Ride Along #1

Had my first ride along this weekend for my EMT class. This one was MUCH more mellow than the last one I did...

My medic, K, was wonderful. Easy going, smart, experienced, seen and done some crazy stuff. He splits his time between the private service I rode with and a larger municipal service closer to where he lives. This is his 16th year in EMS and he's quite the jack of all trades.

My EMT, R, is this young, beautiful blonde MMA fighter. I believe this is her fourth year as an EMT and she's hilarious, irreverent, and sarcastic. She has also seen and done some crazy stuff and nothing seems to really faze her.

The shift was actually quite quiet and the 'white cloud' that usually follows an EMT student was firmly in place. We didn't get a call until we were a good 3.5 hours into the shift. And then that call was canceled because the purported patient got up and walked away. So much for that.

Less than an hour later, we got a call for a possible cardiac arrest on a young person (over 18 but not by much). By the time we arrived on scene, the patient had been declared dead and our call was canceled.

Our most interesting call was for an elderly patient that had fallen, struck their head, and was bleeding. They had a syncopal episode and struck their head on the way down. Because of previous heart problems, they were on a blood thinner and it was difficult to get the bleeding under control. We blew through 2 trauma dressings, 2 ice packs, a ton of 4x4 gauze, several pair of gloves and 2 pillowcases (one was used as a makeshift compress until we could get hands on a trauma dressing) and a bunch of hardcore direct pressure and still we weren't able to get it truly under control before getting to the hospital. Then, just to keep things interesting, our patient started having substernal chest pains as we arrived at the ER.

Following that was a young patient suffering from PTSD with suicidal indications. It had been a rough weekend for this person and they had reached the end of their rope. After waiting for the police department to secure the scene, we transported the patient. It was interesting to watch my EMT interact with the patient and I learned a lot in the way she did so.

Last call of the night (again, slow shift) was a patient that had been assaulted. We had the pleasure of working with the local PD as they secured this scene as well. There had been an altercation between roommates and the patient had some superficial lacerations but refused transport.

My medic and EMT encouraged me to practice as many skills as I could and I'm grateful. Back in SoCal, we were told to sit down and shut up and observe but don't DO anything. Here, they firmly adhere to the adage that the best way to learn is to DO. I'm grateful. But what I'm more grateful for is the fact that it all felt so...NATURAL. Yet again, I feel like I am at home. Dark senses of warped humor, trauma assessments, patient interaction...another missing piece falls into place.

I'm so glad I didn't give up.

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