Long long week

What I saw on my GPS when I got back to my apartment

The above is slightly scary. I just got back from a week long trip, and unfortunately it just made me more frustrated than I was when I left.

I left early on Monday morning to start the 7-8 hour drive to a small town in NM, a little south of the big city. That drive was horrendously boring, as all drives through NM north of Las Vegas are. I actually had a radio so it wasn’t too bad, would have been better if my A/C had been working though. Made it to my parents place and then went to see how my grandmother was doing…

That’s where it started to get bad. Like I’ve said in a previous post, it’s a horrible feeling when your grandmother doesn’t know who you are, even worse when she recognizes your twin brother, your identical twin brother!, but not you. My grandmother that I knew and loved doesn’t really exist anymore. The MDs are saying she had two CVAs (one of which led to the earlier fall in which she broke her hip and wrist), and are predicting a third that they’re not sure she’ll recover from. Right now she’s doing better than they ever thought, since she’s feeding herself and talking and being semi coherent… I feel bad for saying this, but it still feels like she’s already gone even when she was sitting right in front of me.

I spent Tuesday trying to go to the DMV and get my truck registered (just in case I luck out and go out of the country for a year on a job, I wanted it registered in the town my parents live in with one of them on the title). First their system was down, then I found out that recently NM instituted a statute saying that if ‘gift’ is written on the title you need a signed and notarized paper from the person you got it from. I couldn’t get that so the truck stayed unregistered.

Wednesday I spent the morning hanging around town waiting for my brother to come down from the city so we could load up a couch, bed, and entertainment center in the back of my truck and get it to his place. That wasn’t too bad actually. And when I got to the city I got to see one of my old partners and we hung out for a while watching movies.

Thursday was kinda the same, saw people I hadn’t seen in a while. I had crashed at my brothers so I was in the city already. I decided to pay my old hospital’s HR dept a visit since I applied as a unit clerk and as an ER tech. Was told that since I left on very good terms with them, getting back on should be easy compared to someone they didn’t know. So here’s hoping for the tech job, even if it does mean moving back to Big City NM.

Friday was the most annoying day I’ve had in a while. I took my brothers Mustang and headed down to El Paso TX… Now I know why Texans disown that damned city. Was supposed to go down there to do ETI and IV practical tests since the state of TX won’t take my NR practical results (more in a sec on that). I was also supposed to get my fingerprints done. Well, fingerprints got done but nothing else did. The tester I was supposed to meet with called in sick at the last minute, and no one else in the entire city that could test ALS skills was available. So that was a wash.

We did however figure out that while TX won’t accept NREMT-I/85 practicals for TX EMT-I cert, there’s no reason they shouldn’t accept NREMT-P practicals, since it covers everything and then some. I happen to still have my medic practical results and I’m going to be calling TX on Tuesday to try and sort this out. I assume they tuned out the word ‘medic’ when I told them I had a set of NREMT practicals that should meet their requirements… since it is odd that an EMT-I/85 would have done the medic practicals, I can’t really blame them.

Oh, and Friday before I left for EP, I sent her the letter I’d been working on. Now she hasn’t mentioned it at all and I haven’t been able to get a hold of her by calling, we’ve just been texting as usual… so I’m not sure what’s going on now. And the situation is too complicated for my liking :(

So now I’m back at my apt (not really home, but my cat and my bed are here) and about to crash. Night all.

Oh, here’s a picture I took on the way home… Yep, rain almost the entire way.

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Waffles…

I wrote out an email, since I’m not going to see her for at least another month and I want her to know how I feel… I pasted it into a facebook message, then tried to sleep. This morning I got a failed send notification (didn’t know facebook had those). Now I’m waffling whether or not I want to resend it. I wish life was easy sometimes.

So we’re now moved pretty well onto wordpress, and I must say I like it more than blogspot :) Lots more options to do what I want, and it seems a little more stable.

