c1: (Star of Life)
[personal profile] c1
This weekend was exhausting. While there were spoons to be had, many more were spent. Monday, I was still paying back spoons I borrowed to get through to the end of Sunday. Really, it was that kind of weekend. Not bad, per se, just abnormally intense. (As in, far beyond usual levels of type A intensity.) 

Saturday morning was spent in lecture. Pretty normal. Saturday afternoon was spent in practical sessions. Lesson of the day was IV starts in real live human beings. And oh, look... there is a classroom full of real live human beings. "Everyone pair up." 

On the back of my hand is the remains of a 20 gauge hole that one of my classmates put there. I'm usually pretty good with getting stuck, but what started eating through my supply of spoons was the fact that this time, it was an 18 year old -- who had just gotten her EMT license around the beginning of summer -- doing the sticking. If it had been the course instructor, who's a seasoned paramedic, I might have used up *a* spoon, instead of around 12. Needless to say, this was unexpected.
Said instructor kept asking me, with some sense of urgency in his voice, if I was OK. Indeed I was, but it was planting myself firmly in my happy place that kept me OK, and maintaining that happy place took about one spoon every 10-12 seconds. I don't know what she was doing, but I've never had an IV site burn before. Usually a small pinch, then just a tiny dull ache that's almost completely ignorable. We're onto doing ER rotations now, so all her future sticks will be in other people. I hope by the time she gets her 25th IV placed, she'll have fixed up her technique.
(I feel compelled to edit this a bit, to add: Yes, this made the spoons meter run quite a bit faster, but the reality of the weekend was that the meter was running fast from Friday night (preparing for the test) until Sunday night when I finally could say "I'm done." Also, the instructor sounded urgent, though I would find out with subsequent students, he was pretty much no less concerned. I think everyone was "feeling the love.")

My turn.

Her skin was the colour of milk, and her veins were somewhat deep. The tourniquet improved the contrast slightly, but not much. I did get the vein (inside mid forearm) on the first try, but not without sweating for it a little. On penetrating the skin, all sight of the vein disappeared, so I had to finish the cannulation effectively blindly. Drew back some blood into the syringe with little effort, then flushed the line with 20 cc's of saline. She took a selfie of my handiwork. (Debating whether to post it, though I'm inclined to just keep it in my files.) Plus side: she declared that she was fairly needle-phobic, and yet didn't say anything hurt. I was pretty happy about that.

Saturday night, I was on duty. Two calls. I'm out of stage three of field training, and have my emergency vehicle operator certification in hand. Drove the first call, which was pleasant. Had a partner up front coaching a bit -- how the truck handles in turns, operating the radio, etc. The console with the lights and sirens is almost entirely electronic, which is a far cry from how things were "back in the day". There is an utter lack of mechanical switches, so knowing how to navigate the menus is something I'm going to have to internalize to the point of automaticity.
Had the pleasure of working with a colleague whom I don't get to work with as often as I'd like. He's a great guy, very friendly, and has done everything he can to make my time in field training go smoothly.*
Call #1 came in while we were at Demoulas getting stuff for dinner. Thankfully the other crew took the basket and dealt with it while we ran off. Call #2 came in at an ungodly hour, and left me with a scant few hours of sleep for the night before waking with the dawn to get cleaned up for class on Sunday morning.

Sunday, the instructor started out with "OK, you guys are all toast, so I'm going to try to get us out of here a little early." We did about 4-5 hours of lecture and another hour on scope of practice; working on the spinal injury clearance protocols. (How to determine that spinal injury is unlikely in the face of a mechanism of injury that would have triggered automatic spinal immobilization in a less enlightened time.) 
We did indeed get out a bit early, but I was still running on fumes at that point. (A day later, and I'm still feeling wiped out.)

Double Plus Good: I got a 92 on exam #3; this follows a similar grade on exam #2. I'd have to check, but I think I got around the same on exam #1. Not sure what that means numerically WRT overall average, but it relieved some stress.

Also good: ER and OR rotations are scheduled through the first week of December. Surprisingly, the coordinator put me up for two OR rotations, when we were only supposed to go through one. I'm pretty happy about that, although that might change: I've been warned that the OR attracts a very specific kind of personality, which can be seen as abrasive to most people. It's not at all unheard of for them to be extremely uninviting to outsiders, especially students.

* I can remember being on a call several weeks ago, and things were going OK. But he showed up and asked "how are things going?" and I thought "well, they were going fine before you showed up, but now they're going even better." 

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