Sunday, April 18, 2010

Report From Ladder Company 40 Stayin' Alive!

April 11-17, 2010     Days 203-209 

Hi Team!

I have completed my third week of EMT school!  And I'm still here!

Here's my report card:

Physical Training:  C

Rest&Relaxation:  B+

Health: B

Study Hall A+ and Extra Credit

Total grade for the week B

I did  not study as hard this week as I did the previous two weeks but I have in well over 20 hours of study on top of school so I think I am okay there.  I got a bit more sleep and more recreation time this week because I was going crazy without it.  I could be doing better with the fluid intake, but I am keeping a bottle of something with me where ever I go, with the exception of weekends, and if it is there, I tend to drink it without even thinking about it. 
The exam this week was a lot harder than I had anticipated.  I scored an 89 and the average class score was 82.4.  With 80 being passing, that means some of my classmates didnt' make it this time.  And I noticed by thursday there were only 31 of us in class out of 34.  It will be sad if we've already lost three students.  I was really hoping all 34 of us would make it. 
The practicals were hard!  I was unvelievably nervous!  Airway Module:  Mouth to Mask Ventilation had 6 points possible, all critical failures if missed.  Airway Module:  Oropharyngeal Airway had 6 points possible, all critical failures if missed.  Airway Module:  Nasopharyngeal Airway had 9 points possible, all critical failures if missed.  Airway Module: Ventilatory Management:  Bag Valve Mask -Respiratory Arrest had 6 points possible, 4 were critical failures if missed and ventilations had to be initiated within 30 seconds (to avoid critical failure) and demonstrated for a minimum of 30 seconds.  Airway Module: Oxygen Administration had 15 points possible, all critical failures if missed.  No pressure to perform here.  It is only Do or DIE!  But, by the grace of God I aced them all.  (Though I don't believe I should have.)  I think my evaluater was very kind to me because I know I let go of my oxygen cylinder to reach for an oropharyngeal airway without laying the cylinder down first and when I realized it I said, "Crap, I let go.  I wasn't supposed to do that!"but she did not mark it as a critical failure.  Perhaps because I caught it before she did, I do not know.  In any case, I'll take the pass.  I knew the right thing to do and I won't make that mistake again!
When the written and practical exams were over, my class mates on either side of me and I exchanged high fives and one of them did a little song and dance "Stayin' Alive!"   It was appropriate.  We're all still in!!
One thing that sticks out in my mind from this week was a demonstration that Cliff, one of the instructors did for us.  We were talking about trauma patient assessments and blood loss.  He told us that blood WILL freak us out.  He said that when we do exercises later in the quarter there will be moulage (make up of injury simulations).  He said he will be able to make one tablespoon of blood cause us to miss major threats to life, even though he is giving us advance warning.  To demonstrate he took a one liter bottle of water and mixed some stuff in it to simulate blood.  Then he took us outside and poured it out as he walked, leaving a six inch wide trail of "blood" that was probably a good 30 feet long.  And he finished with, "And that is not a life threatening amount of blood for an adult!"  It was pretty impressive, especially for a visual learner like me.
In other news for the week, I got brave and contacted a firefighter in a large metropolitan area to the North of where I live, whom I "know" from the Crusty Jakes website I frequent.  I asked him if he would be willing and or able to pull some strings and arrange for me to do a ride-along so I can get some visual experience.  He was very kind and spoke with a paramedic buddy of his and with his captain, who was happy to agree to it.  He got back with me and told me who to contact formally to make the request and gave me dates that would work for him.  It looks like it's going to happen!  : D  I have to write the letter this week but it sounded as if that was merely a formality.  I also spoke with one of the guys on our Fire Buff Battalion who just retired the 30th of March from our local FD and he gave me the contact name for our department and some tips to try and get a ride-along with them.    And the Fire Buff Battalion crew was very kind to me as well.  They all have been very encouraging of me in my schooling and several of them allowed me to take their vital signs last night at our meeting.  I really feel very fortunate to have made such great friends there, on this blog, on some of the social network sites and my fan fiction writing website.  Everyone really encourages me and supports me and it really makes a difference!
Another thing that happened this week is that Emergency! Season 6 became available.  I have been looking forward to this for a LONG time!  I went to Borders the day after it came out and they did not have any copies in store, even though I asked about it three weeks ago and they told me it would be in.  I was not happy.  I went over to our local mall to the FYE store to purchase it.  I could not find season 6 on the shelf, only seasons three and four.  I inquired at the check out and they said they had one in store.  But then another associate leaned over to the first and whispered something.  The associate helping me said, "Well, we have one in store but we cannot sell it because it is on hold for another customer."  I am sure I did not look pleased.  Here I was, in store, with cash in hand and they would not sell me what I came for.  He offered to order it for me and told me it would only take about two weeks.  OH GOODIE!   I am afraid I wasn't very nice.  I was mad that they told me they had a copy they wouldn't sell.  It would have been better to say they didn't have it.  I looked at him and said, "NO, if my money isn't good enough for today, it won't be good enough for tomorrow or any other day." and I turned and walked out.  I felt (still feel) a little badly about it because the man seemed nice enough and wanted to help, but for an item that was JUST released, you would think they would have copies available. I am pretty sure they did not have lines around the block for 36 hours and just sold out before I got there!   And I think it is terrible customer service the way they handled it.  I was very unhappy.  On saturday morning I let my fingers do the walking and found out that Best Buy had it and cheaper than Borders or FYE told me it would be.  I went and bought it right away! : D
I have watched four episodes this weekend.  I like it.
One other thing that is really awesome happened this week but I have been sworn to secrecy until it can be formally announced to the part(y/ies) involved.  It is KILLING me to keep quiet because I am very excited about it.  I hope that I will be able to share it in my next report!
That's about it for this week, pallies.
Stay safe!
Hotflash out.