Monday, March 1, 2010

Report From Ladder Company 40 Days 162 and 163

Hi Team!

Sunday was a good day.  I went to church and then my husband and I had a "date" and went to lunch.  Just the two of us.  It was a nice time.  We have been married nearly twenty years but through out that entire time I don't think we have gone out, just the two of us, for simply the purpose of enjoying our selves and each other more than about 50 times.  And I think that is probably a generous guess.  My husband isn't and really never was the dating type.  We spent a lot of time going out with his family, or him coming to things our family was doing.  We went on some dates, but they were not what most people would call dates.  We went scouting for animals in the woods and did some hiking, picked up a lot of garbage in the woods, that sort of thing. LOL  I just love when we have REAL (by that I mean TRADITIONAL) dates, even if they are rare.

I drank fluids all day long and didn't keep track because my hubby has been very congested and I have had some issues with it as well.  I wasn't any more or less active than I am on any other Sunday and I did sleep well so I am calling it three for three.

On Friday I think it was, I found the blog of Peter Canning, a paramedic and writer.  He has also worked in government and has done a lot to further the advancement of EMS and build its status as a valued profession. 

I have read one of his books, Paramedic 471 and am currently reading the book he wrote prior to that, Paramedic.  Both are very good books.  Paramedic 471 tells of several of the calls he has run over the years and how he has handled them.  It shares successes, not so successful calls, the ups and downs he went through and so forth.  He shares what it was like working with various people and all of that.  He was an experienced paramedic when he wrote that one.  Paramedic was written before that one.  In it he is a brand new paramedic and he talks a lot about his doubts and fears as far as his abilities are concerned.  I have found it challenging to read Paramedic because I often feel a lot of similar doubts and fears.  I just don't have the confidence for the job yet.  I know it will come in time and I am not horribly worried about it but it was kind of affirming to read the same kinds of feelings coming from someone I admire in the profession. 

Anyway, I found his blog, Street Watch Notes of a Paramedic and I just love it.  Mr. Canning clearly loves his profession.  He is passionate and wants to help others with the same passion be better Paramedics and continue learning to be the best that they possibly can be.  His blogs are informative and easy to read.  I was very impressed.  I went to the page to contact him and sent him a message:

My name is "Hotflash."  I am 41 and making a career change. As a child I always wanted to be a paramedic. I ended up working as a manager of school-aged child care programs for the last 20 years instead. Now I am going for my dreams. I start EMT school the end of March and I am taking CERT training during the month of March. Enough about me though, here is what I really wanted to ask you:

What suggestions would you give me to help me in this journey? For example, Is there anything you wish you would have known before you started going to school to become a paramedic? Anything you can tell me along those lines would be appreciated.

Also: I read Rescue 471 and it was eye opening and fascinating. I finally got my hands on a copy of Paramedic and I am reading it now. In it you expressed many of the doubts and fears I am feeling right now, even before I start classes. If I hadn't read Rescue 471 first and seen for myself your confidence and what experience did for you, I don't know if I could continue to read Paramedic because as much as I want to do this and feel I was born to do this, I'm scared. And admittedly, my being twice as old as most of the students is a little intimidating too. What are some strategies that worked for you in beating the doubt monster down? Any advice you have to offer would be greatly appreciated.

Thank you for sharing your stories in your books and thank you in advance for allowing me to contact you through this blog site.

Yours Truly,

(I used my real name but that doesn't matter here.) 

On Sunday I was pleased to get this in my inbox:

Hi Hotflash-

Thanks for the kind words. I'm glad you are enjoying my books.

I think your best bet in class is to read the material carefully and don't be afraid to ask questions. Also, take every opportunity you have to ride as an observer on an ambulance or to do ED observation time if allowed while in class. If the instructors see you are serious about doing this, they will give you extra help.

best of luck and I hope you find EMS as rewarding as I have, i know many people who have entered this career in their 40s and been glad they did.

Peter C

I was very happy to get a response.  I know he is a very busy man but I appreciate that he took the time to write back.  I most appreciated his last sentence though.  All of you have told me not to sweat the age thing, but it really is hard to ignore when all the people I have seen and met so far trying to get into this field are almost young enough that I could be their mother!  I just wanted to share this with you because it was very encouraging to me.


Today was another good day.  Although I was worried at the start of it.  When I left this morning to go to work, I got to my car and stepped up on the running board to get in.  (Remember I am a shorty and I drive a full sized SUV).  Somehow over the weekend, I'm not even sure when, I pulled something in my left side and a pain shot through me that almost caused me to fall.  OH BOY did it hurt!  I was really worried that it would prevent me from doing much today but I prayed about it and went to work.  I went for my walk with Coach Alex and her son, James too.  I only did two instead of three miles today and I skipped the stairs.  And I spent a good ten minutes stretching before I even started.  But I am happy to say that I didn't let it stop me altogether and I am glad.  I still hurt tonight but usually only when I try to step up with my left leg.  I took some ibuprofin and I am trying to push those fluids.  With any luck, by wednesday, I'll be back on the stairs. 

I made my quota of fluids just barely today.  Two quarts of greentea/lemonade.  I really didn't get enough sleep last night, truth be told so that is only 2 for three,  in all honesty.  Before I call it a night, I promised a pic when I got the patch on my coat.  And I have forgotten a few times now to post it.  Here it is:

Until next time, stay safe everyone!

Hotflash out.