Keeping Promises

I’m big on keeping any promises I make. In my eyes, if I tell you I’m going to do something, I wouldn’t consider myself much of a person if I didn’t do it. And to that extent, one of my promises to someone is getting closer to fruition.

I took my classroom Paramedic Final Exam… 196 questions, all multiple choice, with parts from every section of that giantass purple book. I finished it in just under an hour… I’ve spent the last two weeks going over every page of notes, every review and exam online. I’ve looked at books that aren’t required reading, some that I’ve been told are way above what I need to know (which of course makes me even happier to read them). All to be ready for this exam. When I finished, I was tempted to go over all the questions, just to double check. Then I remembered that I am much better at trusting my gut instinct than to question what I do.

To that end, when I finished, I made sure the Scantron was ready to go, and then damn near flung it at my instructor and walked out. I was so freaking nervous when I walked out. I spend time pacing outside and I think my first twitter was… wait, let me pull it up.

“Oh dear god oh dear god… 196 questions in just under an hour… Either I suck or I kicked ass… One of the two. Freaking out now!”

I was so freakign worried about it… I just don’t like tests, I get almost physically sick… and I almost puked afterwards. Oh? What’s that? What did I get on it? Well… my intructor that was testing us came outside to get me, and told me he needed to talk to me. He told me I didn’t do nearly as well as he’d hoped I would, and then showed me a score of 47. I swear my heart sunk in my chest and I felt like looking for the nearest cliff to jump off of. Then I noticed it said ‘Section Grade’. And I thought “Wait… there were 4, 50 question sections to that test” and I think he saw my face so he just started laughing at me.

Turns out…. 87% on the written final! I was so freaking happy I couldn’t get words out. Turns out I was also the highest written grade on the test :) Now I start the long process of clinical and internship shifts. Which my first 14 hour shift is in TX Saturday starting at 0800 or so. I plan on being done, tested, and raped by the state of NM and NREMT and be a TX, NM, and NR certified paramedic by the middle of Feb. Let’s do this shit :) Now it’s the fun part.

But first, tonight I get to have fun. I get to go to this beautiful girls graduation party tonight. She is graduating with her BS from a local university, and I figure I wanna spend time with her, plus it’s a chance to relax. I’m just glad I passed the final or this party would be a little less fun :p

Oh, and in other news…. Ya’ll know this yea has not been the best for me. And this holiday season feels rather empty for me as well. I was asked by a friend of mine, a medical professional that used to be quite active on Twitter under an older name, to help her and do a guest post on suicide prevention and recognition. I was flattered that Dani would ask me, and I said yes. It was a hard post to write, but it’s one that needed to be written. And in writing it, I think it helped me a little bit too. Ya’ll can go take a look here (click the image):

My guest post

For Some, Its NOT the Most Wonderful Time of the Year – Part One

 

Alright, well I’m out for now. I need a nap before tonight :p That drive to and from TX sucks lately :p Ya’ll stay safe

Ow

I’m still alive, I promise. Although with how I spent last night I was wishing I wasn’t. Have you ever noticed that medical providers are the worst patients? Well, I know I was last night until they could get me to stop throwing up and ease my pain a little bit. Fast forward to about 6 this morning and I’m told that I have an even bigger gallstone than they’d seen the last time. Guess one of the things on my list to do is try to eat better and eat more regularly.

So… because of that I missed class this evening. I’m still feeling like crap. But I’m getting better. I’m gonna try to make that long drive down to TX tomorrow to make it to Friday’s class. I hate missing time in class for stupid stuff like this. But I have gotten some homework done today. It’s trauma sessions in class this week and next week, then we have a weekend PHTLS course which sounds like a lot of fun 😀

But I also keep getting distracted by CoEMS (FRN.tv) Seat at the Table which does me no good getting things done :p But hey, I’m still expanding my education. Just not quite in the way my instructors even think in. Or the majority of my classmates for that matter.

All of you CoEMS/EMS2.0 types out there reading this, any tips on how to get instructors to acknowledge that newer information than our text books is out there?

Well anyways, I’m gonna go read again. I’ve got about 3 quizzes to get done before tomorrow. And I’m really hoping I’ll even make it down there tomorrow for class. At least the new car is fun to drive.

Ya’ll have a good one. Class then 36 on a bus 😀

Intense

Whoa… I really meant to update this thing earlier than this. The last few weeks have been intense. Right now I’m sitting in Santa Fe NM covering a 22 hour shift on an IFT ambulance. I’m about to take a break from everything and try to take a nap. I’m so short on sleep right now it’s probably almost dangerous.

