Friday, 8 April 2011

First days of Summer

Like having your own private pool
In London there are several Lido's (open air pools) dotted about and seeing as how we've entered April, some of them are opening for business.

A friend of mine suggested going for a swim on Tuesday night at our local Lido and I thought "why not?". The great thing about going for a swim in an open air pool in the middle of April is that no-one thinks this is a good idea, so you rather have the pool to your self. Just remember your wetsuit.

The not so great thing about it is how cold it is. I didn't mention these are unheated pools, did I? Now I'd heard how being dropped in cold water can suck the air out of your lungs but I'd never experienced this. Turns out it's about as much fun as it sounds, and swimming in cold (the air temp was around 10 degrees Celsius, make of that what you will) water is a hell of a lot more tiring than you might expect.

We briefly (half a length) practiced some front crawl, until the pain in our frontal sinuses was so great it made our eyes buzz. Then we changed over to some old-school, head out of water breast stroke. It was a lot of fun, we swam about 1km at a very reasonable pace and even had a bit of chat whilst we went. I think we'll be back next week.

Obligatory London landmark shot
Yesterday was a fair bit warmer and meant that cycling to school was glorious. We had PBL all morning (case of the week: RA) and towards the end of the session there was an almighty crash outside our room and plaintive "can I have some help, please!" was heard. Ah, I thought, that's not good. I opened the door and narrowly avoided a pool of something brown. Iced-coffee. A young woman was kneeling next to her friend who lying on her side in the corridor straight and stiff as an ironing board, jerking slightly.

Seizure, right.

"She's having a seizure," the friend said "She's got a history of this, but I've never seen her this bad."

The girl having the seizure was grunting through a clenched jaw, but I could seeing nostrils flaring so I was pretty happy she had an airway. We rolled her onto her side just to be safe, though. I ducked back in the room, past my classmates who had got up to have a look. Because I'd cycled in, I had my emergency trousers in my bag (my thought being "get something soft under the patient's head). I managed to gently maneuver them under the still seizing girl's head. More people came out to see what was going on, a couple offered to call someone (even in the medical school the crash team will come running) and I directed the rest back to their rooms. I knelt behind the girl's shoulders letting her ride it out saying supportive things to the friend. It occurred to me that there wasn't much else we could do. Airway? Yup. Breathing? Yup. Circulation? Uh huh. Waiting 'till the crash team turn up? You betcha.

A couple of doctors sprinted up the corridor, the friend gave a potted history and I went back into dicussing RA. Slowly more people turned, there was monitoring attached, oxygen given and she looked like the seizure had stopped and she was going postictal. Good, I thought, now how do I get my trousers back?


  1. Haha, I hope your trousers weren't very much money. I'm sure the girl was glad that you were "Johnny on the spot".

  2. I managed to retrieve them when they hoisted the girl onto a gurney :) They had what I hoped was coffee on them (other options less desirable), but at least they lived up to the title of "emergency trousers".

  3. Also I wanted to mention that when I was growing up in Minneapolis MN we had free, unheated wading pools that were empty in the winter until after Memorial Day. These pools were the coldest pools to jump into even on the hottest of days, but your post sure brings back those memories. You've got guts to go swimming while it’s cold outside.

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