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!!!