It is that time of year again. People are either celebrating or mourning a year that was, all while looking ahead with the hopes of a more prosperous year, filled with love, family and friendship (for many, lots of sex). This means copious amounts of alcohol, and sometimes many different types of drugs.
With all of this in mind, I would like to tell you all the story of an experience I had this time last year.
This post was originally published on my personal blog December 31st, 2017 The following recounts an experience I had at a gig, December 27th 2017.
This is how my Wednesday night ended.
It was the end of the night, the last band was just finishing their set, so I thought i’d quickly rush off to the toilets before there was a massive line up. I walked in to find a girl crawling out of one of the cubicles (quietly) yelling for help, foaming at the mouth.
Straight away I went into auto pilot mode and grabbed the next person I saw to roll her onto her left side and keep her conscious while I called an ambulance. I didn’t care whether or not I thought she would be okay (I 100% believed she needed help, by the way), that wasn’t a call that I am qualified to make.
Once on the phone, I got the girl that was keeping her conscious to get her name and age, as well as what she had had to drink (or consume) that night. When her reply was, “3 schooners”, we both knew that something else was definitely in play here, because foaming at the mouth isn’t caused by just consuming alcohol. It could have been medical related, a spiking… We just didn’t know.
I couldn’t hear the ambulance officer, so I had to race outside where it was a lot quieter, which meant shoving guys twice my size out of the way and being called some pretty colourful names. At that point I didn’t really care. This girl needed help. Once I was outside I was able to hear what he was saying and confirm the address. When he started asking more questions, I had to race back inside, again shoving people out of the way.
Once I was back in the bathroom, a friend of hers came in and said that they would get her boyfriend there. She offered to go get her water. A few times people said they would go and get her water. I screamed at them not to because we didn’t know what was actually wrong with her. It’s the last thing you want to be doing.
About 5-10 minutes after getting off of the phone, they were there. MAN was I glad to be handing her over to the ambulance officers.
Once they had gotten all of the information they needed from us, they did some observations and tests and chucked her on the stretcher.
I walked outside to get some air and as soon as that ambulance door closed, it hit me. I started shaking. I couldn’t believe what had just gone down and how quickly I jumped in to help this poor girl. I was proud of myself, but I also knew that any decent person would do that for someone if they were found in that situation.
Days later I am still processing what happened, which has meant talking to lots of people, including my Mum (who has worked behind many bars, for more than half of my life), about what happened and how I am feeling now. I truly felt in my heart that this was an important story to share with you guys, because you never know when you’ll be in the position that I was put in Wednesday night.
As a little bonus, I spoke to my Mum about some of the tips she would pass on about safe drinking. This was her response.
It’s important to educate young people about putting hands over glasses, straw in bottle or can (whether you use it or not), making sure drinks are opened in front of you by bar staff and declining a drink if it hasn’t.
If drinking soft drink or water make sure it is still sealed when you receive it. The law only states that alcoholic beverages are to be opened upon serving. And if you can, ask for bottles or cans.
Don’t leave a drink when you go to the toilet, even with friends, drink it before you go to the toilet.
If all of this is followed then there won’t be a need for first aid.
However, what you did is correct. No fluids, Coma Position, getting an off sider straight away to help while you ring ambulance as time can be critical. Find out info from patient as you did “What did you drink? Have you taken any drugs that you know about? Is there any medical history of Epilepsy? Diabetes? What’s your name? Age? Do you have proper ID with you? Who do we contact? etc. as there is probably a password on the phone.
If the patient has lost bodily function make sure you put a coat, tablecloth or something over them.
But, don’t trust anyone including bar staff.
I didn’t enjoy writing this post last year, but I believe it is important for everyone to know what to do in these types of situations, and how to keep themselves, and others, safe.
I HOPE and PRAY that I do not encounter another experience like this again this year.
PLEASE look after yourselves (and others) this silly season.