[names and addresses changed to comply with HIPAA]
I’m in a deep sleep when I’m jerked awake by the sound of my pager “beep beep”. I attempt to lace up my boots while I’m still half asleep and listen to Dispatch “60-year-old male complaining of chest pain, 1215 Spring Street, your cross streets are Laketon and Southshore.” I roughly know where that is…
I finally manage to get my boots tied, grab my radio and head to the car. I simultaneously turn the car on and look in my rearview mirror, to make sure my hair doesn’t look like I’m related to Einstein, KLOVE starts playing on the radio. What time is it even? As I pull out I tell dispatch I’m en route to the station and glance at the clock “What? It’s only 01:15! I thought I had been sleeping for longer than that…oh well, at least this early in the morning traffic isn’t in my way.” Stopped at the stop sign I look right, I look left, I start to go and look right again Yikes!!! Where did that big trash truck come from, *slam on breaks*…wake up, Cassia! I finally make it to the station after the trash truck slowly turns (I really need to get myself a green light, it would be helpful) my partner is waiting for me in the truck.
“You know where we’re going he asks?”
“Yep,” I try to mumble directions but don’t think I was making much sense because we almost drove past Spring street. “Turn here! Turn here! Okay, the number was 1215…” I peer into the dark to try and help look for house numbers, “1008…two more blocks.” All the while I have our protocols running through my head. “Code 1 routine which translates airway, oxygen if needed, vitals. Give 324 mg baby Aspirin if no allergy to it, assist with their nitro if no contraindications, and place on the heart monitor.” …1211…1213…1215! Oh wait, I know this person.”
We’ve been given instructions from Dispatch on how to get in the house, thankfully the son showed up and unlocked things for us. “Hi there (rats, I can’t remember his name, I’m better with faces than names), what’s going on? I notice he’s having some difficulty breathing as he tries to explain how and when his pain started, he’s already taken his own nitro. I put him on some oxygen and continue to ask questions and get an idea of what’s going on, my partner gets a set of vitals and puts him on the monitor as I pull out the aspirin. We finish our assessment and as we get him loaded, my paramedics arrive on scene. “Good morning” I cheerily say to the Medic, obviously feeling more awake now. I tell her what’s going on and what I’ve done so far, we then work together to get an IV established, run a 12 lead and ask more of the never ending-questions. After we accomplish that we head to the hospital where he can continue to get the medical care he needs, and hopefully resolve the issue.
I’ve been told you guys wanted an update on where I am at in EMS. To give you a small glimpse of what I do, I started out with an actual call I’ve been on but tweaked to meet HIPPA’s rules. 🙂 Not all calls are like this and come in at 01:15 in the morning. In our small rural Volunteer EMS community, we can go several days without any calls, and then slammed one day with 4 calls in 12 hrs! (that’s busy for us!). When you are on call, you have to be ready to go at any time of the day/night regardless of what you’re doing, you could deal with anything from someone having chest pain, to an outright heart attack, small fender bender car accident or the kind where you are requesting for the medical helicopter, to caring for a small infant who just had a febrile seizure. One thing for sure, each call is unique in itself. They will all have similarities, but each will be different.
I really enjoy working with the public, and I love the medical field, so EMS is a perfect fit for me! Some have suggested that I go on to get my nursing, and while I do plan in the far future to do that after getting my paramedic certification, as of now I don’t plan on using it like I do my Medic. Because being stuck in the confines of a cement building is not appealing to me…I love being out on the road, and in and out of the hospitals. However I’ve learned to not say never, you just never know where life will take you!
Last September I made the decision to further my education and go for my Advanced EMT certification, and it is a decision I do not regret one bit! Even though the state of Indiana is making changes the end of this year to where AEMTs can not be utilized like we once were, making our certification more or less almost useless, I still do not regret my decision. I learned so much and expanded my knowledge immensely that even if I cannot use it on the truck, it has made me a better Basic EMT. 🙂
However, with this new certification does open new doors for working in other places than just on the truck. Earlier, I stated that I did not want to be a nurse because being confined to a cement building was not appealing. However, due to my current circumstances, I would be willing to do it for a period of time. Especially since the position I have applied for is phlebotomist which is a new skill I learned and absolutely love, not in a creepy way, but I just enjoy drawing blood. 🙂
I’d love to work for a local paid EMS service but as I stated earlier my current circumstances are keeping me from that. Last year I was having some back issues, to make a long story short, the doctor said I had sacroiliitis (fancy word for inflammation in the SI joint, where the spine and pelvis connect). I was given specific exercises to do and was getting better until I fell at work (grocery store I use to work at but has since closed). That jolted my SI joint majorly and was a ginormous setback. I tried multiple things and was in so much constant pain. While they helped some with my symptoms I felt that it was not taking care of the underlying problem. I have now been going to a clinic out of Chicago every month that does specialized physical therapy since March, finally found someone that understands what is going on and can actually help me with the underlying problem. While I am making progress, it is painfully slow, much to my dismay since it is holding me back from so much! But I am learning to take each moment and live it instead of waiting to arrive at a certain point in life. No, I would not have preferred this detour and setback, but life is in no way perfect and free from problems. I do however believe that we can change our outlook on our problems, and when we give them to God He can use even the bad things and turn them into good, which I have already seen Him do.
