A Little Update

Well, I have had 3 days of pretty much solid EMT(I took a short break Firday night to watch my first John Wayne movie, Sands Of Iwo Jima) Either working on an exam, studying or being in class. Saturday was 8-5 practicals. Sunday was a double shift of riding the ambulance, 0730-2200.  The shift was 0800-2300, but we always show up 30 minutes prior in order to check the ambulance. We got back from a call at 10pm, so they just sent us home.

So far things I have learned…

While valuable and necessary, very little of what we learn in class is done in the field. The medical stuff is, but not the procedure part.

In a firehouse there is a crap load of junk food everywhere one turns and for some reason I kind of want to eat it(For the most part I resisted).

Very often what people think is their emergency rarely is. Not that they are not in need just what they call for isn’t always their most pressing issue.

When a gentleman over the age of 70 calls you “hot honey”, it’s enduring.

There are neighborhoods that give me pause.

There is A LOT of down time.

The people running calls in my town seem to be very competent and caring.

Even though I don’t do much more than vitals, oxygen, comforting of patients and helping lift/move, I am exhausted!

I am both more confident and more terrified to take my exam.

My husband and I make a good team.

Some things you can’t prepare for.

It is an awesome responsibility to be trusted with the care of another person(I already knew this, but still…).

24 thoughts on “A Little Update

  1. I vividly recall traveling to Nashville TN for my EMT Ambulance and Hospital Practical’s. The ambulance part wasn’t that big of a deal because I’d been working as a police reserve for a little over a year and had prior disaster and first aid training and experience. The hospital portion was a huge eye opener, cleaning and prepping homeless persons and street vagrants for treatment, providing hand’s on medical treatment to patients under supervision of an RN or Surgeon (probed and cleaned a deep thoracic stab wound, then stuffed it full of ribbon gauze and a drain tube), dealt with prisoners and jailers. It convinced me my interests lay more in LE than EMS.

  2. “While valuable and necessary, very little of what we learn in class is done in the field. The medical stuff is, but not the procedure part.”

    I am curious about that, what you consider the “medical part” and what is the “procedure part.” I found it was true that individual steps of the standard approach (e.g. responsiveness, ABC, SAMPLE, and all that) get jumbled a bit, but generally we followed the overall flows. Sometimes…often times…patients make it difficult to stay on track, they are throwing out things willynilly, sometimes you have to firmly/gently take charge and walk them through exactly what the problem is.

    At first I found it frustrating (as an EMT-trained first responder) to do an assessment and patient history, then when the box arrived with the paramedics, the patient would add three or four things he hadn’t told me. That turns out to be pretty common throughout the medical experience. On one of my ride-outs, the patient added a new item from her medical history about every 30 seconds all the way to the ER. “Oh, in 1983 I had brain surgery.” “Oh in 1998 I had pneumonia.”
    :)

    And yes, large number of calls are not really emergencies. Have you heard the term “frequent flyer” yet? Some are in the hypochondriac category, some are just on a bad health glide path. Once over a two or three year period, we watched a woman drink herself to death. She lived way out in the sticks, so it was a long ride. She would get a load of Franzia on board, start vomiting blood, or sometimes just lose mental control, and call 911. Lather Rinse Repeat at increasingly short intervals. Until one night she got her ride around midnight, was released shortly thereafter, and we got another call from her housemate at 0800 because she was dead. She was much younger than me, was very sad.

    On a funnier note, while I was doing my stints in the ER, I once got put in charge of a prisoner. I think the deputy mistook my volunteer fire department uniform (dark blue epauletted shirt with gold badge, dark blue 5.11s, boots) for hospital security. Deputy said, “Hey watch this guy a minute” and went out side to make a cell phone call. I was thinking “Yeah sure, if he runs I will watch him run right out the door” (as long as he didn’t try to hurt anyone). But he really had appendicitis, so wasn’t interested in bailing out. :)

    • Yep, that pretty much was my point. In class they teach a very specific way to do SAMPLE etc, in order to pass the test, but in fact in the field things go like that. As I said, the info is very important and valid, but is not realistic in the field. Which is pretty much how everything is. Learning a foreign language in class is good. It teaches vocab and syntax etc, but no native user of said language speaks that way. Can’t teach every nuance, circumstance, idiom etc in a year or two or 4. It’s a base and then the person has to go use it.

      I have heard the term frequent flier and I am sure we have some, but I haven’t had those. My point was that people very often think x is what is wrong, when it is actually y. Not a judgement just something I hadn’t realized before.

      The list wasn’t really a specific all inclusive wrap-up of all EMT’s and situations. It was just a little light hearted update on what “I” learned/experienced in my very short time running.

      Funny story. I am with you…not chasing a man who is in custody if he tries bolts:)

  3. Oh, and a p.s. on the (apparent) differences between what you learn in class and what you see in the field:

    Remember when it comes to test time, in class or the NREMT exam, the exams are based on the book and what you learned in class, not on what you actually experienced in the field. While theoretically there shouldn’t be a lot of difference, the exam question is based on the specific teachings, scenarios, and treatments of “the book,” and have a fairly narrow definition of “right answer,” so don’t clutter up your mind with all the exceptions and shortcuts of the field.

  4. Um… if you’re going to be a John Wayne fan, you MUST watch “The Man Who Shot Liberty Valence.” (Have a box of Kleenex handy.)

  5. good luck on your exam. Isnt it funny…Senior and I can argue and this and that, but when we work together on a job we actually do quite well as a team too.

    • Thank you!

      Yep, it’s nice when a couple can come together. I know some cant work together and that’s fine, but I am glad we can.

  6. Just remember to watch your butt(s) in the field… YOU are the only one that gives a damn about YOUR survival, especially on accident scenes! And concur with the book answer when you go for your NREMT exams!!!

    Junk food??? Hell we used to get BBQ, etc on a regular basis, only problem was every time spaghetti was served, we got toned out… sigh…

    • I promise we will watch our butts:) My goal is to stay alive and surviving a bad guy encounter is not my only concern. Thanks for the good advice, as always!

  7. Kudos to you for going through this training,and giving up your weekends and working such long days.Not many will put themselves through that,and strive to make themselves more qualified,more prepared, people.You (like your Marine) are heroes,even if you don’t choose to think of yourselves that way.
    Bill

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