Honestly evaluate the way you respond to crisis situations. Are you happy with the way you react?
Crisis Situation and how I react? I invented them. How do I react – well they say practice makes perfect. The photo is of my hospital bed that I occupied for a week after breaking my left arm for the second time. My first break was the bottom half and the second break was the first half, but let us begin at the beginning.
I visit my dad once a year in London. He is now 97 years old, so we do not go on big walkabouts, but about 15 years ago we were both more active, and when I went to England I might make an excursion to catch up on old times in London. There was a memorable evening when I visited the newly constructed Docklands in East London, near to my origins. My friend and I took a walk and she was showing me all the new sites. It was very interesting, all around the old docks near the Tower of London. We decided to take a walk over Tower Bridge, and then it happened. I do not know today how it happened, it just did. Like one minute you are walking along and the next minute you are lying on the pavement looking like a nun who is just about to give her vows, only in my case I was still trying to find out what happened.
I had fallen somehow, and to protect my head I reacted by falling on my arm which I used to made a softer landing, having only one head and wanting it to remain in one piece. Unfortunately my arm decided my head was too heavy and broke, just below the elbow. I had never broken anything before, it was a new experience. My friend was worried and said I should perhaps sit on a nearbye wall, which I did. Unfortunately my blood pressure seemed to take a turn for the worst and I sort of fainted, but only for a few seconds (I think). I then decided to see what damage was done. I discovered my arm was now internally in two pieces, I could even hear the rough ends of the bone rubbing against each other: a new experience. There was also a rather large lump growing on my arm on the surface of the breakage. My girlfriend said we must go to a hospital. We were about twenty minutes from the area where I was staying with my father. I was already envisaging visits to the hospital and decided, if a hospital then not one near the Tower of London, but we will drive with her car to the area where I was staying. So I managed to sit comfortably in the car and we drove onward. On the way my friend pointed out the various sites of London, we drove past the newly built London City airport. It was very interesting, and I almost forgot the throbbing pain in my arm.
Eventually we arrived at the hospital I wanted to visit. Almost midnight at Oldchurch hospital in the area of Romford. I would add that the hospital has now been demolished and a new modern hospital built in its place. Anyhow, at the hospital the first thing I had to do was to give my name and address. This was not easy, as telling english hospital staff you live in a place where they speak German and have German names for the streets. However, in my discomfort I managed to spell it all out. Now English hospitals are not exactly the best hospitals in my opinion. Ok it is all free with the National Health Service, but the service is not anything worth paying for. Eventually I met a doctor. He was not english. We had a very interesting conversation about his origins, Nigeria I believe. I had an X-ray which confirmed my suspicion that my arm was broken. I then got a provisional splint and was wheeled off to my bed where I would be for the next two days. My only concern was that I would be able to fly back to Switzerland on my flight three days later. The next morning I met the chief doctor who said I would be operated on that day. He was wearing a tie and suit, not very surgeon like it seemed to me. I asked if he would be operating himself. Deathly silence for a few minutes, that does not seem to be a question to ask an english surgeon. He sort of laughed and told me that his team would be operating. His team were standing next to him. It looked like a meeting of the United Nations, so at least I was reaping the benefit of international co-operation. When I returned to Switzerland and visited my doctor to show him my scars and stitches, he had a look at the x-rays that had been made after the operation and found yes, they had done a good job. I had a twist of steel in my elbow to keep it together. I was slowly becoming bionic.
That was part 1. Part 2 happened a few years later. I remember the occasion well. It was a warm day in May and I had been retired from my workplace for two months. Just taking it easy outside in the garden. My son was also present. At that time he was working in Brussels as a Swiss diplomat, and he would be departing again for Brussels on that afternoon. My cats were also outside. My blind cat always has a lead attached to a large pole in the garden to enable him to be able to walk around. I then got up from my chair and my blind cat decided to take a walk around my legs, causing me to fall onto the concrete floor. Luckily there was a cupboard to help break my fall on the lenfthand side, but not enough to stop me landing on my left arm (again) this time it was the top half that hit the ground. For a while I was stunned, immovable. Everyone rushing around: my first words were “my arm is broken”. When you have broken your arm once, then you know what to expect the second time. Somehow I moved inside and collapsed on a chair, again ready to faint. I said “call for an ambulance” knowing that this was a case for the hospital and no way would I be fit to ride in a car. My son offered to stay longer, but I said “no way”. If I am in hospital with a broken arm, you cannot help. I had never been for an ambulance ride, something completely different. My son went out to show the ambulance where to park when they arrived. He did quite a good job, he also called the ambulance. Eventually the ambulance team arrived.
“On a scale of ten, which number would you use to describe the pain” was the question from the ambulance nurse.
Not knowing where to start, I asked if the scale perhaps went higher then ten. It was then that she gave me an injection. I was then carried out of the house on a stretcher and put into the ambulance and we drove off. Most interesting, although I could not see where we were going, I knew which direction the hospital was and I recognised all the turns we made. Eventually we arrived at the hospital. In the meanwhile my husband drove my son off to the station for his train to the airport and then came to the hospital. Result of the x-ray was a compound fracture, meaning I had managed to knock a lump out of the bone. This time I got to know the surgeon that operated, he even visited me in my hospital bed. He explained exactly how he managed to fit the bone puzzle back together again. Result was this time I have two steel parallel plates screwed onto the bones of the arm with fifteen screws. I still have the x-ray pictures to show it.
I found I acted quite cool, amidst all the injuries and crisis situations. Perhaps because for many years I was a member of our local first aid association. We met quite often and practiced how to treat accidents. The first thing to do is introduce yourself. No-one wants treatment from an anonymous person. Then assess the situation, stay calm and do not panic. I can tell you that is easier said than done. I have attended many local events such as football matches and concerts, but have never been present at a serious accident. I have completed many courses and held the certificate for CPR for many years.