The calls keep rolling in, and as I gain experience with this job and start to begin to feel like I can perhaps have an inking of comfort with what I do, I have been subjecting myself every other day to a completely different experience: school.
Tuesdays and Thursdays are school days. I am on campus all day, in the lecture hall and the lab studying Chemistry and Physics. The material is foreign to me with it's dizzying array of equations, formulae, and mathematical logic- starkly different from the Monday, Wednesdays, and Fridays I spend in the fronts and backs of ambulances. The two efforts seem to require different parts of my brain. Half of the days I think how I have been trained, with what information I have gleaned from experience on the subjects of signs and symptoms. The other days, I have to warp and contort myself around concepts that I have never seen before, about math that I barely recollect in orientations that I struggle to comprehend. I hate the math. I have never been very good at it, and to do well in these subjects means to grind my way through mountains of practice problems, gritting my teeth as I calculate, erase, and re-calculate solutions.
Mastery is coming with time, but the work is harder because of my distaste for it. It took a lot of effort to learn what I know as a paramedic also, but the struggle was eased by my interest. I always kept my medic book open a little longer than required, spurred onward by a thirst for the knowledge. With this science I am taking, though, I am always glad to have finished: slamming the book covers closed with a definite thump. It is a hoop to jump through, and as of late I am becoming more entwined with the idea that I am being tested not on my scientific ability, but on my determination. This work comes easy for some, but for most of us I have come to believe that it is simply a matter of pressing forward, putting the work in even when it is nothing other than horrible drudgery. Those that rise from the dust of this pre-medical schedule do so because they are hardened warriors: eyes fixed towards a goal, mouth hardened, hands calloused. "Throw at us what you will," they say. "We're coming anyways."
My days in the ambulance test me as well, but I have come to find the time as a relief. I am glad to have this experience, this window into medicine that shines enough light into the tunnel so that I can do for a little while longer without sight of the end. The challenges I face as a Paramedic are exciting, tasty glimpses into a bounty that lays ahead. They are tantalizing, and with each patient I leave in the hands of a higher level of care my determination grows. I still groan when it comes time to do my schoolwork, my stomach aches and I loathe every minute, but I will not give up.
My eyes are fixed.