Saturday, April 10, 2010

Report From Ladder Company 40 I'm Doing It

April 4-10, 2010   Days 196-202.

Hi Team!! (yes, TWO exclamation points.)

This was the second week of EMT class which wasn't quite as intense, thankfully.   Before I tell you about my week, let me give you my report card.

PT:  C

R&R:  B

Health:  B

Study Hall A+ and Extra Credit

Total grade for the week B
I have not really improved in my PT  because I still don't have much discretionary time. But I have been as active as I can. I am going to count being purposely active as at least partial credit since it is an effort being made. Therefore, when I am purposely active, like taking the stairs instead of elevator, walking around the area that I'm supervising instead of standing in place, etc. on a daily basis (at least 5 days in the week), I will allow a one letter grade upgrade for the week.   I think that is fair.
This week I have gotten a lot more rest than last week.  I went to bed early Sunday night and Tuesday night.  I even took some naps this week because I was on a modified work schedule for Spring Break.  It felt so GOOD to sleep!  I could still do a lot better here though.
I have been keeping a water bottle with me filled with either, water, orange juice or iced tea at all times.  I find that when I am sitting in class, I will drink my water bottle without even thinking about it.  In fact, in class on Thursday night I drank three waterbottles full.  (48 ounces in three hours).  For ME that is amazing!  I also learned this week that it takes 1 1/2 litres of water a day for the body to humidify the air we breathe on it's way into the body when the humidity and air temperature are normal for our area.   That is why when you are in the elements, especially windy, dry or hot environments, you need more water.  Now I know one of the reasons it is so important to drink our fluids!
Monday was our first class test.  We had a 50 question multiple choice quiz and two practicals.  The practicals were to put a patient into a rapid extrication device and then transfer the patient to a long spine board and secure the patient to the board.  Our instructor allowed us to come in very early before class time to practice and to have our questions answered before our test.  I was glad I was working on my spring break schedule because it allowed me to attend the extra lab time.  I scored 43 originally on the test which made it 86%.  80 is the minimum passing grade.  Our instructor allows us to argue or "challenge" the ones we get wrong as a class and if he agrees with our challenges, or partially agrees, he will give us credit.   He will only give us credit if we provide solid medical support for our challenge.  And then everyone who got the answer that you get him to agree with gets credit for it also.  BUT... if you get a question that way, it will still be wrong if you mark it as such on a futrue quiz or test.  In otherwords, if he gives you a future test with the same question and you get it wrong again, you will never get credit for a right answer for that question.  In anycase, class discussion and challenges raised my first score to a 98!  :D  And... I ACED the practicals!  WOO HOO and YAY ME! 
At the end of this post is an embedded code to see a video of the practical skills I tested on.  In the video, it is shown how to apply a KED (Kendricks Extrication Device) to a seated patient, such as a passenger or driver of a car.  The second half of the video shows how to move a supine patient (lying down, face up) onto a long back board.  My actual test included, applying the KED and moving the patient to the long board and securing the patient to it.  We used three rescuers and the video only shows two.  We learned to do things a little differently and I noticed one BIG flaw in the video, which was that the medic did not measure the patient for the cervical collar.  So, this video isn't perfect and it isn't exactly what I learned and practiced, but it will give you a general idea, if you care to watch it.  It is just under 9 minutes long, as I recall.
Monday I also had to turn down a fire call.  =(   The call came in around 12:30-12:45 in the day time.  I had just gotten to the grocery store after my shift at work.  The call was for a mutual aid structure fire but I did not recognize the address.  When I called in I was told it was at Brown's Point.  Ah, instructor Cliff is Assistant Chief at Brown's Point, Fire District 13.  He may have been there!  I don't know.  It was too far out for me to go on an afternoon when I had school in the evening.  :(  I hate declining calls even though we do provide a voluntary service!)  And wouldn't you know it, when the week settled down, I put in my request to the Fire Buff Battalion President, Cat to bring on the next Big One because I was now ready, willing and able to respond and all she could do was say, "I'll see what I can do."  Nothing has happened yet!  That was Thursday night!
On Wednesday, Cliff taught us about Adult Learning styles.  He helped us learn some techniques to retain more of what we were learning and to memorize things better.  He also demonstrated his point by teaching us to memorize all of the first 10 Presidents of the United States in ascending and descending order in about 4 minutes.  And guess what?   I still remember them all!  Of course it had nothing to do with becoming an EMT but the technique and exercise made me feel more confident.
Confidence.  I guess that is what the week really was all about to me.  We studied the hardest and most important chapter in our book this week, all about airway management.  I was pretty worried about messing up on it but we had our airway lab on Thursday and I did just fine!  I am pretty comfortable with the equipment now and I know the difference between a Pocket Mask, a Non Rebreather Mask, a BVM and a FROPV Device.  And I can insert an Oroesophogeal or Nasoesophogeal airway into a dummy  (who is not fighting me and who's gag reflex and the result of said reflex are not actually present)!  And I can pronounce everything I just wrote!  All in all I am feeling a lot better about this class and my abilities to learn and to do what is needed.  I actually found a little time to chat with friends online and to get in some writing.  YAY! 
One more thing I got to do was spend some quality time with my best friend, Coach Alex!  YAY!  We went to the Gem Fair at the Tacoma Dome on Friday evening and we bought the most BEAUTIFUL shell beads I have ever seen!  It felt SO good to have a little bit of a life outside of work and school!
Well, that is about it for this week.  Here is the link to that video I was talking about.
Have a great week and stay safe!
Hotflash out.