Saturday, August 21, 2010

Employment possibilities. . .

I got tired of waiting for the county of my choice to call me, so I went to another county EMS with my resume and application. The person who hires and trains interviewed me on the spot and then asked me to go take a drug test. I said, "well, usually employers don't ask you to drug test unless they're going to hire you." She replied, "that's true."
I really need to get working. I've been continuing to study my text books and read stuff on-line so that I don't forget everything, but I really need to get into the field and work to gain the real skills it takes to be an EMT.
I'm really hoping this job works out and sometime in the next couple weeks I'm working on a truck.

Monday, May 31, 2010

When it's over it's over

After four months and hundreds of hours of classwork and study it's finally over. It all came down to a practical test that tested our skills art assessing patients and applying life saving techniques and then a two hour written test that gave us 100 situations to which we had to apply the right answer for assessment/treatment.
Yes, it was hard and it pushed my brain. Some of us didn't make it. The class was less than half the size it was when we started.
But I made it. I passed both the practical and the written with room to spare.
I have become a state certified EMT.

Friday, May 14, 2010

Finally, we're through the book

Four months and seemingly countless hours in class and we finally got through the 1200 page book. . . Emergency Care and Transportation of the Sick and Injured. . . whew.

One more week of class reviewing and going over procedures.

Then two days of testing. Written and practical.

Once again, all I can say is "this is the hardest fucking thing I've ever done academically."

Shock, cardiac emergencies, stroke, bleeding, fractures, diabetes, geriatrics and pediatrics, soft tissue injuries, anatomy, allergic reaction and anaphylactic shock, ambulance operations. . . and that's only a few of 39 chapters.

There was even one chapter on terrorist attacks!! Not that I spend 1 second worrying about terrorist attack during any day, but I got news for ya, if there's sarin in the air, nuclear contamination or a big ass fucking building is on fire and looks like it's going to collapse, I'm outta there. . . vamoose, gone, bookin, haulin ass real fast.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Fractures, broken spines and abdomenal injuries

OK, so you've got a patient who may have a spinal injury and you've got to get them out of a car. . . that's damaged. . . without further complicating any injuries they might have.
You've got to maintain the spine in a stable immobile position. In one smooth cool move you've got to get the patient out of the car and onto an immobilization board.
When you make this move you've got to do it without twisting the patient's back in any manner.
It's tricky, but possible. I did it twice this evening. I also learned how to immobilize a fracture. . . all kinds of fractures.
Another cool trick; what to do when someone's guts are hanging out. When the abdomen is cut open, no matter how big or small the incision, the intestines "always want to come out." It's called evisceration. Wanna see pictures?

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

A little hope yet

Whew, did patient assessments this evening. I blew through a patient exhibiting signs of cardiac distress without missing a thing. Then I stabilized and loaded a trauma patient onto a backboard.
I might be able to do this.

Monday, April 5, 2010

A taste of what testing will be like

Had A 100 question test tonight on three or four chapters. Questions like:

An organ or tissue may be better able to resist damage from hyperfusion if the:
a. the body's demand for oxygen is markedly increased
b. body's temperature is considerably less than 98.6F
c. systolic arterial pressure is at least 60 mmHg
d. heart rate is maintained at greater that 100bpm


A 27 yr old woman complains of stabbing pains in the right lower quadrant. Last menstrual period 7 weeks. Pelvic inflammatory disease 3 months ago. You should be most suspicious that this patient is experiencing:
a. acute apendicitis
b. intrapelvic infection
c. spo0ntaneous abortion
d. ectopic pregnancy

People were walking out with big shocked looks on their faces. WTF?! They want us to be doctors in 5 months?

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Lifting a cot and patient. . .

Worked with a cot and patient today. 81lb. cot and a 200lb. patient along with O2 bottle and various supplies make for a heavy load. Some of the women and some of the men even couldn't budge the loaded cot. When I was 35 I could have tossed it all over my shoulder. Tonight I had to really exert myself to lift the top end of the cot where all the weight was. You've got to have strength to do this work if you're going to work an ambulance.
Gotta build up some upper body strength and get rid of some of this excess belly fat.
Atkins diet, here I come again.

