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What do a Japanese motorcyclist, whale sharks and a demonically possessed bicycle all have in common? In some way they all contributed to my knowledge of first aid.

The very first time I realised I needed a first aid course was when I was living in Japan. I went over there in 1993 to teach English and ended up on the south island of Kyushu in the town of Kurume where they manufacture Bridgestone tyres.

During my lunch break one day I was out for a walk when I heard a loud bang and looked up to see a motorcyclist flying through the air. It was a young woman and she’d been hit by a car pulling out of a junction. The helmet she was wearing wasn’t the full-face type and she bruised her face quite badly when she hit the ground. I went to help even though I had very little idea what to do but in addition, because westerners were very rare in that town, she seemed to be rather afraid of me. Fortunately other bystanders came to her aid and I was able to leave her in their hands as I didn’t want to make matters worse, but the incident has always stayed with me.

When I returned home and took up different teaching posts I always requested first aid training but was never put forward. Happily this all changed when I was bitten by the scuba diving bug and went to Thailand to train to be a scuba and first aid instructor. I settled on the island of Koh Tao for the best part of two years and there I became an Emergency First Response instructor, EFR being the first aid side of PADI scuba training.

Part of the attraction of Koh Tao is that whale sharks visit quite frequently and I was extremely lucky to dive with these gentle giants several times. Unfortunately beginner divers often forget to look around for dangers and once a diver in another group was so excited after seeing a whale shark that when she returned to the surface she forgot there was a large boat next to her which then hit her in the swell and dislocated her shoulder. Luckily there were four divemasters and instructors on the boat and we all immobilised her shoulder with dive belts, got her onboard, treated her for shock and got her the help she needed.

I still travel as much as possible although I’m based in the UK now as my parents need more help these days, and while I don’t dive as much I do enjoy my cycling. I used to go out on my mountain bike a lot before a couple of crashes dampened my enthusiasm. The first was during the London Olympics and a few broken ribs on the first Tuesday of the games meant that I had to relax for two weeks and watch the games in their entirety. Marvellous!

The second crash, just over a year later, was more severe and saw me taken to hospital in an ambulance for the first time. I spent the journey quizzing the paramedics and learning as much as I could but a badly damaged shoulder made me go deeply into shock and, truth be told, I wasn’t treated very well that evening. I made a full recovery but all of these experiences and more have added to my knowledge of first aid and a background in teaching and stand up comedy means I make the day/days as interactive and fun as possible rather than relying on computer presentations.

So if you’ve had the time to read all this and you think you might like one of my courses please drop me a line at thefirstaidguy@yahoo.co.uk, through the Contact page of this website or call me on 07729178119. Best wishes to you and thanks for reading this far!