I've been doing my lifeguard training for a week - 2 evening and 2 full days. another week of the same to go - and so far it's been pretty intense. It's been physically tiring: we've spent a lot of time in the pool, swimming up and down, swimming up and down toeing people, practicing different rescues, lifting people out of the pool - with and without the spinal board - we were in groups but still pretty heavy lifting, we've used poles, ropes and the 'Baywatch' style torpedo buoy etc etc. It been physically demanding and for my efforts I've got a beauty of a bruise on my left arm, bruised knees, a strain/sprain - I should really know the difference between the two - of my upper left arm/shoulder, aching neck and back - though that's pretty standard for me - and aches in places I never knew I had muscles. I also went to bed before midnight last night for the first time since... I don't know when.
But it's not just physically tiring. It's mentally tiring too. There's been a lot to remember. We've spent even more time in the "classroom" learning about signs and symptoms, practicing CPR, recovery position, slings and bandages etc than we have in the pool (where we have to remember all the different types of recovery etc). There is a surprisingly large amount of information that we are expected to take on board and we have to make sure that we know it all because we could literally be questioned on any of it.
It has certainly been a lot more intense so far than I expected it to be (I actually suspect that the job will be easier than the training? Hopefully I didn't just jinx it). So far the training has been very thorough and we haven't learnt everything yet. But then it really has to be doesn't it? After all we are being trained to save lives. People could quite literally have their lives in out hands one day. That's pretty intense when you think about it! So far everything about the course has been pretty intense but of everything I think the training has been most intense on my eyes.
Swimming in chlorinated water is horrible! I'm so used to swimming with a cap and goggles on. So it has been so weird doing all of our training without them. It does makes sense though. You need to be able to see and hear clearly at the side of the pool and you need to react and get into the pool as quickly and safely as possible if/when something goes wrong. I'm sure I'd probably swim towards a casualty better with googles on? But unfortunately you really don't have the time to waste putting them on. Maybe somebody needs to invent some sort of disposable contact lens that work like swimming googles without straps, protecting your eyes against the chlorine? (don't be stealing my idea now. that's my intellectual property haha). But until that happens lifeguards will just have to put up with swimming without googles by grinning and baring it. Which I'm sure is fine as a lifeguard from day to day as it doesn't seem that often - fingers crossed - that you're called into action where you have to get into the pool and save somebody from drowning. But during training where we are in the pool from anywhere between 2 and 4 hours - even though your head is out of the water for the large majority - it can be pretty brutal on the eyes.
Yesterday my eyes were killing me for hours - at least 3 to 4 hours - after the training had finished. It started in the car on the way home. Red, sore, itchy eyes that feel like everyone of your eyelashes is folded inwards and rubbing on your eyeball isn't exactly what you need while driving an hour home on the motorway. I had to stop for petrol at some point. I probably could have made it home without doing so but I had to use it as a chance to try and sort my eyes out, they were just too bad. The more they would itch, the more I would rub them and in turn the more I rubbed them the more they would itch. A vicious catch 22... but it's just so hard to leave them alone.
Like I said they carried on hurting like that for most of the evening and on top of that for a good couple of hours my vision was all hazy. It was a bit like I was wearing sunglasses indoors and somebody else's prescription ones at that. All foggy and a bit wobbly. Eventually splashing cold water in the eyes - hurts at first - for 100th painful time and another showered seemed to do the trick. The constant water in your ears is a bit of pain in the 'ear' too but it's my eyes that have really suffered - it's probably not that bad I'm just enjoying having a bit of a moan - but I think I might have to resort to the old cucumber on the eyes technique (as suggested by the seemingly only - even remotely - cute girl in the whole of Sale. Sorry girls of Sale I haven't actually seen much outside of the leisure centre). & I'll be looking forward to swimming with a cap and googles again soon. That's for sure!