So, how’s everything going? Not too bad overall. I finally saw the inside of my apartment on the way back from class early this morning. Was nice to sleep in my own bed, if only for about 3 hours. The past few weeks have shown me it’s gonna be a long few months, but it will be so worth it to get pinned as a medic.

Speaking of class. I’m almost all the way caught up finally. I started 3 weeks late and have been doing both the work assigned as we go and all the stuff I missed. Luckily it’s a lot of review for me. Right now my average is hovering at about 92% and I am regularly getting told to shut up in class so someone else can answer. I’ve finally decided that I’ll just keep my mouth shut unless I have a question or am called upon.

We are working on airway right now, and we actually had a former flight nurse teach our class last night. She was probably the best instructor we’ve had so far in this program. But then again, she went into much more depth than most instructors think we ‘need’, and since airway and cardiac are my two favorite subjects I’m not going to complain.

We also go to play around with IVs for the first time for some people in our class. I was 3/3 live sticks, and 0/3 for anyone actually getting a stick on me. I told them I was a harder stick, but no one believed me. I did get asked to help with showing people proper techniques for IV insertion. IT actually is showing me that I like instructing. I’m seriously wondering about when I finish my BSN, going for a secondary BS in education.

But pretty much the class is going well. We were given some bad news that we can’t start any form of clinicals or internship rides until almost the first of the year. IT’s gonna be rather annoying because of the long commute, but I’m thinking about volunteering for a VFD district in Las Cruces area just so I can have a place to crash for free and get some more run volume. Yep, my life is revolving around EMS until I get my medic, there’s just no other way to work it and still have money. Hell, my schedule this last week has had me sleeping in my 911 coverage area at one of the spare bases instead of having to drive back to the city and sleep, then turn around 6 hours later and drive down to Ops to pick up my classmate and make the drive to TX.

So… yea, that’s just a quick update. There’s more I wanted to write about but for now I think I’m gonna go take a nap. I’ve got more homework to do still.

Memories, and new beginnings?

I’ve never like Albuquerque, not since before I moved here for school. When I left last March for Colorado, I thought that was it. I swore I’d never willingly move back to Albuquerque. But somehow in the course of talking to you the NEXT March… we agreed to find a place together in Albuquerque, and I would have been so very content to stay here for the next 18 years with you if you’d have had me. That’s when it hit me. You were what was missing the first few years here. Even staying at your parents (which I’m still so very grateful they put up with me :p), being with you felt like home. You were my home, the place I felt the safest. The place I felt most comfortable. The person I loved being with so much.

Now Albuquerque is a bunch of memories, of things we did. Of places we visited. Unfinished plans that we made together. Albuquerque feels empty to me now. Worse than before you, it’s now a black hole that seems content to suck out any happiness or wanting to do anything. This is not my home any longer.

I guess that’s why when this hospital district offered me the opportunity to come out and test, I took it without a second thought. I knew you would have been ok with it. That’s why I bristle a little when people accuse me of trying to run away from my problems here and run there. And to be honest, that thought gave me a panic attack on the drive back today.

For a little bit, I didn’t know why I was doing it. Was I really running away? Or was I doing it because it’s something I wanted? Because it’s something I thought would be the best idea for me? I really didn’t know. That made me feel horrible. Then I thought about it. Both of us loved travelling, granted you hated TX, but we both had plans to move as much as we could. And this would really be a good opportunity for me. Maybe I’m doing it for a little bit of all of those reasons? But you know what, if it’s better for me in the long run, who cares right this second why I’m doing it?

But that means I need to try and put some things behind me. Sweetheart, losing you is something I’m still having a hard time dealing with. I listened to a song on the way home and these were part of hte lyrics

“I don’t wanna not remember
I will always see your face
In the shadows of this haunted place
I will laugh
I will cry
Shake my fist at the sky
But I will not say goodbye”

That’s rather how I feel towards you. The last month I’ve gone through so many emotions… Gods know that there have been times I’ve been so very pissed off at you. Pissed that you left me alone here, pissed that you wouldn’t talk to any of us, pissed that you were gone. Pissed in general. But it reminded me too that I wouldn’t have been anywhere near that mad if I wasn’t in love with you.

