Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Great Falls Hoooooooo!

Okay so yesterday was a long day at work. I worked Sunday night 1900 to Monday morning 0700 which luckily in that time frame there were no calls. My partner and I just sat at the shop and watched Family Guy. The next morning after leaving work I had class from 0900 to 1200 then I was to be back at work at 1300. I started in on the weekly checklist for our 911 rig when one of my supervisors Bob told me to stop what I was doing and join him on the trip to Great Falls to drop off a patient who had hip surgery. I didn't know where the place was so Bob made me drive. So I would then remember where we went. There was a lot of road construction through the canyon as well. But for those of you who haven't been to Great Falls, it's a wee bit confusing to get places at first. Especially considering that one of the main roads had road construction happening and with the added benefit of detours the city was even more confusing. But the trip wasn't bad. It was windy and rainy in the canyon but after that it was sunny. The most amazing thing though was that everything is starting to turn green. Spring is here! Well, it's on its way! So that is a plus.

My partner/boss Bob and I discussed how getting emotionally attached to your patients can be both good and bad. It's good in that if you feel emotional towards the patient you will want to help them, well if you feel for the patient. The bad being that if you get too attached to the patient and it doesn't go the way you want it to the emotions could end up eating at you. The I guess proposed solution to such things is to keep at a distance. Bob told me that it comes with time and losing patients. I don't like the latter part of that but I guess it is the business we are in. Basically the way I see it, the more I study and learn the less likely that will happen, even though I know that it's just a matter of time before I experience my first real loss EMT wise.

Now that the mood is set to something bordering depressing it's time to be upbeat. Tomorrow night after my mandatory work meeting I will be going up to Station One to help fill eggs full of Easter candy for the egg hunt  we are putting on this weekend. So that will be fun. But yeah other than that, it's not been too busy with work. and school. It's weird working 40 hours a week and going to school for 19 credits. It seems like a lot and I feel busy but it doesn't feel overwhelming. So that's a plus. Anyway it's time I be off. Stay tuned!

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Classes, EMT, Firefighting etc!

So it has been a really busy couple of weeks these past few weeks. It's only now that it's Spring Break that I have time to write this right now. There has been a lot going between the last time I wrote on here and now. Maybe I should start writing more frequently so that I don't have a lot to write down. Well here it goes.

So the first half of the semester has wound down which means that we had finals and a change into new classes. The semester wound down pretty smoothly with A's in Haz-mat, Wildland Firefighting, Radio Communication, and Emergency Apparatus Maintenance. I am now Haz-mat certified in both the Operations and Awareness Levels so I know enough to help out but not obligate myself into going into the scary dangerous green gases.

We started new classes last week. Fire Strategies and Tactics and Apparatus Driving classes. I'm pretty excited for both of those because we have less class time and more hands on time. Class time is needed mind you but who doesn't love skipping the bookwork and getting dirty.

So Tactics was off to a fast start with our first two quizzes handed out within the first two classes. Nothing exciting as we have to watch movies and read the chapters on it.  But we're off to a good start. Turns out this class will be more of a hands on class and we will hit on everything we did first semester but with the added bonus of learning tactics that affect the overall strategies of the incidents.

Driving class is going well too. This past weekend we did a driving competency course. We had to drive straight through cones and reverse. I managed to hit 8 out of 11 cones on my first run but I was going at 25mph rather than inching along like most folk. But the rest of the test went well. A week from Saturday we will start our driving around town.

The EMT Job

So these past few weeks have been complete chaos. Transfers aside I've had a lot of 911 calls. Usually on the nights I have to spend the night. It's nice because they had beds there and we get to sleep. The only thing is if we get a 911 call in the middle of the night we have to respond. Well conveniently every time I spend the night we seem busy as hell. So here is the break down of the past three calls I've had as they are ones I remember in detail.

