Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Brief Update


          I have been so busy lately, my computer time has been seriously limited.  Getting on to check my email has been a rarity, let alone posting on the blog! 

         The past two weeks in short form are as follows:

1. Got hired at the Edgewood Wal-Mart supercenter as a sales associate:
  a.  Hours were 0300 (3:00am) - 1200 (noon), but moved an hour later.  
  b.  Despite it being only an hour later, 4:00am is actually a much better and easier time
       to work than 3:00 - 12:00. 
2. Finals week started...need any more be said?
  a. I just completed my lab assessments, which are basically simulated patient treatments for the EMT.
  b. I'm currently waiting on grades for my math final, which did go very smoothly, and I am not too
      worried about at all.
  c. I have a biology lab final tomorrow.  Early.  Coming in from Edgewood to Main CNM campus.
  d. EMT-B theory final is Thursday!!!
  e. final day of EMT lab is subcutaneous and intramuscular injections.  One performed on a classmate,
      and on performed on me by a classmate. 
3. I'm housesitting for a couple weeks,
4. I am attending an open house for my Civil Air Patrol squadron (High Desert Composite) tomorrow at
    the Masonic lodge on Highway 66.
  a. Heather Wilson is going to be there.
  b. My store manager is going to be there.

          That about sums life up as I can remember it at the moment.  Life is busier than usual, and that is good.  As I like to say, it keeps me out of trouble and off the streets.  My intention at the moment is to take a trip to Santa Fe as soon as I recieve my basic certificate in order to see if I can make it into the May EMT-B exam block for the state of New Mexico.

          I have had little free time recently, but I do enjoy playing a few tunes on my guitar from time to time. 
These are a few of my current favorites and ones I am practicing/polishing.

Those Who Wait by Tommy Emmanuel

Here Without You by Three Doors Down

Here Comes the Sun by The Beetles

Take a Bow by Rihanna

Back in Black by AC/DC

Till next time...adios.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Ride-Along Update

Time for a little more information from my ride along.
I can't publish information on who the patient was due to HIPAA (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act), but since I don't have much information on them anyway, I can pretty much tell you about the calls. 

          The first call was for an "unresponsive" male patient at an apartment complex.  The call  came in as a "Delta" priority from dispatch, so we responded what we call code 3 with lights and sirens.  That was my first ever time in an emergency vehicle like that, so I was extremely happy--just about giddy. 
Anyway, Kris looked at the residence area and said "I think we've transported this guy before.  Watch, we'll get there and he'll be responsive and want us to take him to the hospital."  Upon our arrival, Kris said "yup, this is the guy.  He has gotten combative before, so just make a note of that."  When we entered the room, sure enough, the man was responsive and complaining of nothing in particular, just that he hurt everywhere. 
He was able to get to the ambulance, so we began transport.  Once in the ambulance, the patient began complaining of chest pain, so according to protocol Kris hooked up the EKG or electrocardiogram to the patient to monitor his heart rythm and make sure he was stable and not having a heart attack or cardiac dysrythm.  Once we got to the hospital, the patient decided he felt OK and walked to the restroom while we turned in the patient report.

         Our second call was a shortness of breath call that we actually ended up letting the fire department take care of.  Residential neighborhood, husband called for wife.  During the time we were there, the fire medic asked the wife some questions, and when the husband answered for her, she screamed at him in full, coherent sentences, so we knew she was breathing quite well. 

          The third call was a little more interesting.  It came in as a "Charlie"-- respond code 3 for a possible MVC (motor vehicle collision) with pedestrian involvement.  it looked like a madhouse when we arrived  on-scene.  There were at leas two police squad cars, on fire engine and one fire ambulance inaddition to ours.  The fire EMTs already had the patient, a young woman appearing to be in here early twenties, backboarded and stabilized.  Kris asked the patient some of the standard orientation questions such as "what day is it?  Where are you right now?" and things of that nature.  This patient was unable to answer the questions given, so transport was indicated.  Once she was in the ambulance, Kris started an IV to keep her from going into shock.  He found that she was intoxicated at the time, and explained to me that that was the probable cause for here inability to answer the orientation questions.  Upon further examination, no evidence of physical trauma could be found upon the patient despite her complaint of pain in her legs.  Obtaining a history of the incident was pretty much impossible due to her uncooperative demeanor.  Once we got to the hospital, I actually got to lead the team in transferring her to a hospital bed from the long spine board.  After delivering the report, we reported ourselves back in service. 