What I can do, though, is remember the memories. Remembering you so many years ago, walking into the interview for that trip with me. I saw you back then, braces, frizzy hair, and all, and it was like something inside me clicked. Like my heart went “Oh! Hi! I’ve been waiting for you!”

And that trip was amazing. I know you had some rough spots during it, and so did I. And I’m sorry I ever took it out on you then. But we enjoyed each others company so very much. And I loved squirelling a smile out of you when you were in a bad mood. It helped my mood so much too. And then  when we got home… This blushing little girl, so cute and innocent looking, walking up to me and kissing me on the cheek, then walking away. You left me standing there breathless and staring. I still smile when I think of that memory.

Then we had some bad times. I was dating the one-who-will-never-be-named (yes she is that much of an evil bitch that she would give Voldemort a run for his money) and she took great exception to the fact that I might have been falling for someone that wasn’t her, or that I was even talking to someone that wasn’t her. So she took it upon herself to make sure we’d never talk again… and for several years we didn’t. I remember spending hours trying to find you online, looking for any sign of you. And come to find out you were doing the same thing to find me.

I remember the first day I saw you again. It was after you and my mother realized who each other was. I came down from ABQ for just a chance. We called each other when I got on campus and left my mom’s office. And in a typical Zita moment, and Nate moment for that matter, I look ahead of me and see someone talking on the phone… making arm motions that looked very familiar. I asked you what you were doing and you told me walking. I was smirking to myself the entire time, and I asked you to turn around. God, seeing your face for the first time in years was amazing. You had just gotten even more gorgeous and grown up from that little girl I remember. The smile on your face when we both realized we’d been on the phone with each other from about 20ft away is still one of my favorite memories.

Remembering how you smiled at me this past Valentine’s day when I surprised you with flowers at your parents. You were always so hard to surprise because you hated them and tried to get all the info you could before it happened. That’s why I’m amazed that me and your mother managed to pull off me sneaking by without you knowing. The happiness you had on your face when you saw me walk through the door was amazing, and then the surprise and smile when I handed you flowers. I was hoping that flowers to you on V-day would become a normal tradition with us, the first time I’d ever enjoyed that day at all.

Or how a month or two later when I walked into your parents house again on a mini-vacation from TX. I had been working up the courage to ask if I could kiss you on that trip, so can you imagine how surprised I was when the first thing you do as I walk in is kiss me on the lips, kiss me very soundly? Heh, I think it was almost a repeat of the airport and me just standing there. You smiled so sweetly and just giggled at me. That was the turning point of us becoming an ‘us’ even if we didn’t want to admit it to anyone.

Those are just a few of my favorite memories of you and me. And kind of why I think I might be running away from ABQ… there are memories of you, of us, of all three of us, everywhere in this state. And I really am having a hard time dealign with it. I still wake up and expect to be looking into your gorgeous hazel eyes, or hear you giggle at me whenever I do something stupid. I miss your gentle touch when I’m upset, and boy, lately, I could have used that wonderful touch so often. I miss just being able to cuddle you to me when you were upset. All in-all… I miss you honey. Miss you so much that the pain makes me want to curl up into a ball and stay there.

I think what really gets me… is that we didn’t really have a chance. We were good together for the short time we had, and it kills me that I’ll never know how we would have turned out. I think it would have worked, but now I’ll never know… and that, to me, is one of the things that makes this so hard.

So, yea, maybe I am running away. But I’m also trying to move on. You would want me to move on. You’d want me to become a better man. You knew of my love for EMS, and you told me shortly before I lost you that you could never tell me you wanted me to give it up. So here I go. I’m trying to get on with one of my dream services (the only one I can get on with as an EMT-I as opposed to a medic). I’m trying to become that man you would be proud of. I’m just hoping you keep watching over me. Keep visiting me in my dreams, for that’s the only way I can see you now, and gods know that I miss you. I still think of you every second of every day, and I can’t see how that will change any time soon. But for now I just need to keep pressing on. Keep trying  to push forward. It’s what you would have wanted for me. and it’s what I would have wanted you to do if the situations would be reversed.

I know I still can’t tell you goodbye. Like I said earlier, I don’t know if I’ll ever be able to tell you goodbye. But I will not, cannot, ever forget you. You’ll stay in my heart forever. And I think you took the best part of me with you when you left, so at least you have some company. Until I see you again lover, watch over me and help keep my dumb ass safe when I do something stupid.

“The blackest night must end in dawn, the light dispel the dreamer’s fear.”