So back to the phlebotomist job, it would be a good in-between for me while I wait for my back to heal. I will have interaction with the public, I’d be all over the hospital including the ER (yay! and I love to walk), I’d be using the newly acquired skill of drawing blood, and I would continue to learn stuff that will be helpful in my medical field career. I’ve had an interview but have not heard back from them yet.
I think in a nutshell, without writing a book, that gives you a glimpse of what I’m up to, in the medical field anyways…but before I go, I must share with you a couple of the highlights from my class because it was such a positive experience! This is not going to do it any justice to show you the extent of everything that we did and learned, but it gives you at least a glimpse of some of my favorite parts.
Holding a deer heart! We cut it open, and also was ventilating the deer lungs…a cool experience to see how it works on the inside!
Learning how to give medications, here we were simulating giving nitro, only we were using breath fresher instead of the real thing.
Oh my goodness! IVs were so so much fun to learn, we often practiced on each other which definitely helped when I went to do them on patients.
One of my classmates and I decided to try starting one on our self, then our teacher had us do it with our non-dominant hand…we were both successful! 🙂
Practicing ventilating, and I’m getting an IV at the same time.
He and I both didn’t mind the needles too much, so we often practiced on each other after the lectures.
This was a fun night, extrication! We sat in the car as the firemen tore it apart so we could see what it is like for our patients.
Then we simulated taking a patient out correctly.
I went to an EMS conference with my teacher, we got to do a moulage class, this was my work. 😀
Our teacher gave us the opportunity to do a presentation for extra credit. I chose Acid/Base.
When studying looked like this, trying to make sense of it all, I questioned my choice of topic…
…But when my finished notes looked like this, it was worth all that time, effort, and brain power I put into it.
And I enjoyed presenting it to my classmates. 🙂
Clinical ride time on the ambulance, and man oh man did I do countless hours! It was a challenge to get the skills in because we were skilled based, not by the number of hours you put in. So it didn’t matter how many hours I put in if I did not get my skills in I could not complete the course. At times it was frustrating because I had the “white cloud” syndrome. I’d show up for my clinical and nothing happened, or nothing that I could get my skills in, then when I left they would start to get busy again. They liked it, I didn’t. 😀
Another challenge was our drug cards. There were around 30 of them and we had to have this list of information on each drug.
Medication name: Generic, Trade, and Official.
Mechanism of action
I spent several months on mine. :O But the end result was worth it!
Studying is always better when you have ice cream! 🙂
This was a common occurrence. Come home late at night from class and still got chores to do. It wasn’t my favorite, but at this point and time I was not helping out hardly at all around the house due to trying to balance work, class, clinicals and studying, so it was only fair to the family that I help. And I gotta say, they often didn’t leave me with very much. 😉 Helping with dinner dishes is one of my specific chores. When we were a few years younger, we had a rule that if someone wasn’t there for dinner, we went ahead and did their dishes. Well, as we have grown up and started to branch out, it was not uncommon for one person to be stuck with all the dishes, which in a large family after the biggest meal is just not fair to anyone. We changed the rule to no matter how late you’ve been out, either arrange to swap chores with someone or do them when you get home. 🙂
This particular night, we had been practicing IVs again, and I love my MudLove bracelet. I wear it every day because this whole detour with my back has challenged me in many ways!
This particular clinical shift, we were posting and got just a little bored. 😉
Skill testing day!!!! I was SO nervous, but we all made it through and were all smiles at the end of the day, and all breathing a little bit easier.
Here are all the classmates (minus one), with our fabulous and amazing teacher!!!
After passing our skills we have one more step: taking the written test. August 9th I took mine, I was hopeful but a little nervous and had to keep blocking out the nerves! 🙂 However, during the test (you have to go to a professional testing center), I do not sit still well due to my back issues, sitting increases my pain, so I fidget! Well during my test I was like on question #125 of #135, and because I was fidgeting, my foot hit the power button on the computer…I watched the words “system is shutting down” flash across the screen, I. Was. Horrified. Much to my relief, because it was a testing center they have everything backed up, so they were able to bring it right back to where I had left off! *huge sigh of relief*
This class was so much fun, I love love love learning how the human body all works together, it’s incredible how we are made! While it was fun, it was also challenging, but I definitely grew through those challenges and with time I will face the next challenge of Paramedic and onto nursing!
For now, I need to focus on getting my back better. But there is one thing is for sure…whatever you are facing, pursuing, and trying to achieve, but everything possible that could go wrong is going wrong…You have a calling to walk into…Don’t. Ever. Ever give up!
~CassiaSubscribe to get our blog posts in your inbox!