On a rare occasion, I go out in public, I have mastered the art of looking ahead with glazed eyes avoiding any eye contact with anyone. Like a hawk, I scan well ahead to see if there is anyone I vaguely know from my past.
Fear of further accusation is a serious issue for me. Moreover, the misinterpretation of my intentions, my gaze, or any intentions especially if I were to look at children or even adults. The short cut route through the children's park, behind my house, is an absolute 'no go' area. I walk on the opposite side of the road to avoid any interaction with anyone, especially children. When the small boy next door plays, in his back garden, sometimes on his own, I will organise my times to going out (for example, to hang the washing, etc,.) when he is not about. I froze completely one day (when he was about 4) as he climbed up and looked over the garden fence, with me having not realised he was there, he said: "Hello, what's your name?". I just scurried back into the house and said nothing. If I feel too anxious to going out, I will defer an activity and in the case of the washing, I will dry it on the radiators, with full central heating, even in the height of summer.
Throughout my professional career, much involved with Special Needs, I have always retained at least basic First Aid qualifications. In the late '80s during a road accident on the A303 my training and skills were fully tested, with a 4 car collision and 7 badly injured with one life-threatening. In the 90's I worked in a Residential Special School for those designated with 'Delicate and Complex Medical Needs'. Although we had telephone medical support from the 'Schools Medical Service', we had no nursing contingent (as many assumed). We had in residence 4 severe asthmatics, 5 epileptics who were subject to major seizures, and a range of controlled treatment conditions. So all said and done we all had direct involvement with intimate and critical care. I carry a 'First Aid' kit as a matter of course, in my car. Seems to me to be the sensible thing to do. In the past, if a child grazed themselves, I would announce that I am a First Aider and offer my support, without any hesitation.
We dealt on a daily basis with medical needs of which many would lead to hospitalisation of the child, periodically. The small staffing team had a thirst for training and at the time we met the legal requirements on facilities and training. Today such environments do not exist as legislation would not allow a non-medical staff to do the nursing care without formalised nationally recognised qualifications. Our routines were regularly interrupted with seizures and life-threatening asthma attacks. Today, children with severe conditions are either institutionalised or somewhat abandoned to the whims and fancies of the local areas support mechanisms.
My 'medical' training became quite extensive as a Non-medico and was well beyond 'this is how we stick a plaster on!' courses offered to care workers at that time or today. Injections, Anaphylaxis management, Defibrillation, Epilepsy Management, Drug identification, Diabetes Management, and many others lead to heaps of certificates to adorn my office wall. The most recent course I attended was in May 2012 and included; Trauma and Medical Emergencies, Extended Skills of Cannulation, Fluid Therapy, Advanced Trauma such as Chest, Abdominal, Head, and Extremity emergencies such as clot risk.
Other than me attending an oven burn (on my forearm), I have not used my 'first aid' skills since 2012.
A recent incident highlights my reticence to get involved (because of what has become a 'paranoid' concern of being wrongly accused of ill intent).
My only shopping times are reserved for nearly closing hours and these visits to the shops have become extremely rare. In my local high street, I was behind a mother pushing a buggy uphill with a small child. This was on an unstable pavement where she suddenly lost her traction. The buggy fell on its side against a shop window with the baby still strapped in it. The lady stumbled and went down on all fours. I froze completely. The automatic reflex reaction had gone. I wanted to involve myself but just could not engage. Said nothing and then walked on. Thankfully someone was crossing the road came to her aid. The following week, for me, was tortured by guilt and random tearful sessions, feeling so guilty that I not interceded; purely because of the emotional scarring in that I dare not get involved in case of any subsequent false allegation.