So, what have I been doing lately? Well it’s been a long week. I’ll take it day by day to start with

Monday I had an interview and testing session with Pridemark Paramedics. Got there about 15 minutes early and there were already 4 other candidates there. They had us give them copies of our MVRs and then put us in a big conference room to take their written test. By the time everyone was there we had 9 candidates total (3 medics, 6 EMTs) there to test and interview.

The written test itself wasn’t too bad. A lot of simple stuff on it, even if the wording on it wasn’t the best. But I’m finding out that that’s pretty standard on employment pretests. A couple of the questions didn’t really have a good answer, so I did just as my instructors have always told me. “When in doubt choose C!” No, really though I just picked the answer that was the least wrong out of the ones presented.

The ‘practical’ portion wound up being nothing more than a verbal scenario. They wanted it a little more detailed than a lot of places, but nowhere near as detailed as I had to learn for the NR oral boards. It was a simple down and out scenario in an office building. I’m sure most of you can come up with some ideas for that but it wound up being one that I’ve actually ran in real life several times. Yay for D50.

Lastly was the actual interview. I didn’t think that I did too badly, but some of the questions weren’t what I was expecting. It wasn’t quite like the ACA interview by any means, but still different.

So got home from that feeling pretty confident on everything. They told us we’d hear back from them within 48 hours.

Tuesday dawn a nice pretty day up here, but any happy feeling evaporated pretty quick with a phone call from my mother. All it basically said was ‘your grandmother’s not doing good, the hospital called us and told us she most likely won’t make it past tonight.’

Great way to kill a day huh? I was told not to make it the 8 hour drive south since they weren’t sure I’d get there in time anyway. She didn’t want me coming down and possibly killing myself in the attempt to beat the reaper. I felt, and still feel, horrible that I didn’t head down and ignore my mother.

That day the only thing that kept me sane really was my friend who I’ve mentioned a few times before. She kept texting and talking, trying to keep me distracted and from dwelling on what was happening. Keep me from dwelling on what I couldn’t have any impact on.

I’d said it on Twitter and I’ll say it again here… As┬áridiculous as it sounds, I felt like if I had been there, there was something that I could have done. Something that the MDs and RNs there missed. I hate being on the sidelines and not able to influence the course things are taking, especially when it involves medical and my family.

Wednesday, my grandmother was still hanging in, but had spiked a fever of 108. They ran a CT and found that she had had a stroke in her ‘temperature regulation area’ according to the MD through my mother. He didn’t want to go into any more details with me since I wasn’t there and he assumed being 22 I couldn’t understand what he meant (have I mentioned that I hate some MDs?). Nothing was breaking the fever and none of her meds were working for anything at that point.

Thursday morning the fever broke finally but she was in a vegetative state. No reaction to anything. No change for Friday either.

Oh, Wednesday I found out from Pridemark via email that I was not selected for the job, but that they would keep my app on file for later if they found a job that matched my qualifications. Nothing still head from the middle-east company, and no good news from any other job fronts that day.

Thursday I found out on Acadian’s website that it shows ‘Schedule interview’ for SE TX. So hopefully that’s a good sign.

So it’s not been the best week I could have had. I’m planning how to get to FL for what we’re assuming is going to be my grandmothers funeral (she has DNR/DNI signed and wishes no extraordinary measures, and my family and the staff is honoring those wishes), along with probably needing to get to OC TX and maybe Baton Rogue LA for interviews. I’ve also been making plans to go ot TN and visit her for a few days. I have something I really need to tell her and I’d rather do it in person.

And on to her… it’s amazing how perfect she is and she doesn’t realize it yet. Every time I tell her that I know she can do everything she’s up against she just acts flabbergasted that I’ve got any confidence in her. One of the nice things is she doesn’t think that she’s perfect, she knows she has flaws, but at the same time she thinks those flaws make it so no one wants her.

She told me that she really wants to stay with me wherever I move to (right now as just friends since I haven’t told her anything), even if it is TX. She has told me many many times how much she hates TX and yet she’s willing to move down there to be around me.

