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.”

——————————————————————————

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.

Code? Code!

 

So I’ve now worked two codes for my new service. I’ve discovered a major difference in the way my training for codes was and how this service runs codes. In fact it’s a difference that to me seems backwards to how I would have expected it, coming from an urbanish area.

First code I worked was a nasty one where an ILS provider was the highest level of care on the scene, with no backup coming. I worked it like I was taught and did ok, even though we didn’t get ROSC. I got a tube, drilled the pt for an IO, ran through my asystole algorithm, and worked it for 30 minutes on scene.

The problem arose when my basic partner made multiple comments that we needed to get this guy to the hospital.

Wait? Transport a dead guy to the hospital? What the hell. Granted I’m not a medic, so I wouldn’t be able to pronounce on scene, but our chief was finishing up with his call by this point and could have come by to do that for us. I was thus informed of the procedure that all working  codes, regardless of who’s working it, get transported to the ED.

This was a large shock coming from a system where you were expected to work codes on scene, even though the hospital was maybe 10 minutes away at max. This seems to be backwards in my thinking, if transporting a working code was actually a good idea.

Out here, I could be upwards of an hour from a hospital with a working code out in the county, yet procedures say that I drive the patient to the hospital code 3 while me or my partner are in the back doing CPR the whole time? I’m not a big fan of that, and I’ve already let my new boss know this. In my opinion it’s too dangerous for too little gain.

You’d figure that being so far away, they’d want to work the code on scene, since in most cases there is very little an ED can do that an ALS ambulance can do for a working code. Hell, even as an EMT-I I’m allowed to shock, drug, and tube during a code.

The second code I worked a couple days ago when I was the on call crew was the first code I’ve ever worked that the whole purpose was the get the patient to the hospital within 20 minutes of getting on scene. We did it, and it was an odd experience. We had 2 crews plus the chief helping out with it. I did compressions (where I managed to give the pt a BP of 160/80-ish according to the monitor NIBP cuff :) ) the entire time, except for where the basic took over so I could push my Epi and Atropine.

Seems to me that doing compressions in a moving vehicle is counterproductive. You just can’t give good compressions when you’re being flung around in the back on the way to the ED. I tried. I failed. I can give great compressions to a pt while I’m standing still, but there’s just no way to steady yourself in that big old monster of a rig that we have to give adequate compressions.

So yea, there’s another thing that is different to me since coming here. And, like I said, it’s something that I figured would be the other way around versus what I’m used to in the city with 7 hospitals within a couple miles and a half dozen medics showing up to most calls.

I do think, however I might research trying to get a grant to get something like the Autopulse to make our crews a little safer if they intend on sticking with this asinine procedure of moving codes.

 

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.

Argh

Finding a job here in Colorado at this point, at least in the EMS field, is seemingly difficult since I’m not a medic yet. So I’m seriously thinking about getting a cert in either OK, TX, or LA. All three states take my NREMT-I/85 cert at face value, and at least TX and OK have opening right now.

I’m just getting frustrated today, since I have gotten 4 turn downs in the last 8 hours. I have a lot more apps out there, but I just feel more and more frustrated. Rent is now paid for June, but I’m just feeling a pinch with money right now. Hell, I don’t know if I’ll have enough to certify in another state, plus eat. Let alone move out there if I get a job. What I might have to do is see if I can borrow some money from my parents with the promise to pay them back once I get back on my feet finally.

This is not the first time I’m regretting leaving Albuquerque. I had a set job there and was making good money. I could have lived comfortably for a while, but due to my ex marrying my ex-partner, problems with school, and just not being happy… I leapt before I really looked out over the edge. I just keep thinking that maybe I should have done it a little more careful.

But it’s already done. Now it’s time to pick myself back up, dust myself off, and proceed to get back to kicking ass and being a damned good EMT or Tech. And if that means moving again, this time with no friends there, I’ll do it. And probably come out of it a better person than I was to begin with. Afterall, that’s why I can still talk to friends with the wonders of the net and phone. Thank god for all of them.