2.24.2016

EMT


But lately I am beginning to find
That when I drive myself my light is found


My father was a Safety Engineer. He spent decades working in both the international construction industry as well as the public utility industry, trying to keep people from killing themselves at work and investigating when they did. Growing up, the best way to irritate him was run with a lollipop in my mouth or hand him back the scissors, blades first.

I took my first CPR and First Aid courses when I was 16 and was hooked. Became a lifeguard at 17 and have been ever since. When I was in college, I signed up for the EMT course at the local junior college and fell in love. I loved everything about it - the anatomy, the physiology, the pressure, the details, all of it. My clinical hours at the hospital weren't anything remarkable but my ride-along in the ambulance was.

We had transported a lady from the nursing home to the hospital. I had been instructed not to touch anything or do anything - I was simply there to observe. No problem. I sat in the jump seat between the Paramedic and the EMT, asked a ton of questions, tried my best not to be in the way or annoying, and tried to absorb everything. Well, everything except bodily fluids. Those are gross.

We dropped off the patient and we're on the 405 in the middle of midday traffic, heading back to the station. It was busy but not gridlocked. All of a sudden, the Paramedic says, "Oh, shit" and BAM. We had been rear-ended. Some guy in a Geo Metro (go Google it...) had careened across 4 lanes of traffic - from the fast lane to the slow lane - and tagged the back end of the rig. Hard. 16,000-pound ambulance versus 2,000 Geo Metro. It didn't end well for him.

The Paramedic throws the rig in park and starts to get out, telling the EMT in the passenger seat to get on the radio, call dispatch, tell them what's going on, and request assistance. The EMT freezes.

He just sat there.

The Paramedic looks at me and tells me to do what he just told the EMT to do and then come find him outside. I reminded him I had been told not to touch anything or DO anything. He told me to ignore that. So I radioed dispatch, told them what was going on, requested assistance, and grabbed gloves. Found the Paramedic with a very combative and VERY drunk unrestrained and bloody driver in what was left of the Metro.

The EMT was still sitting in the rig.

The Paramedic had me go get a C-collar and a K.E.D. so I grabbed those and brought them back to him. He transferred control of the patient's head to me, as I sat in the backseat behind the driver's seat. Thankfully the seat separated us because Mr. Combative was swinging. I'm not sure if it was because he was drunk or because his face had met the windshield at 55 mph. Or both. Regardless, he was unhappy about his current situation and was trying to take it out on me. Thankfully he *was* drunk and not very accurate in his swings. The Paramedic managed to get him collared and calmed down without getting punched and we started to get his bleeding under control.

By the time the next rig, fire engine, and highway patrol officers made it to us, we had him collared, bandaged, and assessed. Meanwhile, the EMT remained sitting in the passenger seat of the rig. I was able to help with the extrication as well. Lousy day for the EMT but a great day for me!

I went on to finish the class and had planned to take the NREMT, but we moved to Colorado right after I finished the course and they were paying EMTs about $6.50/hour, whereas I could make $10/hour as a swim coach. Money talks so I walked away from the EMT world.

And I've regretted it ever since.

Don't get me wrong - I LOVE coaching and I can't wait to get back on deck. But I've spent every year since I walked away from my EMT certification trying to get it back. When we were in Alaska, I found a course I could take in the summer, between school years. But then I found out I couldn't take it while pregnant and I was pregnant with my first child.

I found a class in Hawaii but MacGyver's crazy deployment/training schedule made it impossible with littles at home. I found a class here in Oz but see above. And there were no classes in Korea.

Go figure.

But now we're back. And my littles aren't little anymore. And life has eased up a bit. And I have access to the GI Bill. And...it might just work. Our lead pastor is a Paramedic and (former?) Flight Medic. He has connections in this local world and, during our 'on-boarding' session, he sat there and texted the EMT instructor to verify that he'd be teaching the class again in the fall. He will.

This may actually happen. There are some logistics to work out but I'm doing my best not to sweat details that are 9 months out. I don't know what my life is going to look like much beyond tomorrow so I see no sense in expending precious energy stressing over something months away. Or so I keep telling myself.

I don't know that I even want to go work as an EMT - mainly I want to get my certification so I can put it to use with Team Rubicon (still working on that post...), but I suspect I will need to work as an EMT in order to gain the experience necessary to help with TR. So there's that.

I don't 'do' resolutions each year. Not my thing. But I always have goals - things I want to accomplish, complete, learn, do. Getting back on deck, regaining my EMT certification, and working with TR are my top 3 right now and they are all kind of lining up. I'm almost afraid to hope.

But I will anyway.




- hfs

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