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So… I just got back to NM last night. I left NM on sunday to go to SE Texas to test for a large hospital based agency. From everything I have heard, they are in the top three services in the state of TX and they’ve always been one I wanted to work at. But man it was a long drive. 15 hours or so from here.

The hiring process consists of a written test, three practical tests (airway incluiding pedi and adult ETI, vital signs, and LSB), an interview, and a PAT. I passed the written with an 88%, passed all three practicals with only one retest (vital signs?! I think I just got nervous and started counting my own pulse), and had a great time on the PAT. It was actually a very fun PAT, and one of the few for private, non-fire EMS that I’ve seen that has you do a full course, not just a stair test. The interview I think I did ok on too. Now I just have to wait till Friday to hear if I got the job or not. If I did, orientation will start on July 18th.

And it’s not just orientation. They run a 3 week academy followed by 4-6 weeks riding third before you’re released as a probationary crew member under a mentoring medic.  I love the idea of the way they do new hires. So… fingers crossed that I’ll get the call once I get off duty on Friday. I go in for a 36 down here in ValCo tonight. I’m hoping I’ll have a resonably busy shift.

Who are we?

I was watching the movie Across the Universe a week or so ago. And one of the quotes from the movie struck my interest when it comes to EMS.

Uncle Teddy: Because, Maxwell, what you do defines who you are.

Max: No, Uncle Teddy, who you are defines what you do, right Jude?
Jude: Surely it’s not what you do, but it’s the…the way that you do it.”
That symbol up there should be familiar to almost everyone who reads this blog. It’s the Star of Life. The symbol most used to represent the prehospital medical profession. We most likely see it daily. On our uniforms, our ambulances, our equipment, and even sometimes on ourselves.
So I’m going to turn that quote around a little bit. What do you think? Does that symbol define who we are, since so many of us are so passionate about what we do? Or do we help define what that symbol means to the public at large? I know if you show some member of the general public the ‘Maltese Cross’ (which really isn’t a maltese cross, but that’s a whole nother topic) the first image that strikes them is big fire trucks or firefighters with air packs running into a burning building.
Personally, for the past 3 years, that blue star has helped me define who I am. I’ve had some rough points since basically flunking out of college in my first year, and since then I’ve been able to dive into EMS to forget about bad things that happen. From day one in EMT class I knew I’d found something I loved, even to the point of getting a blue star of life tattooed on the back of my shoulder the week after I got my state card in the mail.
So, yes I am a little bit defined by what I do. I love helping people, I love working with people and getting to know them so well they are just like family, I love the feeling of actually belonging somewhere. And I also love the feeling of brotherhood that does tend to crop up from time to time. Due to the splintered and fragmented way EMS is provided in this country it’s not a thing like fire departments or police departments have, but it’s there in it’s own way. EMTs come together when one of our own is in need, and that’s good enough for me. I’m proud to be part of such a family.
But at the same time, also feel that one of our duties is to be the ones to define our jobs. A lot of our newer EMTs (which I’m not so far removed from. I still feel like a baby EMT at times) come into this job expecting lights, sirens, explosions, blood, and guts every shift. Those of us who have been around a little longer know better. Those calls are fun, but they can also be the cause of a lot of our nightmares.
The truth of our services is that the majority of our calls are ‘sick’ calls. That can range anywhere from a 21 year old with a low blood sugar to a 91 year old woman having an acute cardiac event. None of these calls are as glamorous as I’m sure the newbies have been lead to believe, but they are essential in shaping EMS into what we want it to be seen as.
Those younger EMS providers like me, @EMTGoose, @MsParamedic, among lots of others out there, are the ones who are going to be responsible for shaping EMS into what it hopefully will mature into. Our profession is still a young one, and we are having our share of growing pains. But when you’re out on a call, think. “How do we define what we do, because of what we’re making it?” and try to act like you want to make this a respected career in the medical field.
So, for now yes. I am defined by what I do, and I’m proud of that fact. I’ll continue to get called an EMS Nerd and try my best to soak up every bit of knowledge I can for the good of my patients. But on the other hand, I AM EMS. Every single one of us out there riding the trucks and walking into the scenes are EMS. Maybe Jude had the right of it. It’s really not what you do, it’s how you do it that’s the most important.
And lastly, just like each and every one of you out there reading this (I hope), I am EMS 2.0 just like each and every one of you.