Friday March 19th

Friday was a busy night. My first call was a call to Big Sky Community Center for a woman complaining of shortness of breath. It was a pretty straight forward call. We did vitals and helped her onto the cot and drove her to the hospital. About 10:30pm we received a call from the hospital to return the woman back to the retirement center. Turns out she had fluid on the lungs. Well anyway my partner Anna and I decided to hit the hay after getting the 911 rig ready to go. Everything was going along just fine until 2:30am. We got paged out to Boulder for a woman complaining of abdominal pain. Boulder has its own ambulance service but they couldn't muster up a second person to go so we were called out.

We were called by our boss to wait for her to get to the shop before we could leave. When she got there we headed off. I do enjoy driving code 3 to incidents but at 2:30am I prefer sleep. So anyway I drove 100mph the whole time. Scary but the woman was complaining of 7 out of 10 abdominal pain, plus my boss was harassing me about going slow. Well we get there and her pain went from 7 to 9 out of 10. We got her in the ambulance and her husband wanted to come so he rode in the front with me. That is where the night took a turn for the crazy. The patient ended up having kidney stones but decided to stop taking her meds about 2 months ago. She had so many piercings setting off a metal detector would be a common occurrence but she wouldn't let us put an IV in because she was afraid of needles...

My experience up front was just as exciting. The husband was trying to fidget with the lights and buttons and I had to tell him to knock it off. He explained that he just wanted me to not be a distracted driver and he wanted to get to the hospital safely. Then he proceeded to pull out a portable dvd player. After that he started talking to me about nano technology and how DNA from sharks are curing blindness. Then he started explaining to me how the videogame series, Resident Evil was a cover up by the U.S. government for a cure for AIDS gone to far. I had to shake my head at that. Then he put his iPod on and started singing. We got her to the hospital and everything was fine. We filled out paperwork and returned to the shop. We got back into bed around 5:30am so I was able to get another hour of sleep before we had to get up.

Monday March 22nd

Monday night we had two legitimate 911 calls. First was a gentleman with COPD and a broken arm. He fell trying to fix his clock. We got there and helped him with his breathing treatment then rushed him off to the hospital. We got back to the shop around 12:30am we went to sleep about 1:00am or so then we got a call at 2:30am again for a gentleman who was bleeding profusely into his catheter. When we got there it was basically all blood. His blood pressure was 86/55 so yeah he wasn't doing good. It was one of those load and go situations. I again drove because my partner Ryan has all his endorsements so his scope of practice is a little more advanced than mine. We got the gentleman to the hospital after his nurse told us that this had been going on for four days. Awesome right? Well we got called back at 6:30am to return him to the retirement center so he wasn't as bad as we thought. Which is good.

But yeah that is about it for calls. We took a class this week on our monitoring endorsement. Nothing exciting. I can now test blood glucose, use a pulse oximeter, and put on a 3-lead heart monitor. We're going to do the other endorsements all together. IV monitoring, IV placement, medications and a few others. So I'm one step closer to being an aggressive EMT-B. I think that is what they are called.


The volunteer gig hasn't been to exciting, we had training the other night. Wildland this time. We learned about how these firefighters in South Dakota almost died because they didn't watch out for any of the watch out situations you're supposed to. 11 out of 15 watch out situations were violated. Then we practiced with fire shelters. We tried it without wind then we got the ventilation fan and did it with wind. That was fun. I just have one more meeting I need to go to before I am voted in as a full member.

The Wrap-Up

So yeah that is about it. Even on spring break I'm taking classes and am ridiculously busy. But that is okay because I don't mind the work and helping people is an awesome feeling. I know I've been saying this but I will try to update this more. Stay tuned!

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Again I haven't forgotten about the blog.

I haven't forgotten about the blog I promise I have a lot that I will fill everyone in on this Sunday. So Stay tuned!

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Haz-Mat Hands On, Volunteering, EMTing, etc.

So as most can see it has been a while since I have updated my blog. Honestly due to lack of content. It's hard to make school work and class time sound exciting. Well that changed yesterday when we started doing hands on Haz-Mat training.

