New adventures, Familiar Place

So I have alluded to a new job several times in the past few months on here. And I figured it’s past time to talk about it. As you can tell from the new banner, I have TX and NM represented in that star of life. That’s because I’m now, once again, workin in the state of Texas.

Some of you might remember that three years ago I worked in a small rural TX community as an EMT-I. Well, now I’m back in the same community working as a Paramedic :). I work 7 days on/7 days off. It actually works out well for me. I’ll go into some detail as to what it’s like down here too. But suffice to say, it’s one of my dream jobs. And I’m having a lot of fun overall.

When I worked here before, it was a city run, third service, with pretty typical protocols for this area of Texas. Now, I’m working under flight protocols on a frontier 911 truck. We have some of the broadest sets of guidelines outside of my good friends to the south in Presidio. As a Paramedic I have free reign to use clinical judgement and best practice to deviate from our guidlines, and out critical care medics (more on that in a bit) can perform CVC placements, pericardiocentesis, chest tube insertion, and several other things. The running train of thought is that we can do more in the short term than our little community hospital can, and that they only do scans and give blood (the two things we can’t do at this point).

We regularly transport straight to the airport from scene to meet up with one of our company’s fixed wings for transport of hte patient to a tertiary facility or trauma center (nearest major hospital is a level 2. Closest Level 1 is over 200 miles in any direction). The flight team runs under our same protocols, so in this instance, the flight team doesn’t bring any additional tools (except they carry an ultrasound, ours are coming for ground) or skills to the patient. We use them strictly because we are so far from definitive care.

We also fly out quite a few by rotor. Part of this is that we cover 3000 sq mi of territory, a lot of it is pretty rugged desert. We also have one major interstate running through our county. One of our most common reasons for flying people out by rotor is that we just can’t get safely back down the road the patient is on with any sort of speed, like an oil rig lease road. We have one of the highest numbers of oil rigs in the state of texas here in my county. And with all this, I haven’t seen much abuse of air medical, it’s pretty typical for frontier Texas.

One of hte nice things about our company is that they want all medics to be certified as critical care. And we are 90% paramedic agency (we only have a handful of EMT-I and EMT-B providers. Once myself and four others go through the critical care class, we will be at 100% of paramedics certified as critical care. And I’m in that weird spot because I’m currently an FP-C, which is generally considered critical care level. And the best part is the company will pay for the critical care training. And with the schedules we work, an extra class (like UMBCs 2 weeks course) are easy enough to do trades togo to.

All-in-all I’m excited to be back here. It’s a great place to learn, and I get to play sometimes as a flight medic on our fixed wings. It’s already making me a better provider and it is my favorite type of EMS, rural with great protocols. Plus we have a great crew here. I can’t wait to see what my future holds down here.

We lost a good man yesterday

NM EMS suffered a terrific blow yesterday. We lost one of our best educators, Cy Stockhoff. I met Cy close to seven years ago when he helped proctor one of my first practical exams for EMT-B. Then I got to have him when I attempted my EMT-I cert for the first time. The man knew what he was talking about, and always pushed for us students to question the norm and push to make our profession better.

Cy taught a good portion of my first try through paramedic school, and was my biggest supporter when I withdrew from the program and took my EMT-I exam instead. He told me that life will never let you follow your plans exactly, and that sometimes things happen and you have to make do as best you can.

The last time I saw him, it was a fun little reunion when I came by his office to ask about starting their degree program with my current paramedic cert. He remembers nearly all his students, it seems, and I was no exception. He asked me how it was going, and congratulated me on my paramedic cert and asked how I was liking my rural 911 service (I  was in uniform at the time, so it was an easy jump).

Even then, he asked if I had thought about doing any further training and education, including getting my instructor certs. After those years away from being his student he still wanted me to do better than the status quo.

Cy, you’ve helped mentor me, helped me learn how this EMS thing works. You’ve made me question the ‘why’ about why we do things. I’m grateful to have been one of your students, and I will keep striving to be better, and to make our chosen profession better. Thank you for everything you’ve done for us. You’ve helped teach a state full of providers who will fight to the last, with what little we have to work with.

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This is weird…

So… it’s my first night as an ER Paramedic at the state’s trauma center… So far all I can say is;
This is weird… Very weird. It’s kinda fun though, since there are only two of us (counting my trainer) here on the floor, and we are responsible for not only primary patient care on up to 6 patients at once, but also we are the go-to people to help in the rest of the unit and the trauma bays.
I honestly never thought I wanted to go back to working in a hospital again, but this could be fun. Plus there’s the amazing benefits and the option of free education on a pretty consistent basis. I’m still going to be working the truck at least a few shifts a month (or one a week I hope) but this will become my primary job. It’s also easy to transition to a flight team job after I’ve been here a while, since the hospital runs a fixed wing program.
But this is also my first night shift in a long time that going to bed when I’m not doing anything isn’t an option. THAT I don’t like. But here we go. Another chapter opened, another door taken. Let’s see what kind of trouble I can get myself in.
-TJ

Also, please be sure to check out my facebook photography page, or look on my Tumblr page for more of my photos. Links are attached to my about me page.