Yay… new year… new challenges

Well, another year is over. I’ve noticed a lot of bloggers looking back on the last year, and figured I might join in. But, take note, that I hated 2010 for hte most part, so there will be very few good things I can say about it.

Last year:

My ex-fiance got married to my ex-partner,

I quit my job and moved to CO on the promise of a job (which never materialized),

found a job at a private IFT ambulance, then promptly got fired for doing something stupid.

Fell BACK in love with a girl who had been out of my life for years, had my heart stomped on in front of me, set on fire, and then the ashes scattered by said girl.

Moved back in with my parents,

Spent a lot of the rest of my money that I had saved applying for state certs in bordering states and going to places for interviews.

Got a job in BFE TX on a 911 truck (probably the highlight of my year)

Applied for, and get accepted to, paramedic school in the City.

Strengthened a lot of ties with #CoEMS friends and other great friends I’ve made on Twitter. I’ve found out who really will be around when I need a friendly avatar to talk to.

———————————–

Yea, that’s my list of 2010. This next year will hopefully be easier to make better. I’ll have new challenges. Like working FT, PRN, and being a full-time paramedic student. But I know I can make it through everything that gets thrown at me. I’m used to being on my own, and I’ll prove that I can make it all on my own.

Although the year is off to a rough start with us here in BFE. I pulled what was supposed to be a 36 hour shift over NYE and NYD. It wound up being a 24 since we had a busy day and 1 really bad call. We worked 3 major MVCs and one of those turned into a trauma arrest while we were transporting to the airport to meet a fixed wing to get him to a Lvl1 Trauma in Big City 250 miles up the road.

Curiously I didn’t really feel anything with any of those patients. Sure it was sad they got into accidents over a holiday weekend, but I just did my job and walked away with no questions in my mind or doubts about why stuff like that happened.

For the most part, calls that day had been routine calls. Headache, dizziness, drunk, the usual for a holiday weekend. No suicide attempts or people doing grossly stupid things… Until we got the call that got me sent home early.

We got dispatched out secondary to PD for a 911 hangup call. They got on scene and sounded pretty damned flustered when they were calling us, so we got there relatively quickly.

Now, keep in mind, I hate kids. With one very large exception I don’t want them. And the person that I would have helped them raise their daughter… well, long story. Longer than I wanna go into. That and kids on calls scare me, since I don’t deal with them well.

Anyways, we get on scene and find a kiddo that has been beat to within an inch of her life. Why? Because her low life dad was a fuckign drunk and apparently she had dropped something that broke. His solution? To wail on the kid until she was quiet. The mom called, then apparently ‘thought better’ about it and hung up.

I don’t wanna talk too much abotu that call, since I know it’s already going to give me nightmares. But yea, this year is not off to a good start.

So anyways… new year, new challenges. Let’s hope things go well. School, work, work, school. That will be my life this next year, and I can’t say I mind. Keeping busy is good. Keeps me from thinking too much. As I’ve found out this past year, thinking hurts in more ways than one.

Oh and I decided to not give up caffeine like I was planning this year. That would be suicidal I think. So I decided to just give up carbonated beverages (like my Monster  O_O), with maybe the exception of a beer a week if I ever am off duty long enough to have one. So, the drinks and losing weight are my only new years resolutions other than rocking the paramedic course and earning my disco patch by the end of the year.

Wait… Already planning again?

I’ve been here in BFE, TX for about two months, yet I’m already looking at planning my next move. Actually my next two at least. Maybe being single actually a good thing… Since I apparently have a problem settling down and staying in one place for very long.

I plan on staying here in BFE for at least 2.5 years or so. Long enough to get my AAS in Paramedicine and my Paramedic License (not cert) here in TX. Plus it’ll give me good experience working in a 911 system, and prove to myself that I can handle being definitive care for a long transport until I can actually get them to a hospital. That means a lot to me since I’ll actually have time to see my interventions make a difference or not, instead of dropping off the patient after only being with them for 10 minutes or so.

It’s ok living here, but it kinda sucks to have to drive at least 70 miles to do anything. I guess while I like living in a small town, there’s a limit on just how small. The town in NM that I lived in HS was just barely larger than here, but it had a college and a few things to do at least.

After I finish up my AAS and get some experience, I’m looking at moving back to NM and going to the University there and going for my Bachelors of Science in EMS on the Critical Care track. There are a few services I can work for down there that I am pretty familiar with, plus my old service down there if I really wanted to.

