Thursday, December 30, 2010

Drinking and Driving: A Public Service Announcement

Its 5:30am and I am nearing the end of a 24 hour shift but I'm wide awake.

Today was pretty slow due to the fact that our unit was out of service after I inspected the tires to find the majority of them slick with no tread and one front tire with some cuts and a 1/2 inch chunk missing from it.

We didn't get into service until about 1:30 this afternoon. The calls consisted of a pretty minor MVC, some general body weakness calls, and a hospital to residence transfer, with the calls starting to slow about 11:30pm, when I decided that it was a good time to get some sleep.

The call that I want to talk about came in at about 3:00am dispatched as a major MVC with two patients located about 15 minutes away.

In route we met up with two engines from local fire department who were in route to the scene also. It looked like this one was going to be a doozy.

Arriving on scene, we found the vehicle on fire, but the fire department was starting to handle it. The first thing that went through our minds was "Oh geez, is the patient still in that vehicle?". We were lucky to see that a few of the firefighters were kneeling with our patient holding c-spine next to a ditch a good distance from the wreck.

It turned out that we would only have one patient. No one else was involved. As soon as I got the SMR gear and took a knee next to her, I could smell the alcohol, the most likely cause of the MVC.

We got her SMRd, assessed, loaded, and started setting up the monitor on her as well as her IV. All went well. The patient didn't appear to have obvious life threatening injuries. A few lacerations here and there, severe pain on the whole left side of her body to include her shoulder, ribs, and hip.

We were ready to take off code 1 to the local trauma hospital. Before taking off, I walked up to the vehicle to talk to the firefighters just to see if there might have been another patient and to see the damage to the vehicle, the fire of which was already put out by this time.

After confirming no more patients, I turned my attention to the vehicle. I couldn't help but notice that the engine was missing. As I looked closer, I found the engine inside the vehicle. It turns out that along with her intoxication, she said she started to get tired and may have fell asleep at the wheel. She impacted her car head on into a traffic signal pole (a very big one mind you). No airbag deployment, but she was restrained.

I felt that this was important information that might lead to injuries that we had not been able to see. I let the medic know and we changed our transport to code 3.

Now, I like lights and sirens, I like the adrenaline rush that I still get out of rushing to the patient. However, I don't have a hardon for it especially when I am driving lights and sirens with a patient in the back who is strapped to a backboard. I kept my speed just at 10mph above posted speed limits and did my best to give her a comfortable, yet hasty ride.

If you don't read anything else in this post, at least read this...

What I would like to say here for my friends or even people that I do not know that may be reading this is: Don't drink and drive.

I know you've heard it before, since before you could drink and before you could drive. This young lady was lucky. Even more fortunate was that fact that it happened on a rural road at 3am with no on around to be injured by her lack of judgment. Please don't put your life or other people's lives at risk. I hate calls like this. They could easily be prevented by crashing at the person's house, calling someone, or simply having the common sense to know that you have to drive home alone.

By the way, the young lady said she only had five beers. It doesn't matter. The next thing you know, you might be laying in a ditch with your life on the line. Even worse, you may not have your wreck in front of someone's house and be trapped in that burning vehicle.

Be smart and stay safe out there.

Sunday, December 26, 2010


I feel better about things now. After my bad day, I was worried that maybe I wasn't up to par to be working with a 911 company just yet.

This shift (48 hours) was fairly busy. Some attempted suicides, the regular respiratory complications, general body weakness calls, etc. I did everything right this shift.

I got in, did my vitals, spiked ivs, got the iv equipment ready before the medic told me, o2 and all that. I actually felt good when my partner praised me and said I was on top of things. It wasn't the same medic that I was with when I screwed up on my last shift but at least I know that if I work with him again, I'll be more confident.

The most interesting call of the day came in about an hour before my shift ended. We were dispatched to an MVC on the highway which turned out to be a hit and run involving a motorcycle who was going about 65. This was my first MVC with a good deal of trauma involved.

The patient was an older guy, possible dislocated shoulder, lacerations to the head, distended abdomen, with back and neck pain. All in all, I think he got off pretty lucky considering the mechanism of injury.

