Wednesday, January 3, 2007

Fifty Four

Yesterday at 2000 hours, my ride time came to an end. It was just over 8 hours since my most recent call on that shift, and as the clock clicked over to quitting time I let out a sigh and gathered up my things. I walked around the fire house and shook hands with all of the folks who helped me along the way, thanked them, and told them I appreciated their time and that I have learned alot from them. Each of them clasped my hand firmly, wishing me well and good luck on my exams. I wrapped my paramedic program jacket around myself, stepping out into the cold night towards my car. An anti-climactic ending to a whirlwind of experience.

We are required to submit to our instructors a listing of all patients treated during our ride time. Mine is 54 patients long, ranging in nature from cardiac arrest to the BLS downgrade: all individual experiences that - at the time - were new to me. For the past six weeks I floated from call to call on a high familiar only to the novice. I was excited about starting IVs, pumped to push drugs. ...And there they are listed on my paperwork: 18 gauge IV established, medication administered, a difference made. Fifty four times.

I look at the list though, and feel like it is far too short. 54 calls really isnt much at all. Hardly a sample, a mere taste of the vast array of what I will encounter during my days as a paramedic. There is no question that I am better now than when I started. Better with my assessments, more confident with my knowledge and increasingly proficient with my skills. Still though, I cant help but be impressed with how much more there is yet to learn. There is still so much that I havnt done yet, so many things that I need to do again. As much as I have experienced over these days and as much as I have grown, the clearest lesson that I have come to understand is that my education cannot - and will not - stop here.

I would like to thank all of those who took extra care to help me learn. Tommy Sinkewitz, Steven Ball, Mark Miller, Brian Eaton, Victor Morrone, John Pickert. Others, at work: Greg Shovak, Evan Scarborough, Rick Ortyl. There are some paramedics who would have students simply ride along and stay out of the way. Others take that opportunity and turn it into something greater, fostering growth and passing knowledge. You guys took the hours that I had and helped me make the most of it, and for that I thank you all.


My initial intent was to write this blog in order to document only my passage through ride-time, but over these weeks I have found the process to be so helpful, and the response so positive, that I dont think I could do anything other than keep writing. There is still much to learn and much left to write about. I look forward to continuing this blog throughout my experiences as a paramedic, and I hope that my readers are willing to hang around as well. All of the comments and emails have been absolutely incredible: both helpful and interesting along the way. Please keep them coming, and I'll do my part to keep writing.

Everyone, thank you.


Shane said...

Congratulations on making it through ride time. After reading of your experiences and how you have handled them, and more importantly how you have learned from them I have no doubt that you'll do fine as a paramedic. It's unfortunate that we haven't had the chance to ride together at all. But I'm sure that at some point in the future our paths will cross and we'll be able to work through the calls and talk shop...medic to medic. Good job and keep up the good work. I look forward to continuing to read your blog. As always, don't hesitate to ask questions.

Anonymous said...

I've really enjoyed reading your blog. I'm glad you will be keeping it up.

Dan Flanagan, NREMT
Ellington Ambulance

Anonymous said...

Please do continue to write in your blog. Your writing is articulate and entertaining, and every entry you have made was reminiscent of a call or situation from my past.


Dan said...

Thank you so much for sharing your experiences, and in such an intelligent way. It's rare to find such eloquence these days.

I'd love to hear more about your aspirations to go for the M.D. at some point, from your perspective as a paramedic. I'm facing a somewhat similar situation, and would enjoy hearing your thoughts on that.

Anonymous said...

good call, keep writing

Anonymous said...

I recently completed my internship rides with a major high-volume service in the middle of the country. It was nothing short of the best time I'd ever had at work. Now that it's over, I'm pretty sad about having to leave.

When I started, I remember those first 911 calls. One call in particular, really the first call I ran entirely on my own. That was tough. I fumbled, froze up, and did a pretty half-assed job. But every call goes a little better than the rest.

Like you, I feel a lot more confident about the care I provide to people. I still make plenty of mistakes, but every day I make a few less.

Anonymous said...

Hey buddy, Dwayne here...(from the City)

Amazing. I wish some of my memories were that clear. You're bright, humble, thoughtful...It will be a great loss when you choose to stop writing. Thanks for taking the time to do so!

Good luck on your exams!!