Monday, March 29, 2010

Real life stuff

This past Wednesday my wife went to step onto our boat and she slipped and slammed into the bottom of the deck. She made a really, really loud crashing sound and then yelled really loud "I broke my fucking arm." I went into EMT mode and got her layed out straight and lifed her hand away from her wrist she was holding and exclained "Jesus christ, you broke your fucking arm!!" Her hand was no longer directly aligned with her arm. Checked for feeling and movement in her fingers, looked for other trauma then got the boat tie down and got her up and moving toward the car.
Raced from Englewood, FL to Venice FL in record time. . . for me. Really, we got to the Venice Hospital in less than 15 minutes. . . 80 MPH on 776 and Highway 41 (yea, that highway 41).
She started to get dizzy and sick at the ER and her BP dropped. The EMT-P doing triage in the waiting room didn't seem to note those things. . . in fact, he wrote her diastolic down as 61 instead of 51. I corrected him and layed wifey on the ground and elevated her feet.
Long story short. . . hospital staff sucked. Surgeon who spent 2 hrs putting her wrist back together was great with lots of experience and impeccable credentials.
Me, I did OK, but found out why my father-in-law never treated his family. Too emotional. I got very emotional when I looked at the x-rays and then when I called our personal doc (who is also a good friend) and began describing everything to him.
I can't not personalize my family. Their pain and trauma is mine.

Patient assessment

Man, thought I had the shit down. Stepped up to the plate in class tonight ready to show the young 'uns how a brilliant motherfucker like me does shit and got SLAMMED!
Couldn't remember shit. Went through the whole assessment of a trauma patient without stabilizing the spine and administering hi-flo O2. Why? Because when you get up there you've either got to know the steps cold and automatic or you're gonna forget big parts.
Whew this is humbling.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Anaphylaxis and Diabetes

Wow, there are so many procedures to learn it's amazing. Each procedure has critical step that, if you skip one of them when being tested, you automatically fail the entire procedure.

Last class, we studied allergic responses(anaphylaxis) and diabetic emergencies. Who knew diabetes was so complex and allergic reactions could be so quickly critical. More assessment procedures with every chapter.

I was looking at some of the chapters in the book and there's a whole one just about nerve gasses?! Geez, what's the chance, but I'm going to have to crowd my brain with that info at some point.

It is always a bit unsettling when I realize that there are so many emergencies out there where the decisions I might make will determine whether a person lives of dies.
I'm gaining a profound respect for Emergency Medical people. . . some of whom I used to think were a bit slack jawed.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

How it all began

I'm a restless sort. I go from one thing to the next. It is a wonder that I managed to put enough years together to retire with a pension from a corporate job. Luckily some folks knew what an ADD over underchiever I was and kept me moving from on decent job to another over the years. So I've been retired for 9 years now and in that time period have been carpenter, legal investigator, cook, farmer, residential project manager, and a few other occupations that I'm not remembering right now. One thing I haven't done is anything related to my past profession. That sucked and will never be revisited.
So I'm sitting around a few months ago thinking that I really need to do something different that won't interfere with my farming and vacationing 4 or 5 times a year in Florida. . . so what else would I choose but to become an EMT. Hell, I've got a degree in biology, I've never had any trouble performing manual skills. In fact, my ability to perform manual skills is exceptional. Over the years I've done all sorts of complicated tasks in many various states of consciousness without a hitch. . . well, I just about crashed an airplane once, but that's another blog.
So I signed up for EMT classes at the local training center thinking "aw what the hell, this will be a breeze. Considering the slacked jawed yokels I've seen on medic trucks, I ought to be able to smoke this stuff and become the world's greatest EMT.
Hold on there ace, not so fast. I seemed to be forgetting the fact that I'm 56 yrs old and my brain aint quite as sharp as it used to be. . . or something, because this shit is getting complicated, intense and downright hard. There is tons of information to absorb, pages of procedures that have to be memorized and all sorts of skills that have to be mastered. This aint Red Cross first aid training here folks.
Patient assessments, medications, spine stabilization, all have about five or six different procedures that must be memorized step by step. Each of these procedures is up to 40+ steps long. There is indepth information on anatomy, handling patients, various types of emergencies (with procedures for each), legal issues, medications safety, vital signs and all those assessment procedures and that's just what we've covered in the first 6 weeks of class. We've got about 10 or 12 weeks left. The text is something like 1400 pages long. We're not 1/2 wat through yet.
This shit aint for slack jawed yokels!!!