First Aid, Aussie Style

Just when I think we have learned all the nuances of living in Australia, I get thrown another curve ball.  Last week I took a two day first aid training course, and I quickly realised that while we may have learned quite a bit of Aussie speak, we still have far to go with medical Aussie speak.  I'm used to Ibuprofin being Panadol, but besides that we haven't really had to converse in medical terms that much.

I realised this on day one of the class when I found myself asking once again what a word the instructor had just said meant.  I think it was Ventalin - apparently that's what Aussies call an inhaler. I'm pretty sure it's a brand name like Kleenex is, but it took me awhile and a few funny faces to figure out what they were talking about.  Then the instructor asked what a normal body temperature was and I said 98.6.  Everyone else looked at me funny as they said 36 and I laughed realising that I hadn't had to deal with temperature in Celsius yet.  

The first aid basics are all the same, but they use plasters instead of bandaids and grew up with their moms spraying Dettol on their wounds.  I asked what that one was but we never really did figure out the American equivalent - some sort of disinfectant spray I guess.  A trick the instructor taught us when explaining how to use the defibrillator was to put one end on the top right and the other end on the bottom left like you would a seat belt when driving.  I remembered the seal belt trick, but when it came time to place the defib pads on apparently I was driving on the wrong side of the road and went top left to bottom right.  Hey, when you put a seat belt on one way for 16 years and then start putting it on another way it's going to take a few years for that new way to become instinct.  The class laughed at me, but I'm sure they'd be in the same boat if they were in my shoes.

So I ended up getting an education in both first aid and the Aussie slanguage.  It was a really interesting class, I just hope that I never have to remember which direction the seat belt goes in real life!

Had to sit next to this dummy in the training course


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