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.