Everything you read here should be considered fiction. Patient rights will always be respected. Any resemblance to persons living or not is purely coincidental.

Friday, October 25, 2013

Paramedic "Base Camp" Part 2

Oh, the humanity.
I really needed a day off.  So much.  So badly.  Just needed a break.
But the break did not come.  We kept going.
Wake up

Then I hit the wall.
We were running through dynamic cardiology as a group, my group consisting of 4 people.  We each stood up, were given a scenario, and ran with it.
I froze.  Mind blank.  Reaching for the AHA algorithm that fit, and seeing only a blurry, colored chart, faded in my memory.  I did not have it.
All the emotions, the stress, the disappointment, all my worry about never being good enough welled up to the surface.  I had to walk away.
OK, I'm a Ranger, so I had to hike away.
I found myself sitting at a bus stop in the rain, crying like a child, asking myself what the hell I am doing, whether I should just call a cab and head for the airport.  Tried to call my sister but got no answer. 
Cried it out all through lunch and decided to stick it out.  Try to stop worrying about being perfect and just work hard and do my best.

But I still need to review my ACLS algorithms.

Day by day, it got better.  Everyone else was sweating the final written exam (I was not).
We had incredible instructors, they all worked with us if we needed it.  Every spare moment was spent practicing, practicing, practicing.  IV starts on the fake arms, IV med bolus, IV med infusion, ET intubation of Adult and Peds manikins, trauma and medical assessment. 

And cardiology.  My love, and my nemesis, cardiology.
That subject that I need to know inside out, yet it eludes me with its intricacies.

Final skills testing day came.  Knocked out trauma and medical assessments, ET Intubation, alternative airways, baby birthin'.  And  I nailed static cardiology.  And managed to fail dynamic spectacularly.

Let me interject here about the personalities of the other students.
We had quite the crew.  We were divided up into 3-4 person groups in the beginning and stuck together throughout.  My group consisted of "Failure Girl" (FG for short), "Knows-it-all-already Critical Care EMT girl" (um, CCEMT for short) and loud, annoying older guy going into EMS management (LAG). 
FG was doomed from the beginning.  The rest of us were told to not even spend time trying to help her.  She wants to be a firefighter, is a really nice, funny gal, but did not study.  Apparently she was even told not to come to Boot Camp, but came anyway.  She was constantly checking her phone during labs and just did not seem interested.
CCEMT was pretty nice, attentive during labs, helpful, overall a decent gal to work with.  There was very little that she had not already done as a more advanced level EMT.
LAG was loud.  Tried to help FG, tried to make his point by talking louder.  Started to annoy me, but probably just because I was so stressed out.

Fast forward back to test day.  I had just failed dynamic horribly (I think I said I would give an amiodarone infusion for symptomatic bradycardia?  really it's just a blur)

Everyone was sitting in the lobby, waiting to be called in to stations.  I walked out, still stunned at my own incompetence to the general question, "How did you do?"
"I failed dynamic."
LAG decided to pipe up, "Dynamic?  Wow that's so easy!"
Stunned silence.  I could have punched him.  I walked away.

1 comment:

  1. This doesn't have anything to do with this particular post, but thank you for linking to me (at 618rants). Believe it or not, I started out as a ranger/EMT also, although at the state level in Connecticut. Of course, I stayed at the EMT Basic level, and you're going for medic, and I left the wonderful world of ranger-ing about 30 year ago, but still...

    I'll be adding you to my blogroll in a couple of hours.

    Thanks again! Happy holidays and "Let's be careful out there."