Decisions, we make them every day. Thousands upon thousands of minuscule and tiny actions we tend not to notice affect our way, our life and more often then not; our future. The Year 10 boys made their way to the St. John of God Public Hospital in Midland to learn how the effects of alcohol related accidents can have on all aspects of your life.
It was about half an hour drive from the Secondary Campus to the Hospital and the bus was filled with the excited (not to mention loud) chatter of all the year 10 boys who were eager to have a break off school for the whole day. Upon arrival we were greeted by the Main supervisor of the P.A.R.T.Y program who, we would be with for the remainder of the day. She told us about the basic Do’s and Don’ts of what to do in a hospital and quickly led us inside.
Not long after that we were given clipboards with a survey paper and a pen and were asked to complete a survey for the program which would be important later and used in studies. After that we had a speaker come in and talk to us about the effects that drugs can have on an adolescent mind and how it can prevent the proper brain development required in later adult life. To demonstrate the effects on us, he chose two volunteers to put special goggles on. These would mimic the vision of a heavily drunk person by distorting their perception. The floor warped and waved out of shape and you could not tell where you were walking.
After that we went on a tour through the hospital looking through the various response and recovery areas that a patient goes to throughout their visit to the hospital. Our first stop was the Ambulance bay, it was a small parking bay where they would show how they carried, transported and delivered a patient from the ambulance to the hospital. The next destination was the Emergency Response unit, a place where the patients would go after exiting the ambulance. Here is where the patient would be assessed on what kind of condition they were in and treat them accordingly with various foreign looking devices and gadgets. After that we were escorted to the Intensive Care unit, or IC for short. This is the unit where patients would go to if their condition was absolutely critical and they needed around the clock support. We were greeted by the head lady of the IC unit and she showed us how to take care of a patient who is in an induced coma. To put it simply, a lot of pipes and cords enter and exit through various “openings” in the body.
After the intensive care unit, we had lunch but that’s not important, what was important however was what came after lunch. We finished eating and then we went down to one of the most important areas of all, the physio room. The place where you go after a major surgery, had a stroke or any other accident that had hindered your motor function skills. This is where you would regain the muscle you lost from laying in a bed in intensive care or from sitting in a wheelchair. There were rails and side bars you would use to push yourself up and down to get stronger and there were obstacles for paraplegics to use to learn how to get up and down things only using your arms.
Up next we had people come in to talk to us about the consequences of drink driving and how it has affected their lives in certain ways. The first speaker was a man who had a slightly deformed skull and he talked to us about his head injury. He was out drinking and was kicked out of the pub after it had hit 1am. He took a ride home in the back of a ute trailer and he flew off the trailer and headfirst onto the cold hard tarmac after the car took a fast sharp turn around a corner. It took him 3 years to make a recovery and after that he still wasn’t the same.
The next person that came to speak us was a man named Corey. The sad thing was that he wasn’t under the influence of alcohol or drugs or anything, he was literally driving on a road that he had driven plenty of times before. But this time his car had lost control and hit a tree and hit his head really hard on the dented roof of the car. He was airlifted to the nearest hospital and he was in Intensive care for about 3 months. It took him an extra 8 months of recovery time as he had lost the ability to do the simple things like eat, walk, stand and even read. He went onto say it took him 4 years just to integrate himself back into society and says his road to recovery was really long.
The last person that came in to speak was a lady called Karen who was a paraplegic. She spoke to us about her accident and it was deeply moving. She was with her crazy boyfriend who lost his license and was driving her to the next town. She felt a bit tired and laid the seat down flat, like a bed and nodded off to sleep. The boyfriend then crashed the car and she’s flung forward, but due to the weird angle she was sleeping at she is launched forward towards the dash panel, the seatbelt stops her hitting the dash panel but then due to the way she was lying and the seat belt position, her spinal cord in severed at her hips. She woke up in a car overturned in a creek bed with no feeling in her legs. That’s all she remembers.
That pretty much wrapped up the day, afterwards we completed the second part of the survey sheet. We reflected on all the people we had met that day and their stories. I can quite safely say that my mind was changed on what I would do in situations and I hope everyone else’s mind was changed too. If there was one thing, I could take away from that excursion that day it would be, that it can literally happen to anyone, nobody is safe from an accident and you seriously need to stay safe. All in all, it was a very confronting but educational excursion and I’m glad to say I went on it. Don’t drink and drive.