We got to him, assessed, SMRd, and transported code 3 to the local trauma hospital pretty damn quick. I'm not sure how the guy turned out afterwards, but I felt like he would make it through.

The guy was alert and said that the other vehicle got to close to him, probably a distracted driver, and sideswiped him and fled the scene without even stopping. It sure makes me think twice about ever wanting to own a motorcycle. They're just too dangerous.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Rookie Moves

Well, today was a rough day for me mentally. I was paired up with a medic, a good medic mind you, who seems to be strict and straight forward. He's not an ass, he's not out to get me, but he lets me know when I make mistakes and that I need to correct things.

I made a few good rookie mistakes in two calls. A big problem for me is that I have not had to do any EMT-Basic related skills since I finished class in September. Other than studying for my NREMT and reading up to refresh myself a bit, I've done nothing EMS related. I knew, coming into this job, that there would be things that I may have forgotten, or simply missed out on due to some time missed out at school.

The first thing that happened was on a call with an asthmatic patient. In the back of the unit, the medic asked me to set up an albuterol treatment. I'm sure we were taught this in class, but I'm pretty sure I missed out on it due to being out of class because of a family emergency. It was embarrassing when I had to tell him that I didn't know how. So I let the medic down by not knowing how to do a basic skill and he let me know. At that point, I was useless since he had to do that, plus set up the patient's IV.

From that point, maybe I was flustered and off of my game. On another call, the same day I made two mistakes. One being that I put the damn BP cuff on upside down and I put the EKG leads on incorrectly.

The professionalism of my partner is something that stands out to me. Instead of letting me know right away, in front of the patient and while I am driving, and instead of telling me in front the ER staff, and instead of telling me in front of the rest of the medics, he waited until we were in route back to station to let me know of my mistakes and that the mistakes that I made through the day are important basic knowledge and that I need to make sure that I know my job.

Mentally, I was bummed out. Like I said, I knew there would be things that I would need to refresh on and skills that need to be brushed up. I didn't want to come into this job with guys having years of experience and myself doing stupid stuff like this. I don't want to be "that guy".

I've talked to my instructor, who also works here, and I also went back and researched these skills and others to make sure that I don't make the same mistakes again. I know I'm not stupid. I'm a fast learner, but I am a hands on learner. I'm sure I'll make mistakes again in the future and I hope that whoever is there with me will give me constructive criticism.

I just don't want to be "that guy".

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Bwak Bwak Bwak!

I was thinking about some other calls that happened on my 48 hour shift the other day and I thought this one was a little funny.

We get dispatched to an MVC involving two vehicles.

Two of the four patients in one of the vehicles opt to go to the hospital due to a head laceration and neck/back pain. However, they're both standing, so we need to SMR and take them down on the backboard.

First of all, they were on their way to a party or something. They had a cake in the truck which must have exploded when they were hit because there was pink icing`everywhere. The patients had pink icing on them, we had pink icing on us, the unit had pink icing in it. It was all over the place.

The other basic and I were just about to take down one of the patients on a backboard and the medic was having a look at the other patient when, out of nowhere we hear "BWAK BWAK BWAK BWAK!" and this chicken leaps out of the truck and takes off down the road. The reaction of the medic was priceless. He wasn't sure what it was at first, but he did a little dance. The police, the patience, and ourselves were all laughing about it.

I'm guessing the chicken wanted to refuse transport.

Friday, December 17, 2010

First Shift

I just got finished working my first shift, a 48 hour weekend shift.

During this shift, I was supposed to be taking a crash course orientation in my responsibilities as a basic with the company. What I ended up doing was observing on a three man truck for the first half of my first shift, then driving on another truck with the medic attending and an experienced basic observing me.

On my second shift, I was let go on a truck with a supervisory medic.

Since then, just about everyone I talk to wants to let me know the proper ways to drive and what I need to be doing. A lot of it gets repetitive but I understand why. I'm making a point to be very cautions when driving calls, especially code 3 calls due to the high risk of being in a wreck. I already feel comfortable with the rig to be honest, but I don't mind getting more advice as it comes.