 For our Fire Fighter I Certification we have to demonstrate the abilities to establish a haz-mat hot zone, and create a decon area while being able to practice proper decon techniques. It was nice to get back in my turn outs and get to hands on stuff again. It's weird, I was ready at the end of last semester to get done with the evolutions but after 8 weeks of class room boringness I found I missed being in my gear. A good sign perhaps. Anyway, our first tactic was to spot the hazardous material, figure out what it was, then establish a perimeter for the hot zone. We used a gas meter to monitor the air for the mininum required 19.5% oxygen requirement. We also monitored for CO, LEL and other gases. Afterwards we went through decon techniques. Monday we learn how to take off our gear while still being on air. I promise to get pictures of that because it might be hilarious. Here are a few pictures.

Stewart, Wunderlich (Pronounced Wonderlick, yeah, that's his real name), and I practicing Decon techniques.

Me rocking the gas meter. Apparently there is a class I can do online to get certified in using that. I think I'm going to go for it. 

Getting decontaminated or practicing for Dance of the Sugar-Plum Firemen, I'm not telling.

So yeah, that's been it for classes for the most part. We finished the ambulance and we have our class finals this week. Three finals this week. Friday we start new classes. One class is Fire Tactics and Operations so we will be doing more hands on stuff so expect more writings and pictures for that. Now on to volunteering.

So Wednesday was my first meeting with the Montana City Volunteer Fire Department. It was a business meeting where I was able to introduce myself and what not. Not ten minutes into the meeting were people joking with me and carrying on so I think I am going to fit in really well. I was assigned a mentor who is basically just around to show me how MCVFD does it. The funny thing is, is that the guy assigned to me for mentoring is my roommate's boss. So we joked around about all the expensive stuff my roommate has broken and got along awesomely. I stayed after the meeting to help with the monthly checklist on Engine One.  Engine one is pretty cool but they just bought a new engine. Engine Two as it's called is dare I say it, a very sexy looking fire truck. I would love to roll to fires in that. It is the picture to our left here.  But yeah, I overheard the president of the business meetings and the fire chief talking and basically I still have to go through the hoops of  applying but they said it was a no-brainer on hiring us on. Now when I say being hired on I mean being voted into the organization but they call it hiring us on because for Wildland work we'll actually get paid if we are called by DNRC. So that is pretty cool.

 I am planning on attending the Wildland Intermediate class at the end of this month which I am pretty excited for. I will then be one step closer to my Wildland Firefighter I certification. It's backwards in Wildland fire compared to structure fire in that Wildland Firefighter I is the best where as in structure fires Firefighter II is the highest. 

My EMT job is going well for the most part. I have had a few problematic patients. One that was extremely heavy but decided he wanted to walk himself. He was starting to collapse as he was going up the stairs but I swooped in and managed to catch him. Good thing I work out because the 260lbs he weighed was a lot to shoulder. The next patient we had that same night kept trying to rip his I.V. out of his arm and touch my partner's private areas, so I had her drive and I dealt with the patient. He did not attempt to go for my privates. 

Scheduling has been kind of off as there are a bunch of us new folk. But it seems as if I will be partnered a lot with this girl named Anna. She seems nice. They like to have a guy/girl partnership because there are some patients that do better with males vs. females and vice versa. I did my first overnight shift though last night. It was good. I worked that with Mike, a paramedic. He's the one that is going to help me with my endorsements. We were on call at a local hockey game. One of the perks of the job is free hockey games, plus the folks at the concession stands give us free food and drinks. Afterwards we went back to the shop and hung out. the nice thing about an overnight shift is that we get to sleep. The bad thing about an overnight shift is that the beds are less comfortable than cots and sleeping is hard to do. The shop dog stays there too and decided that at 4am I was the best person to play ball with. He was mistaken. I work again tomorrow at 7am to 7pm. Long shifts but it pays the bills. 

Other than that not much has really gone on. I'm discovering that being busy makes time go by rather quickly as this past week really didn't exist, but the days are getting longer and the weather is warming up so things are looking up. I'll try to update about finals and such here this next weekend. Stay tuned!