that catch my eye that I wanted to photograph. Mostly they are murals on walls that speak something in their expression. This is how a thirty minute walk turns into an hour.
My meandering walk eventually lead me back to Euston station with plenty of time to stock up for the journey. I got myself a coffee from my usual brand within the station. This location felt soulless. There were four people working two on the machine and two taking orders and working the till. They could easily use another machine. The line moved in a semi orderly fashion until it came time to get your order after it was finished. There the space wasn’t big enough for all the people waiting. The baristas working there had no time for anything other than pumping out orders.
The platform on which I should board my train won’t be displayed until the very last minute with this company. It is a peculiar characteristic of this company and something that I am aware of. I stood outside waiting watching as people walked in and out of the station and as others did the same as me standing outside. All of a sudden there was a commotion and some tuff was kicking a yellow sign swearing as he approached the station by one of the corridors from the bus stop. He looked like he was in his thirties or forties with a shaved head obviously angry at something. There was another guy with him or not with him I couldn’t figure it out. As soon as he walked into the station he was confronted by the police. He stood there talking to him the one cop slightly taller than him with a female officer a diminutive figure beside them both. Another cop questioned the other guy. From the appearance of it they were not together and they took statements from them both. From the looks of it the guy took offense to something the other guy said or asked of him and exploded in a rage. No one was hurt and there was no physical altercation. I went and got some food from one of the shops in preparation for my journey and they were still chatting although by now the cops and the bald man were shaking hands and saying their goodbyes.
Perfect timing as within minutes the platform was announced and I made my way to the train and walked to the correct carriage of the train. I settled in for the expected hour and a half journey. I had the aisle seat but as the train began to roll away I move to the window as there didn’t seem to be anyone sitting in that seat even though it was reserved. The train was relatively empty but there were these two chaps who kept talking the whole entire time. It was obvious that they were football supporters and old friends. They just kept talking though. They were on their way to Leiscter and were going to return to London in the morning to watch another darby. The train stopped at Watford Junction. This isn’t a scheduled stop. The lads were on it with their phones and found out the cause by watching the live train times. There was a fire near the train line around Northchurch. Supposedly the fire brigade was on the scene and there were reports of exploding gas canisters. Those were some of the announcements made by the train manager. We sat there for over an hour. As we passed the area where the fire supposedly happened there was no sign of any problem near the tracks. The two lads were going to miss their connection to Leiscter. If that’s where they are from then they must be Leiscter supporters riding the wave of a Cinderella story team that is at the top of the standings poised to win the championship.
The story of our delay kept evolving and I followed it on Twitter. Updates kept coming and others stuck somewhere else interacted with me around this topic and eventually we were on our way. I got to Stafford after ten a full hour and change later than expected. By the time I got to my flat I was exhausted from my journey and looked forward to a good nights rest.