My very first call was something else. We were dispatched to a residence for a man with a "laceration to the head". I'm in the back of the unit on the way to the scene thinking, "I wonder if he was in a fight. Perhaps he was playing baseball and got knocked in the noggin. Maybe its an old man that tripped and fell". I was wrong.

Once we arrived, we were led through the house to the back yard where the patient was lying on the pavement with a good deal of blood around him and a towel covering his head.

It turns out the man was painting his house using some sort of scaffold stand and fell off, landed on the pavement, and the scaffold followed his lead, landing on him.

All in all he had a compressed skull fracture in the back of his head, every bone in his face was fractured, fractured right radius, fractured right ulna, fractured left wrist, shattered left elbow, distended abdomen (possible internal bleeding), and possible broken ribs (according to his complaint of rib pain). Oh yeah, and a laceration to the head.

Because of the fractured occipital bone at the rear of his skull, our medic opted to call in a helicopter to have him air lifted to the local trauma hospital. I think the risks of him bouncing on that fracture and driving at a slow pace to keep that from happening called for this option. I think it was a good call. It sure was interesting to witness also.

Due to the fact that both of his arms were splinted, they medics tried to find a vein in his feet to no avail. One IV was attempted in his neck shortly after arriving to the landing zone a short distance from his residence, but it didn't work out.

The flight medics jumped in the unit and made the decision to give him an intraosseous IV using the EZ IO drill. I had studied about it in school but I never got to see it performed, of course. Its an experience that I hope I never have to feel for myself. It sure looked painful.

I don't want to say that it was an "exciting" experience. But I sure was wondering how I would react to a real trauma call. I had been nervous as hell. I feel like I handled it well. I fumbled a bit with things just because I was nervous, but I wasn't disturbed by the injuries or the situation. It made me feel confident about future emergencies.

I found out later that night that this patient was air lifted out to a major city for better treatment. I hope he pulls through.

All in all, I think everything went well on this day. We had other calls, but this one was my first, and I'm sure I'll always remember it.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

My First Day

Today was rather mundane. It was just orientation consisting of myself and a new paramedic learning how to fill out their paperwork, watching a powerpoint presentation on safe ambulance driving practices, and a few other equipment tutorials.

I start work tomorrow, Saturday and I will be pulling a 48 hour shift for my first shift.

From what I've gathered, I'll be riding along with another crew and observing mainly for driving reasons.

The company seems to be hard up for drivers at the moment and it sounds like I'll be doing an accelerated field training to get me on a truck with a medic as soon as possible.

I'm a little nervous because I haven't really done anything related to EMS since studying for my NREMT exam in November.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

I'm Working!

Well, the day finally came. I'm hired. I spoke with a friend who works at the company as a supervisory medic and he forwarded my application on to the operations director.

I had my interview today and everything went well. I'm basically in. I'll be taking a quick trip out of town to visit my family for two days, then come back and start work.

I will be working for a 911 company that is contracted to a city of about 75,000 plus surrounding towns.

I'll be working a 24 on, 48 off rotating shift. That will give me 72 hours one week, and 48 hours the next week, rotating. There are tons of hours available and I should be able to pick up any shifts on my 48 hour weeks.

I'm looking forward to getting some emergency experience in and moving ahead with my career.

If anything interesting happens, I'll be sure to write.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Sitting, Waiting, Wishing

There have been no updates because... well... There have been no updates! :D

I am patiently waiting to hear from the EMS company that I have applied to. I have people that work there that have allowed me to use them as references and right now it is just a matter of being patient. This is a 911 company and it is what I am interested in doing, versus an all-interfacility company.

Hopefully I will hear from them soon and get my career on the road.

In the meantime, I am brushing up on my EMT knowledge that I have not been able to practice yet. I don't want to start working, almost 3 months after finishing school and not remember all that I had learned.

If anything happens, I will update it here ASAP.

Stay safe!

Monday, November 8, 2010

Still Waiting

I passed my NREMT-B exam back on November 26th. Yay!

As of now, I am just playing the waiting game to get approved for my state certification. I guess they have paperwork to do and all that stuff.