Well, I’m done for now. I’ve got a few more apps to finish and send out.

http://transportjockey.com/2010/06/26/64/

WTF?

Hasn’t my family had enough bad luck the last few years to last a lifetime? Got word this morning that my grandmother in Socorro just had a turn for the worst. She’s been in the hospital for the last couple of days for a fall at the SNF she was at. The RN staff called my mother this morning just as she got to work telling her that she needed to get to the hospital.

Apparently my grandmother has had several CVAs in the last 24 hours and several seizures as well. She has spiked a fever that nothing seems to touch and is hypotensive compared to her baseline. They are saying that she most likely will not last the night.

And I’m up here in Denver, 8 hours from home. No money to get down there, not able to help, not able to do anything. I don’t think I’ve ever felt this helpless. I’m an EMT, I don’t like just sitting up here and not being able to do anything for someone I care about. I should be doing something, anything to help her. But sadly I can’t.

If it weren’t for a very special friend who I’ve mentioned a time or two recently I think I would have gone insane. She’s been patient with me through all the texts I’ve sent her and keeps telling me that everything will be alright. And funnily enough, I believe her when she tells me this.

I’m gonna go back to pacing and getting frustrated. I just wish I could get more news. I might break down and call the hospital she’s at and have them confirm with my mother that I’m allowed to get information and just get it straight from the source. Maybe I can help explain some of it to my parents as well.

Seriously?

Ok, my notoriously bad luck with women has creeped up again. I have this friend, one I have known on and off for years (about 9 of them to be exact). We lost contact for about 2 years and then found each other again and since have gone to visit each other and see each other as much as possible.

I met her on a long trip that we took with a student organization, while I was actually dating my first gf. We hit it off then and I felt something, something that I tried to not feel since I had a girlfriend back home at the time. I realized when I saw her again for the first time in a while about a year ago that I still felt the same way. I would look forward to every time I’d talk to her or make plans to see her (which was difficult since she was living in a town about 2 hours away from me and I was working full time and going to school full time).

I flirted with her every chance I got when we were together and she seemed to return the favor and we both enjoyed when we got to hang out. Since I moved to CO I’ve been able to see her a few times and I really want to tell her that I want to be more than friends. But I found out recently something that might make her not want to :( It’s something pretty major and something that she thinks will put everyone off. Can’t go into too much detail since everything I was told was in confidence.

Now I gotta figure out what to do now.

Ups and Downs all in a couple of days

Interesting couple of days… or at least interesting now that I’m doped up on medications.
Yesterday started fun enough. Took the truck on some of the dirt trails to a bit of BLM land that is used as a firing range. I left early enough to have it all to myself which was nice :) Took two .22LRs, my Mosin, and my EAA Witness in 10mm. Burned through about 400 rounds of .22, 50 of 7.62x54R and 40 of 10mm. Also ran out of targets. All of the guns I took shot great :) And I didn’t wanna stop even after I ran out of targets.
So what did I do? Well, I pick up my brass anyway (and picked up about 400 pieces of brass that had been left by other shooters), so I figured why not try to shoot the brass? It was pretty fun actually. Hit a 7.62 brass with my 10mm, and several pieces of varying brass with shots from the .22s. All iron sites at 10+ meters. Not too bad if I say so myself (I’ll get the brass out of the truck and take some pictures of them)

On the way back I heard a snapping sound and then a weird sizzling sound coming from the underside of my truck. Pulled over real quick and looked underneath. What did I find? My tranny spurting ATF. Not good. Got a tow truck called to come get me and towed my truck to a transmission shop. I was about 40 miles from home, not too bad. I called around and tried to find a friend or two that wasn’t doing anything so they could come pick me up. Nothing much happening there.

Wound up calling my brother in ABQ and having him get me a deal at a hotel in the same family as the one he works at there. Only problem with that is that the hotel was 3.5 miles away, and there are no busses or cabs in this town. Great… grabbed water an my pack out of the truck and started walking. $35 for a night at the hotel, not gonna complain.

