D 3. How to Save a Life

I want to keep a picture of this moment. But I can’t. The light is so special, it doesn’t show right on my miserable phone camera. And I can’t have that paradisiac landscape butchered in a low quality photography. So I just sit there — or rather, lay there, in my long chair, and I take in every detail of this barely credible place.

White sand stuck to my toes, after I washed off the dust of the road into the cristal blue waters of the lagoon. A hundred meters ahead, round waves roll up against a coral reef, and crash into a soothing noise. Out back, behind me, several beach clubs are playing summer hits, and the deep electro beats melt in together quite pleasantly.

Above, a sea of clouds is expanding from the east, shadowing the green mounts of Lombok. Patches of blue sky peak through the soft cotton pads. And to my right, the sun is slowly making its descent into the sea. The clouds haven’t reached that side of the picture yet, and the still waters of the lagoon shine a silvery reflection of the virgin skies, transpierced only by the fire track of the sun, and few dark rocks peaking above the surface, here and there.

The air is warm but feels fresh breathing in, and tastes salty on the palace. And I’m here, legs crossed on my chair, typing this all out to take this memory with me. I want to remember every detail, from the perfect green rolls of the wave to the colourful bikinis and the happy cheers of all the people enjoying this scenery, toasting to their holidays.

Beyond the reef, the fishermen are out, and a dozen of tiny boats are scouting the horizon.

So this is what a paradise looks like, up close

The light is fading, and soon, the island will become dark. I’m supposed to make my way back to the main street, lined up with bars and restaurant, serving touristy food and all kinds of drinks. The Wimbledon final in on at 8:30pm, and France is playing Portugal in the Euro Cup final at 3am tonight… Unsure whether or not I’ll make it.

Rescue training, Emergency First Response

It has been a long and trying day, but pleasant overall, and I see how that can be a paradox. My whole day was dedicated to my Emergency First Response training. It’s part of the skills required of a rescue diver, to anticipate and, in the event of an accident, to act as first responder. But the EFR training isn’t focused on diving accident, which has been extremely appreciable. I am now qualified to intervene and assist any victim, anywhere.

I spent the whole day with my instructor, asking questions about all the scenarios I had in mind, especially all the you-should-never & you-must-always myths. So spoiler alert: there’s no « you should never » in first response, but rather always assess the situation before doing anything, then assess whether or not the victim is conscious, and call for help. Then it’s mostly administering a first treatment if available (so on a diving boat, most probably, anywhere else, rather unlikely) and above all, monitoring vitals, trying to figure out what happened, gather as many informations as accurate as possible for the actual rescue team.

This is a training course, so there was an exam, but the real test I wanted to take, was to ask my instructor if he would feel confident if I were the first responder to an accident involving him. That’s the ultimate test, isn’t it? Would you trust this person you’ve just met this morning with your life? Are you confident enough in her training, and her ability to keep a cool head, to make the right calls in the right timing?

And would I be confident enough to step out and take charge as first responder on the scene of an accident? After today? Yes. And that’s what feels so good about this day. It wasn’t the first time I had listened to the litany of first treatments and major emergency procedures, but it was the first time I was hearing the practical side of them. The perks of your teacher being an actual EMT, for sure. So this is not theoretical to him, it’s over 8 years of field experience, that he has shared with me today. That’s how I finally learnt that the point of CPR is to get the blood flowing (not to jumpstart the heart, neither can you do that with electric shocks on a flatline), and that initiating CPR will result in breaking the ribs (that’s how you know you’re doing it right).

Well I’m certainly glad I didn’t find that out on the my first actual CPR. Breaking ribs feels easier if your first victim is a mannequin. (Sorry Annie) (Yeah that’s her name).

I thought I was going to suffer through yet another CPR initiation, but this day turned out to be most instructive, even enjoyable, in spite of the gruesome topic we ended up discussing, like triage of the victims, and making hard calls that may end up in someone’s death. Because sometimes, the right call is far from easy.

Today was also the first time I had a real conversation in over 4 days. I left Wednesday afternoon, and I hadn’t really spoken to anyone beyond the niceties until today. And it felt great.

The night is young

By the time I was finished writing today’s entry, the sun had sunk into the sea, not without turning the sky into a striking shade of pink. Everyone is taking pictures of the big fiery ball. I’m taking it all in. When I die, I hope this memory flashes before my eyes. Then I’ll remember where I had found peace, this time around.

The waters are now so still, one could walk upon the steely surface. Just like in a dream.

PS : I got two new weird insect bites, and counted five giant spiders (size of my whole hand) hanging outside my dorm’s window, one meter away (and they still look huge at that distance). And the freaking mosquitoes are biting THROUGH the clothing, so much for wearing long sleeves & pants. Looks like I will be drawing my last breath any day soon… Hashtag drama queen.

Day three just ended. But the night is young !

Sound of the evening: How to Save a Life, by The Fray

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