May 9, 2007

Congratulations. You Can Now Keep The Patient Alive.

Posted in Uncategorized at 5:48 am by EMS Tim

As the month drags on, the end of the semester inevitably draws near. The moans of the shackled students in the cold, dark chemistry labs will slowly die out. The mindless ravings of the sociology teacher will fade away as the communist-loving fallacy, masquerading as a social “science”, is cut short by summer break. And once and for all, the country tunes wafting slowly in the pollen-ridden breeze of this primitive, backward city shall become a dark memory of the past as I move to a civilized area and forever leave Redding.

 You see, it’s not that I hate Redding; obviously the city itself has done nothing to me. It’s merely the fact that the people who live here are ignorant, stupid, racist hillbillies who have no idea what science or intelligence are. If you happened to like Beethoven’s symphonies, and commented on such feelings, you would be greeted with a blank stare as the hillbilly wonders what on earth “classical music” or “Beethoven” means since their world is constricted to Budweiser and the occasional rodeo. Perhaps you enjoy reading and fine literature. The extent of the reading for the average citizen in Redding consists of a rodeo or country (imagine that?) magazine which is perused while the citizen takes an unhealthy shit as a result of a poor diet which consists of beans and fast food. Maybe Redding isn’t as bad as I make it out to be; I offer you to be the judge. Redding, California is right in the middle of Northern California. Feel free to take a drive through here sometime. Preferably, you should only drive through on your way to somewhere else so you don’t feel like your time is completely wasted if you do not find love in any of the numerous fat women here who will give you a cheerful smile to display their heroic effort to preserve the remaining teeth they do have.

I digress. The patient; everything I have been taught is about the patient. You see, they don’t tell you this in class but as my best friend Paul so eloquently put it, your job as an EMT is to keep the patient alive. Forget those altruistic and noble desires of saving people, because as an EMT, you don’t count. I do not mean to play down the importance of the EMT. Despite the fact that the majority of the time that an ambulance spends on calls consists of taking care of the freeloaders and oxygen thieves of society (that would be the people who want a free taxi ride they don’t plan on paying for, etc.), in instances such as trauma, the EMT is in his/her domain. If you have a medical problem of any significance, rest assured, as an EMT I will still be able to help you…as the driver of the ambulance while the paramedic (who is far more well-trained in the dark and mystical arts of pharmacology) works on you in the back. Apparently, some people feel the need to degrade EMTs for their lack of knowledge, despite the fact that the average EMT still knows more about medicine than the majority of America due to our society’s incestuous obsession with ignorance. Perhaps some people would consider our massive ignorance an advantage, because if there is any alien species out there, they will probably determine humanity to be too god damn stupid to bother conquering. I do pity the people who would stoop to such a level as to degrade the person who is taking care of them in their emergency, but since pity has no place in the real world beyond sociology and other ultra-liberal attempts to brainwash the masses, I’ll lose no sleep over that person’s misfortune. Usually the kind of person who degrades others is an idiot who causes their own injuries anyway so it is hard to pity such an imbecile to begin with.

 Ironically, it’s not even the low pay that will cause me to pursue paramedic school as soon as possible. Well, that’s part of it. Primarily, I figure since I plan to become a doctor anyway, I would rather know as much about medicine as possible. Sure, medical school admissions does not care what training you already have or what degree you possess (part of why I am majoring in music, but we’ll get into that in a second), but I am a firm believer of “knowing your shit” so I cannot follow this philosophy of “be diverse!” that adcoms so religiously adheres to. Plus if I’m not accepted the first time I apply, I’d rather make $22-27 an hour instead of $13 while I start paying off college loans. For some strange, crazy reason I feel the compelling urge to eat once in awhile and I fear that wouldn’t be possible while making loan payments on EMT pay.

Now then, majoring in music. Let me ask you something. If someone walked up to you, and said you have to go to college to enter the profession you have your eyes on, yet said what degree you obtained in college didn’t matter, what would you say to him? Most likely, you would tell him that’s fucking stupid that you need to get a degree in the first place if you won’t be using it anyway. Well, I agree. I figure that if the degree I get will be utterly useless anyway, then three instances should happen. 1) the degree should not involve any classes that contain lab portions outside what I must take for med school pre-reqs due to the fact that labs are horrendously boring unless they involve explosions or fire. 2) the degree should be a BA instead of a BS since that requires me to learn a foreign language, and I want to learn German anyway. 3) the degree should also be a BA for the simple fact it requires less units. Why kill yourself getting a degree that again is useless to you?