 

And as an aside, I’m not sure why comments are being disabled on certain posts. If you have a comment or concern, post it to either my facebook page for the blog (Life of a Transport Jockey) or email to me at transportjockey@gmail.com

Guess I need a new Banner…

And about me page :) I knew I was forgetting to update somewhere… but the picture below should explain everything and why I’ve been so scatterbrained out of sheer happiness lately 😀

Now to just get my state certs (including taking my NM written to get my NM certification), and see about getting those raises at my current job. #DiscoPatchAchieved!

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

(Late) Thanksgiving

I know I’m a couple days late for my Thanksgiving post… but that’s what happens when you work until midnight on Thanksgiving, and then go have your family thanksgiving on Friday. The joys of me, my brother, and my father all working sometime during thanksgiving.
My shift on thanksgiving was… eventful, to say the least. DOA, Drunk driver MVC, MI, CVA, hypoglycemic patient. But it was fun. We had a great crew on duty that day, and the supervisors cooked for all the road crews… Dear god did we have a lot of food

And that is missing almost all of the meat that was fixed. Calls were spaced so we all got some down time, which was very welcome. And I believe we had at least one person from every uniformed agency in our county that showed up to either eat or BS with our crews. I forgot how much fun it is to hang out with your fellow uniformed personnel even on a holiday. And it looks like I’ll get another chance to do it this year, as I start a 36 on Christmas this year.
And since this is Thanksgiving post… I figure I might say what I’m thankful for… and to be honest, this is a hard year to be thankful for anything. But I know I have to think forward.
The main thing I’m thankful for this year is my family. My father, my mother, and my brother. They have all helped me out this year more than I ever thought I’d need. But even if I didn’t say I needed something, they seemed to know it. They’ve been a rock I’ve been leaning on to get through this year.
Also my family at work. The service I work for doesn’t have the best reputation in the area, but our crews work hard, know what they’re doing, and we are much more tight knit than the larger services in the area. I’ve made some incredible friends since I started down here, and I know I’ve always got the support of a lot of people there, and I have a lot of people I work with that are pulling for me to finish medic school.
Oh, and I’m thankful to be nearing the end of my journey to become a Paramedic. I have a couple more weeks of classroom (final is on Dec 15!) and then 4-8 weeks of clinicals and internship… I plan on being done by the end of Feb if I have any say in it at all.
I’m also thankful for all of my blog, twitter, and tumblr friends for helping keep me sane this past year, both before I moved back to NM from TX, and after everything happened in May. Ya’ll are the most amazing people I have ever talked to, and I hope to meet a bunch of ya’ll soon at either Expo or Today.
I’m thankful to someone that I never thought about until recently. I’ve been talking to a girl… an incredible girl. It’s amazing. I’m thankful that I can feel the way I do about her at all. Right now we’re just friends, but I wanna see how things play out.
And lastly… I’m thankful that I get to go to work every shift, and get paid to do something that I would gladly do for free if I had to. I love my job and my career choice, and I love being able to make even a little bit of a difference in someone’s life. So everyone, thank you for everything you’ve ever done for me.
This is the first post of many I’ve got bouncing in my head. And with medic school finally slacking off a bit, I shold get some more posts done.

New opportunity coming up

Well… it’s been a long month. And my main reason for coming back to ABQ has gone… So just a short update. I was offered an invite to test with a large County Hospital District’s EMS next Monday. This is on the east side of TX as an EMT-I. I think I’m going to take their offer and go out to do their PAT, written and practical test, and interview. From everything I’ve been told they’re an all ALS level service that is pushing and assisting their EMT-Is to upgrade to medic. This service is one I can find nothing but good about, and benefits and pay overall are better than I made in BFE TX. So… looks like the next few weeks will be an interesting time.

Emergency Services Christmas Prayer

I found this and decided it needed to be posted before people head off to start their duty shifts tonight. I’m not very religious but this struck a chord with me.

Emergency Services Christmas Prayer
Please make this, Lord, a silent night
this one night of the year.
No sirens wailing through the dark,
no shouts of hate or fear
No crumpled cars and twisted steel,
no blood and tears that spill.
No messages of grief to take,
to homes that suddenly grow still.
Please, King of Peace, no drunken fights
that wreck the family tree,
And all the dreams of some small child,
who clings, in fear, to me.
Let travelers tread the tinseled streets
safe from assault and harm.
On this night, this special night,
no red lights, no alarms.
I’d like to be at home, Oh Lord,
where spice and cedar scent the air.
I hope the children don’t wake up,
until I can be there.
Please make this Lord, a silent night,
no hate, or hurt, or crime,
But if this cannot be, Oh Lord,
help me get there in time.
Amen
~Author Unknown~

WOOOOOHOOOO!