I've been checking online about 10 times a day to see if my certification has gone through yet. I cannot wait to get to work.

There isn't much to update. If anyone is curious how the NREMT-B exam was, all I have to say is read over the chapters in your book that pertain to the subjects on the test, Trauma, Bleeding, Medical Emergencies, Airway and Breathing, Pediatrics, Obstetrics... And I think that may be it.

Just refresh your memory in general. Don't put off taking the test too far after you've completed your class. Also, try to sign up for some online practice tests.

Don't use It was alright and it did help me on more than one of the real questions on the test, but after taking about 2-3 practice tests, you begin to get the same questions over and over. So, their "improvement" system is flawed. Yes, you get better scores, but it is because you already have their questions memorized.

Just take practice tests, read the rationale for the answer, and understand it.

I'll update when I receive my certification.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

"Medication Seeking," he mouthed...

I finished my last ride outs which were, again, pretty uneventful.

The one that stood out the most was a woman who was complaining of a severe headache and her husband said she was shaking. Upon entering the house, you could hear her moaning and making unintelligible noises from another room. The look on the EMT-Basic's face as he looked into the room was priceless. Just by that look, I knew he was either seeing something totally serious, or something that had him wondering why we were even there.

The woman was in bed, having what appeared to be seizures. I've never personally seen someone have seizures before, but this seems to be what she was going for. Her eyes were darting in many different directions, her speech as cut off as she jolted in all sorts of directions. Amazingly, her husband was able to assist her to walk to the stretcher as she had her fit, before our guys could do anything.

Turns out the husband is familiar with the EMS line of work. We loaded her up, my preceptor and myself in the back. The basic and the husband up front. Her BP was fine, her HR was fine, her pulse-ox was fine. But she said she was in horrible pain. The husband shouts through the window, "She needs atropine, or maybe morphine." (or something to that effect). When I heard "morphine" coming out of a guy's mouth who doesn't look like I'd trust on the street, I felt something was up. Nevertheless, I watched as my preceptor did his thing.

My preceptor yelled back to him, "I cant give her morphine if she's not in pain". Now, from the time we picked the lady up, she couldn't speak a single word clearly. But "I AM IN PAIN" came out clear as a bell. At which point the paramedic said that he could not give her morphine for a headache.

As we settled in for the ride, I looked over where he was sitting behind the head of the patient. "Medication seeking," he mouthed.

It all made sense to me now. This was my first "frequent flyer". Turns out this couple calls fairly frequently for absurd injuries to try and get to the hospital for meds. I had read about this in blogs, books, forums, but I kind of never thought about how I would ever know if a patient was trying to scam me out of medication. I'm not a paramedic, so I really don't know the indications or contraindications of morphine, atropine, etc.

But everything started to fall together. From what I had learned, I was kinda of under the assumption that someone who was having seizures. Unless these were some severe seizures, I never noticed a tonic clonic phase, or any sort of break in the convulsing. Her convulsing, also, was just that; It seemed to me like she needed a priest to perform an exorcism more than she needed a pair of EMTs.

In the long run she got to the hospital, it looked as if they were starting an IV line on her as we did our paperwork. Whether she got what she wanted or not, I don't know.

What I do know is that I do not want to be to quick to judge someone for medication seeking. Not at least until I know what I am doing. However, it sickens me that people do this. This was a code 3 call. We rushed to get there, ran red lights, and the works to make sure we got to this lady in time. All because she wanted some morphine.

On a lighter note, I am done with class. I got my class certificate today. I have applied for my national exam and I'll be waiting to take that soon, then play the waiting game before my state certification comes in. Wish me luck on my test!

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Thinking Ahead

So I've started to think about my future in EMS. That means I have a lot more questions that need to be answered.

The current program that I have been going through for my EMT-Basic may be offering a 10 month paramedic course sometime next year.

However, I have been reading, listening, and learning that many colleges may have better education standards than the program that I am currently going to. Also, here in Texas you must have a two year college degree to be a "Licensed Paramedic" versus an EMT-Paramedic. They both do the same jobs, and from what I have researched, they get paid the same. I think it is just Texas' way of promoting higher education within the EMS system.

