I find myself, yet again, writing about dry or secondary drowning as I read that another toddler has just tragically died from what can be a silent killer. And it is summer again which means lots of children messing about in water and while I certainly don’t want to be an alarmist I do want […]
It reminded me of another death last year of a ten-year-old boy. He had been swimming and had a near drowning episode but recovered and then walked home with his mother and he seemed ok.
“I’ve never knew a child could walk around, talk, speak and their lungs be filled with water. Johnny must have some water in his lungs while he was swimming in his local pool but he he didn’t show any signs of respiratory distress except he had an accident in the pool and “soiled himself”, said the mother.
She said that she bathed him and he told her he felt sleepy. When she went to check on him later she saw his face was covered in a “spongy white material”. He was rushed to hospital but it was too late.
So, what is dry or secondary drowning and how does it happen? It is a bit technical so stay with me.
If a child has inhaled (aspirated) even a small amount of water (as little as 2.5-30mls), it can trigger a reaction in the lungs which can be fatal, even 24hrs after the initial incident!
If enough water is inhaled then it can wash away the chemical (surfactant) which keeps part of the lungs (alveoli) open. Without this surfactant, the lungs begin to collapse. Then the body’s own fluids as well as those swallowed/inhaled, can seep into the lungs. This prevents oxygen and carbon dioxide from being exchanged and effectively cause the patient to drown. This can occur much later than the initial incident and without any more fluid being inhaled.
This is called dry drowning or secondary drowning.
The symptoms include: –
Difficulty in breathing
Pain when breathing (especially when taking deep breaths)
Symptoms are sometimes exacerbated when lying flat.
If you or your child has an incident in the water get yourself or the child checked out immediately by accident and emergency. However mild it is – better always to be safe.
And most important get yourself booked into a first aid a course and learn how to perform CPR it could really make the difference between life and death. Safe Training run a very good paediatric first aid course. (www.safeandsound.uk.net)
Are you a ‘pleaser’
Inside me is a bad girl that is just longing to be allowed out. So, the title ‘Are you a pleaser’ is, or was me.
Being a pleaser is learnt behaviour and learnt at a very young age. In my case probably around 5 when I realised – unconsciously — that my lovely mum was a bit vulnerable and needed protection so when I was at infant school and being bullied (the only Jew in the school who, of course was responsible for killing Jesus) rather than sharing this with my mother, my protector, I shielded it from her thinking it would upset her.
Psychologists would say that to feel safe and secure in our relationships, we stop focusing on our own needs and wishes and put all our energy into accommodating everyone else’s. That if we can prove to others that we are willing to make them our priority, we hope that they will in turn appreciate our efforts, bask in the glow of our love, and give that love back to us. Of course, at 5 I was not aware of this but it is all about an instinct for survival.
We can’t look after ourselves so we need to rely on our ‘care givers’ i.e. parents to do this and my behaviour was a way of ensuring that they would take good care of me. We learn through the clues that our parents give us — such as their moods and behaviour — which activities will reward us best. Take babies – what kind of reaction do babies get when they smile? They are adored, loved, cooed over and it gets them lots of positive attention. These early patterns of behaviour stay with us They are unconscious memories and once we learn how to secure love as a child those lessons stick with us as we get older, even if they are no longer our best option.
So that’s how some of us become ‘pleasers’. We believe from years of practice that if we want to get love then we must give it continuously which is all very well unless it suddenly feels like a one-way street. And this is not just in romantic relationships but all relationships – friendships, office relationships etc. In fact, the more strongly is a behaviour pattern in a relationship, the more likely we are to stick to these patterns in multiple relationships, as opposed to feeling able to choose which style is most likely to work to our benefit. That said and as this article is somewhat self-focused while I am a ‘pleaser’ my relationships I am pleased to share have not been one-way.
However, it is only now that I have the time to reflect on my behaviour. After many years spent juggling 3 sons, parents, work, and friends I now have the time to focus on my needs. The time is right to move forward. This third era of my life is exciting, scary, and certainly a bit out of my comfort zone. There is a great sense of freedom after 45 years of deadlines and responsibilities but there is work to be done and it is an ongoing process. Watch this space.
Walking along the footpath in Johnshaven in Scotland I came across Susan sitting under a tree. Noting my surprise finding a 60 year old lady in a flowery shirt and beautiful pearls surrounded by a suitcase on wheels, a primus stove, sleeping bag and writing in a note book she greeted me with
“I have been camping.” “What here,” I replied. “Yes I am a Nomad”
An hour later I gleaned some of her back story. Born in Liverpool she had lived in London, had five children, left some of them because of a mental breakdown and now found that the best way to deal with her depression was to be on the road. She described herself as a Nomad and indeed she was ‘not mad’ in fact this way of life was guaranteeing her sanity.
“This works for me.” she says, “no housework, no chores, nobody expecting anything from me and cheap. I also meet lots of interesting people – look you stopped to talk to me. So much better than sitting alone in a house watching tv and not seeing anyone for days,” she said.
She defied my expectations because she didn’t look like a bag lady and indeed she wasn’t one. She was an independent woman solving her mental health issues in her own way. Using her bus pass she could travel freely around and equipped with all she needed; a tent, warm clothes sleeping bag and enough food to keep her going, life was simple immediate and clearly worked for her.
What particularly stood out were the pearls and clothes which were decidedly not shabby. Instead a woman who presented as a very positive and engaging person. Had I come across a shabby, dirty looking woman I would have probably felt sorry for her whereas I felt the opposite and I wanted to know more about her life. She had found something that was real and sustaining for her.
I came away with a profound sense of hopefulness. There is an alternative, another way of living – maybe not as extreme as this but for Susan it was a way of dealing with loneliness and depression and re enchanting by connecting with the world.
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