Well, it’s been a busy day, but a very fun one :)
I drove 6 hours today, started out at seven my time, to get to BFE, TX from BFE,NM. Checked into my hotel (thank god my brother works at this chain, so it’s dirt cheap) and changed and cleaned up a little so I’m presentable (black medic pants, boots, blue button down shirt) to meet this municipal service’s chief.
I get to the ambulance station (which is cohabitated with the VFD) and part next door at the SD building. I wander up and look around.
Outside they have an older Type III with a long box mounted on it, and a regular Type III marked for the FD extrication gear. As I get closer to the EMS side I see a newer Chevy Type II sitting in the center bay in front of what looked like an old school pumper. And in the bay next to those was real beauty. A medium duty Chevy box rig. Looks almost brand new, behind that is a slightly older IH medium duty box. All of it looks in great shape.
I knock on the door to the EMS station and am invited in by the two on duty crew members. They tell me that the chief is out at the moment but should be back soon. They offer me a seat and we start BSing. They seem to be a pretty laid back bunch and ask me questions about my past experiences while I return the favor and pick their brains about this small service. They seem to like working there, and tell me that it’s a small group so it really is like a family.
“That’s great for me, sicne I’ll be away from family and friends if I get this job” I think to myself.
They are glad to hear that I’m an EMT-I that applied for their service, since they can use more FT ALS providers. The medic on duty tells me a little about their protocols while we’re talking, and it seems like that really do have an agressive medical director.
After about an hour of talking, the chief shows up and greets me. He seems to be a very nice man, that is respected by his crews. He asks if I’ve been shown around, and when told no, he proceeded to take me upstairs to show me the living area (downstairs is the kitchen/office/supply room) and bunkrooms. It all looks pretty nice for an older building. He explains to me that for right now the firefighters are housed in the other side of the apparatus bays in a similar arrangement, when there were any firefighters on duty. He also explains to me that this town is odd since they have a career municipal EMS dept (albeit they’ve only been paid for just over a year) but an all volunteer FD. And there is only one FF that is trained to EMT or even ECA standards. The rest have just been show how to help the medics and EMTs on accident scenes.
After showing me the inside he takes me out to the rigs to look around. The Chevy MD is gorgeous. He says they have another Type III C4500 on order w/ a 12′ box on the back of it. Inside is some nice gear.
EZ-IO, LP12 w/ all the goodies, vacuum splints, cool rail mount type head blocks, power cots, the normal EMS supplies, and a small disposable vent that is just a plastic piece that hooks into the O2 tree and requires no electricity. It all looks nice. They also have CPAP masks, but no controller boxes yet… but talking with the chief and playing with a vent and the CPAP mask I was able to rig up a poor-mans CPAP (thanks @ambodriver, your book is what gave me the idea!) that the chief wants to try out the next time they have a CHF pt CTD.
After he was done telling me about some of the protocol questions I asked about, and showing me around… the next words out of his mouth were “Well, lets take you to my boss to get you started working for us”
I was flabbergasted to say the least. I guess us talking counted as my interview 😀
After talkign with the city manager I had a job offer from them. Decent pay, good benefits, TX Municipal League retirement plan, school reimbursement, agressive protocols, great medical director, and long transport times. I thought I had died and gone to heaven.
Now all I have to do is wait. My background check still hasn’t come back, but since I passed a more intensive check earlier when i got me TX cert, I’m not worried. Then it’s time to pee in a cup and take their ‘physical’. I’m not worried about either of those, especially once they described what their physical was. So hopefully by late next week I should be out here again and starting my orientation rides :)
Now to sleep a little. If my BG check comes back tomorrow I’m doing the drug test and physical tomorrow, and I’ve also got an appointment at the nearest big city (about 75 miles away) to see what we can do about me finishing medic school :)

Three posts, three days? Really?

A couple of days ago I asked people for advice… I got some advice, and did a lot of thinking.
My results? Going back to school ASAP and getting my medic cert and BS-EMS + BSN are the most important things to me right now. So with the exception of an application I’m going to be putting in Ohio, I’m done applying out of state. Any applications that are already out in CO and TX will stand, and I’ll consider offers, if I get any, from those companies. But for the most part, I’m staying in the ABQ NM area.
Thsi took me a while to decide for a lot of reasons. One of them is I want out of this state. In the worst way. Going to Austin and then to TN this summer for interviews and to see someone who used to be very special to me (still is really, but apparently I’m not worth talking to… but that’s antoher story entirely) showed me that I don’t like living in the desert. Especially this desert. I don’t like the people, I don’t like the culture.
But I have a solid support net already here, I know the area, the services, and the state protocols already. I know the schools’ reputations, how they operate.
So, since I’m having such a hard time getting hired with a temp cert, I’m looking for any jobs out there. Starbucks, waiting tables, book store, motorcycle shop… anything that will help me take care of myself till December when I completely nail the state EMT-I test and I can start working on a bus again. I have one service that wants me when that happens, so I’m already doing better here in NM than I was looking at moving to other states.
At this point I’m making my one and only priority school. I want that bachelors degree. I really really fucking want the disco patch.
And guess what? I’m gonna get them both.