Paramedic title aside, it still comes down to quality of education. Perhaps a local college could have given me a better EMT-Basic education. To be honest, EMT-Basic knowledge and practice is so simple that monkeys could be doing the job. I am fully confident that I learned what I needed to learn and I can perform my duties.

However, the local colleges here have had classes for some time now. Compared to a new program, they may have higher standards. Then again, perhaps the new course that they are setting up will be a good one. It doesn't have a reputation yet.

I just want to make sure that I get a good education. I don't want to be a victim of an EMT mill. (Not saying that my program is one)

The thing about going to an associates degree in emergency medicine is that I would probably have to take the full course. That means I will have to repeat the EMT-Basic curriculum. I'll need to talk to the campus on that, but if it means I will be a better paramedic in the future, then so be it.

I will also explore the program that may be coming available. If it is comparable to the local associates degree in experience, education, high quality curriculum, and plenty of clinical hours, then I may give it a try.

If you're looking to become an EMT or a Paramedic, I strongly suggest you research your local programs. Ask your EMT friends about their opinions. If you don't have any EMT friends, call or visit some local stations and ask. Initial education as well as on-going education is very important in this career field. It is your responsibility to make sure that you can be the best that you can be.


Apparently there is some form of miscommunication on the student ride-along scheduling. I arrived at the station to find out that all of the four available rigs had students on them, and another student was waiting on station to take turns with what rigs came back from calls.

Instead of waiting around all day, trying to take turns, I opted to go in on Monday, when it is supposed to be busy and 7 trucks will be available.

Not too happy about the wasted gas but what can ya do. I'm going to go in next week and arrive an hour early.

I did get some information about companies that are hiring and I might have an opportunity to get hired as soon as I am certified. So that is good news.

Friday, October 1, 2010

My Little Medic

Little Rylan is here!

My son was born on September 14th at 9:04pm. He weighed 9lbs 6oz, measured 23 inches long. What a behemoth. Veronica did awesome and made a brave choice is having a VBAC (Vaginal Birth After Cesarean) because she wanted to have the experience of regular birth.

So, if you have read my recent posts and wondered why I am behind, or why I have not been posting, this is part of the reason. This guy is a handful, however, I am SO close to being done with school and we are getting a bit more used to him being around that I feel like I can be gone for 12 hours to finish my last ride-along and be done.

My final exam went well, so the only thing holding me back from completing my class is this last ride-along. After that I will have to take the NREMT Basic exam and I should be in business! My ride along is tomorrow, I will update afterwards!

My First Ride Along

I completed my first ride along at Valley EMS a few weeks back.

It was a 12 hour shift from 8am to 8pm. Aside from the fact that every call we got was a code 3, lights and sirens, speeding down the road, adrenaline filled experience; the day was quite boring.

After I got to the station, met with the medics I would be riding with, and got settled in, everyone went to a local restaurant to have some breakfast. About halfway through the meal, our unit gets its first call. Code 3, lady in a local supermarket "fell". We're out the door, don't even pay, and on our way down the road lights and sirens. The adrenaline rush was great.

I was so excited to be going on my first call, and nervous about what I would expect and if I knew what I should do when we get there. The two medics worked great as a team as they approached intersections and navigated through morning traffic on the main streets. I felt like I was on a carnival ride as I sat on the jump seat in the back.

Then it got quiet. The rig slowed down and I leaned forward in the cab to hear the medics griping. The call was canceled and we were on our way back to pay for our breakfast.

I'm not sure what I got into but back at the station I had an overwhelming urge to "do my morning poo". You know that feeling you get when you're some where new and you need to go #2? You're nervous about your surroundings, you don't know the people, nor if the bathroom that you're looking at is even the one that you're allowed to use. Now add the fact that at any time while you're trying to "make it happen" on the pot, a call could come in and then you've REALLY got to go.

This was my predicament. I waited about an hour or so, nervous that I would sit down and get comfy on that porcelain throne, then get a call midway through. I finally came to the conclusion that the shift was at a slow point, and I had the time, so I went... And sure enough, it happened. Murphy's Law.