I wouldn’t say I’m killing myself taking science classes anyway, seeing as I crippled my chem exam so severely today that I’ll be surprised (and annoyed) if I scored less than a 95% on it, but there is a significant difference between lower division science classes at a shitty community college and upper division science classes at UC Davis. It’s not that I’m afraid of taking science classes at Davis; it’s just that I’ll be learning upper division science crap like biochemistry, immunology, etc. in medical school anyway and I hate learning the same thing repeatedly. Fortunately, in 15 days I will move to Roseville and I can start taking classes at Sierra College, and try to remove the mental scar of Shasta College from my brain. My only hope is that I will be able to take national registry (http://www.nremt.org because I’m too lazy to explain what it is) test fairly soon after my course ends on the 22nd. Well, no, I also hope that I get my EMT card fairly quickly so I can start applying for jobs after I move. I mean clearly, NREMT has a history of speedy and painless service, right? (hahaha…)

April 21, 2007

An Ode to Coffee

Posted in Uncategorized at 3:30 am by EMS Tim

I’m half awake in the morning

I’m still half awake by afternoon

Get the pot and start pouring

I need coffee to escape certain doom

Sweet release brought by caffeine

God knows what it does to my body

For all I know I’ll lose my spleen

But I don’t care, where’s my coffee

I give this ode a short, sweet ending

As my brain slowly starts awakening

So here’s to driving to starbucks

Coffee or bust, now wish me luck!

April 16, 2007

The NREMT-B exam looms near like a ravenous vulture

Posted in EMT at 6:20 am by EMS Tim

Ok, maybe it isn’t that dire of a situation, but it does seem like the NREMT-B exam is a vulture that seems to circle overhead. I imagine that until I take the test, the NREMT-B exam will probably not appear as anything else other than a vulture or some other scavenger ready to pick my eyes out once I die. It’s not that I have anything against national registry; it’s just that I hate standardized tests because they’re a pain in the ass. Do I view it as a chance to show off how much I’ve learned in my EMT class? Well, maybe. Considering the timing, and the fact I won’t get my EMT certification number (providing I pass) until probably too late to apply for AMR in Sacramento county since they’re starting their next academy in June, yeah I’m not exactly pleased with national registry. The fact that they switched over to CBT (computer-based testing for the few of you who may not recognize that abbreviation) doesn’t bode well either, because usually when you introduce something new or upgrade something where computers are involved, everything gets clusterfucked beyond recognition. I’d have to say the only time I saw a computer upgrade take place without any major complications is when Blue Shield upgraded our computers (not that I work there anymore, thank goodness) from Windows 2000 to Windows XP. And the only reason there weren’t any major complications is because the damn thing was down/crashed/screwed up half the time anyway so I just didn’t really see any significant difference to be perfectly honest with you.

 I digress. I plan to take NREMT-B hopefully on May 25th; that’s officially when the semester ends and I’ll have officially completed my EMT course. It’s kind of ironic how little you’re required to know about medicine though to apply to medical school. Sure, they teach it all to you, but I ask you this: will you learn the same amount of material better in 4 years or say 5 or 6? 8? My point exactly. And then you have to add the obvious fact that you /will/ learn more inherently if you take it upon yourself to do something such as EMT-B or maybe even EMT-P (Paramedic). Of course you’ll learn everything you need to know to be a doctor in medical school. Will you learn everything you need to be a good doctor? In my opinion, no. Will being an EMT or paramedic beforehand mean you will? Not necessarily, but I think the experience will help you become a good doctor.

Honestly I think all pre-meds should, at the bare minimum, be an EMT-B with a certain amount of experience before they’re allowed to apply to medical school. Why? You’re going to get the clinical experience they so desperately chant is crucial (even though if it was, then they would require you to have some sort of patient care position beforehand like an EMT or nuse anyway), if you volunteer as an EMT or medic then you get your volunteer experience down as well, and you get first-hand, real exposure to patient care at the basic level (or advanced if you’re a medic). Now that being said, for any pre-meds reading this, I should say this very clearly: you do NOT need to be an EMT, paramedic, etc. before you apply to medical school. However, it is my personal opinion that it would behoove you to get some sort of job where you provide patient care so, when you start your third year in med school, you don’t look like a deer in the headlights when asked to do a task as simple as writing a H&P or SOAP note on a patient. I would think it’d be advantageous to already know something about medicine. When I first started my EMT course, I didn’t know shit about medicine. Hell, I still don’t know that much, as my best friend eloquently put it, the EMT-B course teaches you how to keep the patient alive. Knowing something is a lot better than nothing, however. And once I gain experience as an EMT, I’m sure H&Ps and SOAP notes will come relatively easy to me. I’m not really content to stay at the EMT-B level though; if nothing changes, I’m going to apply to the paramedic program in Sacramento next year after getting some experience as an EMT first.

Hopefully I’ll be able to get a damn job since I think AMR is out unless I get that EMT cert quite swiftly, and considering national registry is a government entity, I’m not going to hold my breath. In the meantime though, I started studying today for the exam and my first practice test was 126/150 which amounts to an 84%. I wouldn’t exactly call that ideal, but considering it’s a standardized test that is notorious for tricky and difficult questions, for the first time around I’d say that’s pretty damn good.

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