While I was walking over there, I got a very unexpected but very good phone call. Pridemark Paramedics was calling to ask if I would be willing to come in on Monday afternoon for an interview. I told them yes and kinda did a little happy dance. I really was not expecting that since I got my interview last week cancelled due to them having too many medics to interview. IT sounds like they need 3 more full time crews, so they called some of the EMTs on the top of their list that hadn’t interviewed yet. That’s one good thing. Would prefer to still go overseas, but this will do nicely.

Crashed about midnight at the hotel and woke up early at 0600… with 5/10 right flank pain that radiated to the back. Not again :( As time went on it kept getting worse. Finally evening out at about an 8/10 with n/v to go along with it. Not too fun.

Got a call that my truck was ready and hitched a ride over to the shop. Turns out the pan gasket and a tranny cooler line blew. No big deal. The mechanic handed me my keys while he was telling me what happened to the truck. He replaced both things and topped off the ATF. Then I got another shock. He told me the work was on the house. Apparently he’s a volly FF/EMT for a local dept and decided that he would do a favor to an EMT that’s relatively new to the area. He wouldn’t take a dime for the work to the truck. Some people say EMS is a family, and times like this it feels like it.

Got back home with flank pain still there pretty bad. Finally broke down after it had been going on about 10 hours and went to an Urgent care. Now I rememeber why I saw them turf so many of their patients straight to a hospital. Wound up going to the ER on their orders, where I had an U/S, bloods drawn, IV started, IV phenergan and IV Toradol given. I feel a little more human now. U/S still show what might be the start of a gall stone forming :( Not my month for that.
Anyways, I’m off to bed, hopefully I’ll feel better

How I got into EMS

I asked a question on Twitter last night to my fellow EMS bloggers, and after several of them posted up links to posts to explain, I realized I had nothing to tell how I got into it.

How did I get into EMS? A kinda long route, at least it seems long to a 22 year old.

When I was a Jr in high school I was thinking of going into the military, it had been a long tradition in my family. I was thinking of either going in as a medic or getting some college under my belt with ROTC and becoming a helicopter pilot. I talked to recruiters, took the ASVAB (second highest in the state my year :) ), worked out, and generally tried my best to get to where I wanted.

That changed on May 5, 2005. I was riding up to the next city to see a movie on a half day from school. Our town at this point had lost it’s only theatre and we had nothing to do. I’d headed up there so many times I could have gotten there in my sleep. Except there was 55mph winds and I was riding up there on a Kawasaki EX500R.

I had just gotten on the interstate at MM150 on I25 in NM, when a gigantic gust of wind hit me. Since I was riding a very light bike, and anyone who’s ridden motorcycles knows how wind treats us, I got blown all over. I ended up getting blown into the rear trailer wheels of an 18-wheeler. My left leg hit the hub and I bounced off and hit the concrete barricade on my right side. The semi just kept going since he wasn’t even aware a little bug had hit his trailer.

All of that is kinda fuzzy to me, as I remember seeing the bottom of the trailer somehow, then starting up at the face of my boss. She owned a deli I worked at, and her and her husband were both volunteer firefighter/EMTs. She kept me calm and waited with me till help got there. She helped the city FD package me and take me to our little bandaid stand they called a hospital.

They couldn’t be sure of the extent of my injuries, so they called a bird from the state trauma center and wanted me flown up there. I don’t remember any of that ride since I was so doped up when they got ready to load me up. The next thing I remember is being stuck on a board in a hallway for several hours. Not a fun experience.

I wound up with a compound tib/fib fx, 2 broken ribs, a concussion, some road rash on my left leg, a broken right pinky, shattered left ankle. Not too bad for hitting a semi at 75mph. The accident actually ripped off my left boot and shredded my jeans. My gloves and jacket had withstood the accident decently well, but were cut off by the responding EMTs (and broke several pairs of their shears). The helmet I still have on my shelf in between my two daily riding helmets. It is cracked and scuffed, but a good reminder why gear is important.