"STUDENT! STUDENT!" I guess they hadn't learned my name yet. I yelled from the bathroom, wiping frantically, telling them that I was coming. I ran out the door to the rig, just as they were ready to drive away.

It was another code 3 call. Difficulty breathing. We started rolling, I just buckled in when we stopped and they started to get out. I jumped out the back of the rig, looking at the station we just left (which sat just across the street). Our code 3 was waiting for us at a local doctors office, yes, right across the street from the station. The poor old man had some short, labored breathing, probably had a mild state of dementia, and was contracted to the shape of his wheel chair.

I helped the medics lift him from his chair on to the gurney and we left. In the rig I took what vitals I could. I was really there for observation, but I wanted to get that experience. I found that it was much harder to listen for breath sounds, and to get the blood pressure in a moving vehicle.

After that call we sat around the station for a good few hours. The guys joked around with eachother. I got to get a little insight to "intra-facility politics" and the like, but I found it mostly humorous. Most of the guys seem pretty cool.

We finally got another call. Code 3, lights and sirens, waaaay out in the boonies, lady having difficulty breathing. Turns out that she had congestive heart disease and was probably in the midst of having treatment for it. No obvious vital signs out of whack or anything but a mean case of pedal edema, which I got to check out first hand. It ended up being a typical BLS call.

Call 4. I'm not sure what the call was, but it was cancelled.

Then at last, an adrenaline call. Motor vehicle collision, we were off again. We get to the scene, it really is a minor collision. They probably hit each other going about 20mph. By the time I get the bag down and join the medics, the people involved have already refused transport. Another busted call. Strike two.

(Let me stop for a minute... Some of you might be reading and thinking, "This guy is twisted. Wanting stuff to happen to people?" That isn't the case. The fact is, things are going to happen, no matter what. I know this career isn't all adrenaline, blood and guts, and saving lives. But I have to experience 5 successful emergencies calls this day, and the day was going rather slow. I was also ready to get some experience in. So please don't think that I wish harm upon other people. I really just want to be able to learn so that when I am out there on my own as an EMT, I will have better knowledge of how to do my job.)

After spending more endless hours at the station, we get another emergency call. A child has fallen out of a grocery cart right on his head. This really was a basic call. The poor kid had a good knot on his head, and normally we would have immobilized his spine, but considering that he was intent on grasping onto his mother, we felt that placing them both on the stretcher would suffice.

Everything I read about head injuries in my text book pointed to c spine immobilization! c spine immobilization! c spine immobilization! But if we would have tried to immobilize this young child, who was already shy as hell and wondering what was going on, he would have made any spinal injury, if any, much worse. I hope he just got away with that bump and nothing else. He seemed to be doing alright.

I have one more shift of ride alongs to do, which I will be doing tomorrow. You can be sure that I will post those stories here as well. Hopefully I will get more hands-on experience as it is a Saturday...


It has been quite a long time since my last post and unfortunately, so much has happened that I will not be able to outline every aspect of class for those who might be interested. So I'll just outline the major events up until now to get everyone caught up.

Some time in July my Grandfather fall, broke his arm, and had a bout with a blood infection. My grandmother has multiple sclerosis and she relies heavily on my grandfather to do daily chores around the house. So, I took a flight out of town to help out with the family for a week or so. During that time, I got behind in school.

When I got back, I was a little down that I had fell behind. It took a few weeks to get myself into gear about getting caught up. It ended up being a week long study marathon to get me caught up (or so I thought). I was sure that the class was nearly over.

However, when I got to class I found that I was now 15 chapters ahead. I had completed all of my online exams and read every chapter in the book. All I had left to do was my ride-alongs, and my final exams...

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Trucking Ahead

Instead of spending the day at home with all of my regular distractions like the computer, TV, and food, I spent the day at Barnes and Noble's studying and I'm damn proud of myself.