          The fourth call was hands-down the best call, and quite a rare one at that.  We were dispatched at "Bravo" priority to the residence of victims of a previous MVC.  Upon arrival, we learned that the patient had walked from the scene of an accident to the residence.  Once we got the patient onto the gurney, Kris took his lung sounds because he was presenting with dyspnea and tachypnea, or difficulty breathing with fast respirations.  He could barely speak three words before having to take a few more breaths.  Kris looked surprised and said "You know you're missing a lung, right?"  The guy knew he was in pretty bad shape, but what he didn't know was that his exact condition was a tension pneumothorax, or air separating the lung from the chest wall, crushing it, and pushing it against the heart and other lung.  Due to the possibility of other unseen injuries, an IV was started, and rapid transport was initiated.  The interesting thing about this patient was that out of all of the patients so far, he was the most polite, the best historian, and the most normal seeming one so far that night.  We transported him to the trauma center at UNMH where he recieved a surgery on the spot.  With the pneumothorax condition being fairly rare, it is uncommon for a medic to just get to see a surgery normally, much less on a first ride-along.  It wasn't overly gory, but did remind me why I wanted to be the EMS medic patching someone up rather than cutting someone open for an emergency surgery.  They put a chest dart in the patient.  though not completely alike, it was similar to the posted link. 

WARNING: it is a graphic video, so don't watch unless you can handle blood and bodily fluids.

          All in all, a very good first ambulance ride. 

Monday, April 16, 2012

Don't Get On My Nerves...In Class?

  It is officially down to the last few weeks in the first year of college!  It's been a bittersweet--mostly sweet journey full of God's blessings and provision for my life. 
          One interesting thing is that the last few weeks have exposed one thing that gets on my nerves MAJORLY.  That would be people not taking things seriously.  I can understand it when my friends joke about things and give me a hard time for being "too serious".  (;   However...when you are in an EMS class learning how to save someone's life?  That is a different matter altogether.  I actually *sternly* said something to two of my classmates earlier. (If you know me... *sternly* and Corey...well, they really don't go together very well usually).  They just don't usually *happen*.  Anyway, I went so far as to actually raise my voice and tell them "Don't stand over your patient!  Roll him the right way!  You know how to do it, so do it.  In the real world, things won't be so easy for you!!" 
          It may sound like I am overreacting, but think about this.  You are backboarding a patient.  Immobilizing them on a long spine board.  Manually stabilize the head to protect the vital nerves of the spinal chord.  Apply a C-collar to help immobilize the cervical spine.  Inspect and palpate (feel) their spine for any deformities, trauma, open wounds, things of that nature.  Roll them onto a backboard using the count of the responder who is stabilizing the patients head.  "1, 2, 3, (roll)." 

There are a few more steps after that, but without going into them, just know that they are simple, straightforward steps to keeping a patient safe for moving. 
          The consequences of not properly applying an LSB are far-reaching and severe for the patient and even the responder. 
          If the patient is not fully "packaged" in the correct manner, they could be paralyzed for life.  That in itself is a reason--a perfecly good reason-- to backboard someone *correctly* every practice time around. 
For me as an EMT, if I do it wrong, I could be sued for negligence-- a breach of duty.  Something any other good EMT would never do under any circumstances. 
          I know my medical terms can get extraneous and boring at times, but when you apply it to real life, that could be the life of your loved one, or even you that I will be working to save someday. 

I want my care to be the absolute BEST I can provide, and if I see anything less in myself or another, I cannot and will not tolerate it.
          Now, with that in mind, it is also more the attitude of the person.  If they are struggling with a skill, I am totally OK with that, and ready to help them so that they understand and can complete it. 

Sooo....if you don't want me yelling at you...try not to kill people through thoughtlessness.  Can't stand it...though I'm fairly certain that no one reading this blog would do such a thing. 

         Recently that has been teaching me to stand up for something.  I used to be such a pushover, letting things like carelessness and neglect thrive...even in my spiritual life--not just in other poeple--but in myself as well.  I would not take chances that God put right in front of me, just because of my sheepishness.  I am coming to realize just how much we as Christians have been entrusted with spreading the word to unbelievers-- that the world is not right, they are sinners just as we are, and they deserve eternal punishment--just as we did before Jesus rescued us and brought us back from absolute death.