The road to recovery was a long one, I had several surgeries after the accident and I still walk with a limp occasionally. I resigned myself to not being able to serve our country in the military like I had wanted, but just wanted to get myself through high school and figure out what I wanted to do.

I wound up graduating on May 20th 2006 and was still trying to figure out what I wanted to do. EMS had been a thought in the back of my mind since I was recovering from my accident. But I was near one of the premier schools for blowing things up, and I decided that since I couldn’t serve, I’d get a degree in Explosives Engineering.

I loved the idea of doing that, I could go to work and help develop munitions for the govt, or serve with the police and disarm weapons. Unfortunately I didn’t like the math required for engineering, and I was your typical first year college student. I didn’t wanna actually do anything. And it didn’t help that I went to college in the same little town I graduated high school in, so the drama from the year before tended to follow me.

After the first semester I was put on academic probation and then academic suspension after the second semester. I was devastated. By the end of the second semester I had tried, and made progress, in turning everything around. But it was too little too late. I had no idea what to do.

My mother is actually the one who suggested I move north to the city for a year and get some classes up there under my belt and, since I’d talked about it on and off, maybe take an EMT-B class and give it a try. It made more sense to me than just hanging around and doing nothing down there for a year. So in July of 2007 I made a move 70 miles north to the city.

I started in EMT class and loved it. Every day was a new learning opportunity and I made sure to bleed my instructor dry. I found that I loved the idea of working on an ambulance and working outside on a regular basis. Plus it flared up the idea of being a military medic once again and I knew I’d found a niche that I liked.

My instructor was an EMT-I getting ready to go to medic school and he pulled me and two others aside and told us that he thought we should consider going further and starting the paramedic pre-reqs at the community college we were at. Knowing that he thought that highly of me, I did just that the next semester.

But first was the NM EMT testing. I had to drive 4 hours to the next smaller city south of us to take the test. I was so nervous during it that I didn’t think I’d pass. I was the second person done with the written and felt ok about how I did on it. But then came the practical scenarios and skills. My first group was two random skills. Combitube and drawing up a dose of a med and giving it (I got Epi). That was no problem. Combitube went great and I drew up the 0.3cc of Epi 1:1 just like I was supposed to and administered it to the arm just fine.

Then came the pt assessment scenario. I don’t even remember what it was now, but I know I just froze. I forgot gloves and failed no matter what I did. They told me I’d have a chance to redo a scenario and I knew that it was my last shot. I got together with some classmates and we all quizzed each other and I felt better about it. I went in and nailed the scenario. I remember the proctor telling me “And they failed you the last time?” as I walked out the door, this time feeling much better about everything.

It was a long drive home that night, but I was ecstatic about everything. It just was down to the waiting. I was working for a motorcycle dealership at this point (and still riding) and my boss was getting pretty amused and how frustrated I was, having my brother check the mail every five minuted and not getting anything.

Finally 4 days after the test site, I went home and checked mail. I remember what our teacher had told us. “Small envelope, no good. Big envelope, welcome to EMS!”. I went through my mail and got nothing. Then I noticed a key to the package boxes. I went over to them and there it was. A big envelope from the NM Department of Emergency Medical Services. Inside was my certification, a patch, and a big certificate. I think I called everyone and told them that night. I also stopped by my former teachers class and thanked him and shook his hand one more time.

I started Advanced Trauma the next semester and had even more fun. I also wound up meeting the girl I would get engaged to later on that year. That semester I also found a big road block to me working anywhere. I was only 20. Luckily though I heard from a friend that an IFT company was hiring and that I might see about getting on with them as a dispatcher. I figured what the hell and put an application in.

I got an email the next day from their director of field operations asking if I would be willing to work on a rig as an attendant only until I turned 21, instead of being a dispatcher. It took me all of a half second to decide and I sent him an email 5 minutes after getting one telling him I would love to work on a bus.