I trucked on through three more chapters, came home and took all three exams all at 90% or above. (Neurological Emergencies, Diabetic Emergencies, and Acute Abdomen)

Neurological studies have always kind of intrigued me. I really enjoyed what I learned in that chapter and appreciate the complexity of the brain. I guess that was my favorite chapter.

School tomorrow and I'm now five chapters ahead. I might do a day at Barnes and Noble's again. What a productive day.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

I'm Finally Ahead!

Today we went over patient assessment. For some reason (I blame it on Hurricane Alex and other distractions), this chapter didn't sink in when I was reading it at home and I got a 76% on my exam for this specific chapter.

After my week out due to being drugged up, and the past week off due to the hurricane, I wasn't sure what chapter we were even on. In the meantime, I had been trucking along reading chapters and completing exams.

I was glad to know that we were going to be doing the patient assessment chapter so that I could go over all of it again with much less distraction. I think it helped, but I'm still going to go over the chapter in my book at least once more. While it is a boring read, it is an important part of EMS, I am sure.

After talking to people in the class, I realized that I am getting stuff finished faster than some of the others in class, which was my goal. I'm now 4 chapters ahead and hope to be 6-7 ahead by our next class in two days.

My goal is to do 2-3 exams per day and finish this class out early. I know I need to learn before I can be a good EMT and I shouldn't "rush it" but I feel like the 8 hours a week in class just isn't enough for me.

I'm not saying I'm uber smart, just that I'm not working, and all I'm thinking about is learning more, finishing exams to test my knowledge, and wanting to get out there and work.

So, if I seriously get 2-3 exams done each day (which I doubt I will) I could be finishing up by the middle of the month. I'd say the end of the month is a more realistic goal. Even then I still have to do my ambulance rotations (10 emergency calls. 5 as an observer and 5 as a lead medic) which I am a bit nervous about

I really don't want to screw anything up and I doubt I will. I'm a hand's on learner and this is a hand's on business.

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Week Off

Hurricane Alex gave us a week off from school this week. I have still be studying and taking my online exams to get caught up. I am proud to say that I am now ahead of the class.

Last night I cracked the book to start on General Pharmacology. Finally, we are getting into some stuff that interests me. Yes, yes, I know, it is all equally important. I understand the importance of documentation, communication, EMT safety, baseline vitals, patient assessment, but it doesn't grasp my attention like these other subjects will. I can't wait.

On another note, I'm already scared of the NREMT exam. I had been reading on some forums the other night about people who had failed. Some examples included a person who had failed it three times and paramedics with 15+ years experience failing it. I mostly read that it is just how the questions are phrased. I think the best option is to get a book or two that directly focuses on the NREMT and study that separately when the time comes.

My recent entertainment has been listening to fire/ems scanner broadcasts from around the country, live and online. I find it interesting to hear all of the different calls that come out. I mainly listen to Houston Fire/EMS.

If you're interested you can check it out on then click on Live Broadcasts.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Week Four - Day 1

Yesterday was a lot of fun. Rather than going through a lecture and powerpoint presentation like normal, we split up into groups to do some practical skills.

I started off learning how to do a traction splint. I actually was the victim, which I liked because I learn better that way. I know how it might feel (I'm sure it must be much more painful) so when it is my time to actually do it, I feel like I know a bit more about it.

After that we went outside (so that we could get a feel of the environment) and worked on immobilizing the spine, logrolling the patient, and getting them secured and lifted on a backboard.

That whole deal was fairly amusing. Originally, our group of five, didn't learn the c spine or c collar placement as the other groups did. So when one of our guys was in charge of the c spine and calling the roll, not only did he not know that placing the c collar goes first, but when he called the roll, he didn't think to roll the "patient's" head also. The result ended up looking like something out of the exorcist with the "patient's" head still looking up, but her body rolled on the side. We all had a good laugh for about 5-10 minutes. The poor guy.

All in all it was a good, fairly relaxing day. We wore uniforms to school so I got a feel of how new boots feel like crap while you're keeping a patient's spine immobilized while the rest of the team does their job. I enjoyed it a lot.

I've still got some catching up to do. Studying chapters right now so I can complete some exams. My goal is to get a bit ahead of the class, but we'll see.

