Friday, January 20, 2012

Another step closer

So, as some may know, I got my NREMT-P back in June.  Due to wedding plans, and some other things (including my own laziness), I have not gotten a job, but I did apply for a boatload of them.  Last spring I applied to my home county for both dispatcher and EMT-B (I didn't have my medic yet), and while I went through the whole process for dispatcher, I only got through the written test for EMT-B.  By the time the physical test came around, I had gotten a wicked case of bronchitis, and could barely get from my couch to the bathroom without loosing a lung.

So last week I got a call from county HR about 'the EMT position.'  I was confused, since I didn't finish off the testing process, but I went along with it.  I know they are opening up hiring for medics and EMT's soon anyway, so it seemed likely.  Imagine my surprise when I get a call from the sheriff's  office for a background check for dispatcher.

Is it my dream job?  No.  But it's a job, it's a good job, and it will pay the bills.  And, it gets my foot in the door with the county for when they do open hiring for medics.  In the meantime, I get a different look at the same field, and have time to get some seasoning as a medic so that when I do get hired somewhere, the intern process will be quick and painless.

Which leads me to the other step I'm taking.  In less than a week, I will be taking my state protocol test.  To say I am almost more nervous than when I took the NREMT-P test is an understatement.  Our state protocols tend to be rather convoluted and obscure, and they delight in testing on the most obscure parts that you will never use.  But, I have some good friends who are helping me study, I have a study guide that was given to me by someone I barely know, and I am working hard on getting it done and so on.

In the meantime.....I'm stressing.

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Only one, but it was a head-scratcher

I rode overnight the other night, with one of my favorite crews.  I was lucky enough to have a BLS crew in house all night, so I could ride 3rd on the medic.  This is something I do as often as possible since I am not operating as a medic right now and most of the medics I ride with allow me to do assessments and ask me my treatment plans and such.  It's good practice for me for when I am the 'lucky' one.  In the meantime, I don't have to do paperwork.

So anyway...We got a call to a residence for an elderly patient complaining of 9/10 abdominal pain.  Had abdominal pain all day, woke up feeling poorly, and had gone about daily duties until the pain just got too bad.  History of strokes, IBS, vertigo, and an appendectomy as a child.  Vitals on scene were stable; in fact the first BP we got was better than mine.  The patient was a poor historian, and family members filled in the blanks, but the history of the current problem was slightly sketchy.  Abdomen was soft, no masses, with some slight tenderness over the LRQ.  We were considering constipation, but the patient had even written down what time he took care of that particular problem this morning.  The thought of a AAA crossed both our minds, but the patient just didn't look right for it.  No sudden onset of pain, the pain was cramping rather than stabbing in nature; it just seemed like an issue of IBS or constipation.

However, the patient looked like crap.  Pale, slightly diaphoretic, with that clammy nature I've learned over the past 16 years is the hallmark of the truly sick.  The BLS crew had chased us, and the EMT (who has been an EMT for over 20 years) seemed surprised that ALS would transport (both the medic and I had that "feeling" that this one was not quite right).

The patient insisted on walking down the stairs to the stretcher outside and did so without incident.  We had a nice quiet ride to the hospital, non-emergency.  No 12-lead changes, no EKG changes, vitals remained stable, pain didn't move, and we talked with the patient a good bit en route.  As we were pulling up to the ambulance bay, the patient suddenly grimaced and said "Wow, the pain just got worse."

This particular hospital we went to is not really known for moving fast when we arrive.  For a moment, I half expected them to shunt our patient out to triage.  The charge nurse took one look at our friend, and hustled into action.  The patient was transferred, blood drawn, 12-lead done, and doctor hurried in.  The patient's color looked slightly better, but now BP was somewhere around 80/50, rather than the nice 116-120 systolic it had been for us.  The patient was also now telling the doctor that the pain had been around for 2 days, and the abdomen was now tender.  I'm not sure what all they did, but by the time we cleaned up and were leaving, the patient was alone in the room again.

The hospital thought AAA as well, and I know they were working up the patient for that.  The chief is going to call down and see if he can get an update on what exactly was wrong.

So yeah, lesson of the night was to listen to your instincts, children.

Of course, as par for my expectations, that was the only call we had.  I don't get many chances to ride with ALS at my volunteer house, and it seems that when I do, we barely turn a wheel.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012


So, yeah, I'm a slacker.  Things have been both busy, and boring all at the same time.  Since I last posted, I got married, which took up a good portion of my time with planning and other nonsense. I've been training (on and off, thanks to the aforementioned wedding) for a triathlon, and ran in the Marine Corps Marathon 10K (that's 6.22 miles for those of you who don't do metric).  Like I said...busy, and yet boring.

What I have not done is been working.  Again, slacker.  We are lucky in that we are surviving on my husband's (wow...still feels weird to say that) salary alone, but things would be much nicer if I was working.  I've put in mad hours at my firehouse (was made a sergeant this summer as well), working on my intern status at my medic unit (also volunteer), and getting ready to take my state certification test.  Oh yeah, and applying for jobs.

One job I had applied for last year was with my local county.  I passed the written test, the interview, and when it came time for the physical, I had to bow out because I came down with bronchitis, and couldn't walk up the stairs at my house without losing a lung, let alone walk on a stair mill for 3 minutes in a 50 lb vest.  The only up-side was that I figured by the time they hired again next year, I'd be a full-on medic, and more 'hireable.'

Today, while I was transporting a patient who really didn't need to go to the hospital via ambulance, I got a phone call from an unknown number.  Now, generally, I don't answer unknown numbers, but I have been lately because of all the job applications I've put out there over the past few months.  However, since I was with a patient, I was good and turned my phone off.  Imagine my surprise when I listened to the voice mail after dropping the patient off at the hospital, and it was the county HR office calling in regards to the EMT position.  Seems that my name is up next on the eligibility list, and they were having issues with my background check.  That happens when you change your name after marriage, evidently.  They weren't very clear on when the hiring process would begin, or what I would have to do (do I need to take all the tests again? etc), but at least I'm up there in the running.  I could have a job as soon as the spring.  This makes me infinately happy.  The fact that I'll have my state ALS card by then is just icing on the cake.

Oh, and I'm signing up for a mini-triathlon in March.  Expect some discussion of my training on here too....