Some people have asked why I would make a move in the middle of going to where I really want to work at just to go to school for another two years, especially since I’ll already be a paramedic. Well… because I believe that more education is essential in this field. I want to have as much education as I can so I can better serve the patients who trust me with their care. The fact that they don’t get to pick and choose who responds to their calls makes me want to work that much harder to make sure I’m the best provider I can be and see if I can help change the system from the inside out.

I figure I’ll stay there for a few years (as short a time as I can manage while getting my degree) and then get ready to move again. I really don’t want to do career EMS in Albuquerque, just not that fond of the system there. I’ve been looking at various systems that I would love to spend my career working in and I’ve come up with three of them. One is Austin/Travis County, of course. A great third service in a good system. I’ve heard only good things about them, but heard they might be going to a P/B or P/I truck instead of the P/P trucks like I’ve heard they run.

My second option is Wake County EMS. This one appeals to me due to the fact that they have a community paramedicine program. That type of work really makes me happy to think about. I’d love to do it.

And the last option I’ve thought of so far is back to Denver to work for Denver Health Paramedics. Primarily a Paramedic agency with very few BLS trucks. I love the area up there and the agency didn’t seem too bad when I was there.

So those are my rough plans for the next 6 years or so of my life. Lets see how much life will throw at me and force me to change those plans. :)

Well, I’m on shift now as well, so it’s time to watch some more TV unless I find something else to ramble on about! Ya’ll stay safe out there.

It's gonna be an interesting few years

After doing a lot of talking with my new boss and others members of the service, I’ve come to the conclusion that my first year or two working for this service might be interesting.

First, what I really don’t like. This agency was an all-volunteer agency until about a year ago, and it shows. Now, I’m not trying to put down volunteers, as sometimes they are very professional and great to work with. But we all know some volunteer agencies who are only there because it looks cool and don’t want to do anything more than bare minimum. Or they’re there because it’s a family thing.

This service seems to be a little bit of both. Only 3 medics on the staffing list, mostly EMT-Is and EMT-Bs. A lot of them related in one way or another, and think that it will only help that they are. I’m ok with that, though, since they are willing to hire from out of the area and, hey, they’re giving me a job :D.

What I can’t stand though, is how little they care about education. They are excited to get the newest toys and gadgets, but don’t really like to look at the newest research to see why or why not they should be doing something. Tradition plays a very big role in how they think. The old “We’ve always done it this way”. Luckily they have a medical director who doesn’t like that and wants to keep pushing the protocols to be more progressive.

But things still fall through the cracks and are done just like always. One of them is working a code on scene. I’ve always been taught that you only transport a working code once you get ROSC. They are a big fan of stopping CPR to get the patient into the bus, then running hell-bent towards the nearest hospital with only one provider in the back working the code, in a moving rig, running L/S, and getting thrown around. I’m not a fan of that. Hopefully it’s one thing I can help change their mind on. But we’ll see.

I’ve talked to the chief about going back to school, since I want to finish up and get my medic soon. He’s all for it, but the minute I said I wanted to go for the AAS as a minimum, his eyes kinda glazed over. HE doesn’t understand why anyone would think that a medic isn’t quite educated enough. I love the fact that TX recognizes the extra education and issues a license, not a cert in this case, of Paramedic.

I’ve talked to a couple of the people at teh station about the EMS 2.0 movement and things like #CoEMS (I wore my EMS 2.0 pin on my dress shirt for my ‘interview’, so it was kinda obvious), and one of the on duty crew said she was all in favor of it (she was a part timer who also works as a flight medic). The other just kinda shrugged and said she had her basic, which was more than enough education for her. Not quite what I was hoping to hear. But the chief said he’s ok with me continuing to blog, as well as being active in the EMS social media aspect, which is what I wanted.

Now the service isn’t all bad. Like I said earlier, they have a very progressive medical director. I was told by the chief that if I came up with any research, that the medical director’s door was always open to improvements in the system. Also if there were any new toys that he was more than ok with me learning how to write grants to try and get money for them, pending MD approval. One of those devices is the Zoll Autopulse or the Physio equivalent. I figure if they want to risk everyone by running codes in a moving bus, I’ll see if I can get a device to make it safer and easier for all involved.

Their medical director wants them to get serious about hiring good ALS providers, and according to the chief, the MD would eventually like to see the system move to an all ALS approach. I’m more than ok with that, since it sounds like they want to try to model if after ATcEMS, which seems to be a great system. I have an official interview with the medical director already requested so I can talk to him and get a feel for how he like his ALS providers to function and talk to him about a few questions I have over just how long a leash he gives to EMT-Intermediates in his system, so hopefully I can get a good rapport with him started.