Friday, June 18, 2010

Week Three?

I don't even know how far along it has been. I guess it is week three.

I missed out on last week due to one of my wisdom teeth pushing in. I spent the week drugged up on pain killers. (Don't have insurance, can't afford to have it taken out)

I turned in a late assignment only to be greeted with another late assignment, but I am caught up now.

I finally got my book in. We are studying out of Emergency Care and Transportation of the Sick and Injured 9th Edition. I thought I was getting a good deal online when I purchased it for $35.00 ($80 retail). When it got here, it was just the workbook! So we threw another $80 at the actual book and I finally got it in Wednesday.

We've gone over EMT ethics, roles and responsibilities as an EMT, lifting and carrying techniques, anatomy, some focus on the anatomy and physiology of the heart and respiratory system, and just last night, managing airways.

I've got a lot of reading to do. The week I missed was when we were first going to get into the book and I missed out on getting ahead like I wanted to. So this weekend I am going to try and read up on those SEVEN chapters, and get two more chapters ahead.

Veronica and I are going to go medical supply shopping today or tomorrow, whee! I am expected to show up to school in full uniform next week to start doing skills such as lifting, airway management, splinting, etc. So I need to get ahold of some pants, a belt, and hopefully some shiny new black boots.

I'm liking everything so far. I haven't been able to log in to take any tests though due to technical difficulty on my school's end, but that will just give me extra time to study, which I need to. School is starting to look like a daunting task, but the prospect of working as an EMT is still something that I am very excited about.

Friday, June 4, 2010

Week One

Well, as I suspected, things are kinda slow right now.

I missed the first day of class due to signing up late, but I didn't miss much. They talked about vital signs and all that fun stuff, which I had already been reading about for a good week or so before I even knew about the class.

Tuesday we went over basic medical terminology. That is to say, we talked about the Latin prefixes and suffixes for a few medical terms. Other than that, just some basic stuff like body positioning, the electrical characteristics of the heart, proper lifting technique. Before we left we took turns in teams working on lifting the gurneys first empty, then with various weight on it.

Yesterday was our CPR certification class. I invited Veronica with me since she was whining that she would spend the evening alone without me. Plus, she could probably use the knowledge at work sometime.

CPR class was cake. I actually enjoyed it also. I know that I learned a lot and I feel confident that I could put it to use some day. I must say that I'm not too excited about the prospect of having to do CPR on a baby some day. Even the thought of it while watching the instructional video was a bit depressing.

We crack the book and start taking tests next week. I'll update then.

Happy weekend!

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Day 1 - The First is Always the Longest.

Well, today is my first day of classes for my EMT training. For the past few months I've been very excited to get started.

I've never really been interested in going to school. I dropped out of high school in 10th grade, got my GED, and entered the military. After that I just jumped from job to job. School never really crossed my mind.

Recently, however, I've been itching to get some sort of education and a serious job. I wanted to have a meaningful job. I like to see results. I first thought of going to school to be a mechanic or paint/body. Those are things I enjoy. During the same time, I started contemplating life as a paramedic.

Eventually the paramedic route won out, although even just a few days ago I looked back at automotive work, but nah...

As a child I used to think about being a doctor. After I got my GED I was pretty discouraged at the thought of school so those dreams went away. I really just want to help people. I'm not naive, I know medics don't go around "saving lives". Sure, it happens, but I'm sure it doesn't make up the majority of the work.

I just want to have a meaningful job and feel like I have accomplished something. (I'm not saying that you, Mr McDonalds Drive-thru clerk, are not important. We need you. This is just my personal preference)

Back on track now; This is the decision I have made. I'm excited to be starting out learning all of my EMT-B material and getting out there and working. I'm sure I will continue on to get my EMT-I and EMT-P as soon as I can, but that is a good bit into the future.

I need to leave in thirty minutes to go to class. I'll probably keep this updated fairly often as I learn more or want to share my experiences.

Oh, and before I go: Mad props to my girlfriend, Veronica for supporting me, dealing with all of my immature B.S., and putting me into school. Her interest rates are very fair so it shouldn't take too long to pay her back.
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