I worked there for almost a year and loved almost every minute. Even if it was primarily IFT I learned a lot and I asked as many questions to the RNs and MDs as I could get
away with. During that time I got engaged to my ex (which if you’ve read more of this blog, you know she IS my ex and just got married in fact to my old partner) and completed all of my pre-reqs for my medic program. And got accepted to the program.

The pretty much brings this up to date as to when I started this blog. Since then I’ve had my share of ups and more than my share of downs. But I think back to the first day of EMT-B class and realized that’s when the bug bit me. I can’t imagine myself doing anything other than medicine. And EMS is and will always be my first love in the medical field, hopefully I can pay it back everything it’s given me.

Who I am

I had a friend over on Facebook tell me that I needed to update my little bio slot… Currently all it says is, “I’m me… Nothing more.”

Now, I think that spells it out pretty well. But just so she has some clarity on the subject.

I’m addicted to medicine. I love helping people and learning how people work. Especially in the realm of emergency medicine and pre-hospital medicine. So much so that my goal is to make it to medical school and become a medical director for an EMS service.

I have horrible luck with women. I thought I was not in love with anyone when an old friend walked back into my life. My ex-fiance just got married, one of my best friends from HS I never talk to, another ex is moving to CO to live with her boyfriend, and another old friend I’m falling for big time. But of course I could never tell her that ­čśŤ

I love learning. Yep, part of it ties in with the above, but not just medicine. I love learning about engines. I love learning how to do new things. I love school.

I’m not the brightest about keeping my mouth shut. It’s gotten me into trouble more times than I care to count. I say what I think, and the brain/mouth filter usually has some pretty big holes. Part of that is why I’m not a Paramedic right now. It’s also why I have made some people pretty upset with me in the past.

I love working with my hands. Yet another thing that attracted me to medicine. And why I love shooting and working on vehicles. There’s something comforting about knowing that I can do things that others can’t with my hands.

I love shooting. Paintball, photography, real guns. Doesn’t matter. Shooting things relaxes me and blows off steam.

I love riding motorcycles. I feel so free while riding. It’s like I was meant to travel like that (pity I haven’t ridden in a while). Racing them is also pretty damned fun.

I am very competitive. I like to win, and I make no apologies for it. I put 100% into everything that I do with my life, and I expect others to as well. I don’t want to win just because someone is feeling lazy that day. I want to earn it and want to feel good about winning.

I love reading. I will read anything and everything, down to the labels of my shampoo while I’m showering, just because. Books and I are old friends and it’s a friendship that will never fade.

I am fiercely loyal to the people I love. Friends and family. If you hurt someone I care about, there will be problems. If someone I love needs something, I will do it to the best I can, with nothing asked in return. Do not slander my friends and family in front of me, I would not do that to you.

I love music. I believe life should have a soundtrack, and that’s why I listen to music as often as I can. Sometimes I wish that music would start playing at the appropriate time in my daily life.

And lastly. I am an EMT. I am proud to be one. I love helping people. It brings so much other things that are a part of me to the front. I want to become a medic, and I plan to as soon as I possibly can. Even if it means that it’s time to live on Ramen for a year.
I want to make a difference in the profession I love so dearly. It’s given me a purpose when I needed one. Given me hope for what I can do to make a difference in this world. Given me drive when I was sorely lacking.
EMS is one of the noblest professions out there. I don’t just mean the trauma and cardiac arrests, either. Those are important to what we do, yes, but not the most important. Our most important task is to be the safety mechanism for so many people. We are the ones who see what is actually happening to someone in their life. We are advocates for the people who need it the most, when no one else will step up to fill in.
I believe we are due for a change, which is why I believe so strongly about EMS 2.0 and am proud to support it and #CoEMS. I believe we will come into our own. It just takes the dedication and love of people like @AmboDriver, @MsParamedic, @CKEMTP, and everyone else out there that supports what we are trying to do.

In short. I’m me. Nothing more, nothing less. I have never cared if people like it or not. I make no excuses for myself.