The other good news about the area… I went to the nearest big city on Wednesday morning to talk to their community college’s medic coordinator. He seemed to be a great guy, and seemed interested in me entering their program. They do offer the EMT-P AAS, which I want to take advantage of. He did tell me, though, that I can start their certificate program as early as January if I get paperwork in in time, and then finish the gen-ed courses for the AAS after I get my #discopatch. Not a bad idea. The downside is a 75 mile commute one way for classes. And clinicals. I do, however, get to do half my ride time in my small-town agency. So it is not as bad as it could be. And my new boss said he would be willing to put me on 1 24 and 1 12 a week of first out, and 1 12 every other week as second out (on call), or 2 24s a week and 1 12 of second out every other week, whichever I wanted. He is not a fan of 24s, but he said in my case it might make things easier.

I think I’ll get my medic and try to stay here for another 4 years or so at least once I get it. Then I’m seriously debating trying to transfer to ATcEMS and trying to get on with their system to finish out a career if I decide to stay a medic. but I’m not sure.

Either way, it’s going to be one hell of a ride. Maybe I can make my own little #thunder out there.

EMS for the Cure

My one or two readers may have noticed a new little image up in the upper right side of my blog. It’s to show my support for EMS for the Cure. It’s something that this year I can only support by trying to let more people know about it, unfortunately, but I’ll do what I can.

We all know someone, either directly or indirectly, who has been affected by breast cancer. For me it was my mother. She was diagnosed with a rare form of skin cancer that had metastasized to the breast tissue. This was during my Jr year of high school. For the next two years she battled the cancer and went through horrendous chemo treatments, two surgeries, and lots of poking and prodding. She was really the strongest person I have ever known as she went through all of that. She wasn’t going to let anything stop her from seeing me and my brother walk across the stage at graduation, and it didn’t. Two weeks before we graduated she had an appointment and was told that the cancer was in remission. That was the best graduation present I could have ever gotten.

She was there in the stands as her boys walked across the stage to get their diplomas. She was there with us at our graduation party, and she was there when we moved out to start our college careers. Since then she has been cancer free, but I know not everyone is so lucky.

And it’s for those people, and the ones who did beat cancer, that I ask everyone who can to give just a little, or a lot, to help fight this disease. Those of you who are fellow bloggers, go pink for the next few weeks, in honor of national Breat Cancer month. For all of you that already have, thank you.

Yum tasty fledglings

I recently have gotten called out over on an EMS forum that I frequent about being a little too critical about our fledgling EMTs and medics on the site. I started to think about that and try to figure out why. This is pretty much what I’ve come up with.

1) A lot of them are coming into it for (in my opinion) are the wrong reasons. A lot of them have no desire to do emergency medical care. Some want to do fire, some just want something to do while they ‘find themselves’ (I can’t complain about that too much since it’s almost how I got here), some just want to play with the ‘blinkies and woo-hoos’.

2) There are people who get into this field without a lick of research. They get certified and then complain that they can’t find work where they’re at, or because of how young they are. Or they complain that the only job they [i]can[/i] find is working an IFT ambulance, and they don’t want to do it because it’s not the glamours of 911.

3) People want to embrace the low standards that it takes to get into this field, or drop them even more. I’ve seen some people say that they don’t want to go back and get more education, but want more toys to play with in their toolbox. EMT-Bs complaining that they can’t do any invasive skills, but with their impressive 120 hour course they want to be trusted with needles and tubes and things that could actually end a life if used improperly.

Those are my top three, and combine one or more of them with my cynicism it’s not a good thing when I get going. It also doesn’t help that EMS as a whole in the US is having a major identity crisis. We are the red-headed, soulless, bastard step-child of both the public safety and healthcare worlds. So it’s no wonder that a lot of new people don’t know what the hell we are.

My firm belief is that we are not public safety and should stop acting like it. For those of us who want to improve the profession and make it more than a vocation we need to start acting more like a healthcare entity with all the headaches that might make for those of us who will be in the thick of it for the transition. Yes, this means divorcing ourselves from the FD as the UK, NZ, and Aus (among others) have done. But then again you already knew my feelings about that.

So, until we ourselves get our heads on straight we probably will be a field that eats our young at a freakishly high rate.