My adventures as a pre-med college student volunteering in the ER and trying to hold my own as an EMT student.

Monday, February 7, 2011

Weeeoooo Weeooo! My first clinical on an ambulance.

It has been so long since I've updated! Between the holidays and school, I just haven't had time to hit up the ER much for volunteering. I'm afraid I may have lost some of my readers with my long absence, but for those who keep up dutifully, here's what I've been up to lately:

I haven't had anytime to volunteer because I have started my EMT-B program! It has been very exciting and stressful. The class is only 3 months long, and so I am already studying for my midterm. The first half has flown by. So far we have learned about medical emergencies: allergic reactions, heart attacks, diabetes, childbirth, etc. I have learned so much, but the material has been a little dry. Next week we start the trauma emergencies, should be exciting. I have that class three days a week, and I am also taking 17 credits at the college. All that paired with the 24 hour clinicals I have to complete each week has made for a crazy schedule. 

This morning I finished up my first EMT clinical shift at a fire station. I went in from 7:00 AM on Sunday morning to 7:00 AM on Monday. I woke up at 5:30 to get ready, I was so nervous I had hardly slept a wink. I got into my uniform, grabbed my little notepad, pen, watch, stethoscope, sleeping bag, and all my other gear. I arrived at the station ten minutes early and met the entire crew, only to find out I wasn't actually working with that crew, as they were all leaving and MY crew was walking in. Great. So I reintroduced myself to everyone else, and asked for a tour of the ambulance. After making my self comfortable with where everything was located, I helped wash the trucks, and sanitized the stretcher and other surfaces with clorox wipes. Then we played the waiting game. At about 10:00, the alarms went off and I just about jumped out of my skin. Dispatch announced a location and said the patient was a 30 y/o female with chest pain. I hopped in my little jump seat in the back and rode in silence as my heart was pounding and my heart was racing. Holy crap, this is it, my very first call! We arrived to a little house where a fire engine was sitting outside. We walked in to find another crew completing an assessment on a woman lying on the couch. I took a glucose test and started her up on oxygen, while the medics prepared her for transport. In route, I took a BP (blood pressure) reading, an O2sat (the little finger thing that measures the oxygen in your blood), and applied a 4 lead (measures cardiac activity). I also was told to give her a squirt of Nitro for the chest pain. Then as soon as we had finished all of that, we were at the hospital and taking her though the double doors. The nurses got her situated, and the medics were answering questions. I wiped down the stretcher and put fresh sheets on.

The rest of my shift, we got paged for three other calls, but they ended up in refusals before we even got there. One was for a young woman who was attempting suicide by laying in the road of a cul-de-sac in a small, residential neighborhood. A major highway was less than 200 feet away, so we concluded that she was only wanting a little attention. She ended up getting a little embarrassed that 911 was called by a neighbor, and refused treatment. We had another call that lead us to a church. It was one of those churches where the gospel choir sways, and the members dance in the aisles with their hands raised high. I guess the power of the lawdy lawd almighty overcame one young woman, as she had felt a little weak and passed out. She refused treatment to a crew who had arrived before us. The last call of the night that I was hoping wouldn't get canceled was for a bar fight right after the super bowl ended, but we turned around before we even got there. There were no calls after that.

Even though I had woken up much earlier than normal that morning, I was wide awake most of the night. It didn't help that the radio was in my room, pretty much right next to the bed. And so, although the station I was at wasn't receiving any calls, I got to hear every call for the entire county that night. It was fun, at first, then it got really old at about 3 in the morning. Overall, it was a quiet night, but I got some homework done and got to watch the entire super bowl. I even won the bet on what color the Gatorade would be when they threw it on the coach.

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