Desert Sand Mica

Whatever, just crash it Bob...


I'm having breakfast with my old friend Steve, a firefighter on Thursday morning. I want to talk to him about either going on to paramedic school or not. The stint I did at the fire station a few days ago almost has me convinced to not go on, but to just stay an EMT.

The main thing is the money, really. And the pre-reqs I need. EMT's on an ambulance make about $8 an hour. Incredible. (Yet the average cost for an ambulance rescue/ride is $800.)

Paramedics make considerably more, and are sought after. EMT jobs are plentiful if you're willing to work a bit above minimum wage. Most EMT's work where they can, and volunteer on their time off to keep up their skills. (And to hope to see some good calls. - it's all about the adrenaline to some).

But I would need two more science classes, Anatomy and Physiology I and II before I could enroll in paramedic school. I am taking Preparation for A & P right now, and am really really struggling. It's an online, open book exam class and I'm still having trouble. Science is just really not my thing. As a matter of fact, I had an exam this evening and was asking Mark to figure out how many I could miss and still pass the test. lol

So in all, I'm very discouraged about the thought of 2 years of science classes plus EKG and IV classes before enrolling in paramedic class for the next 18 months after that. Hellllooo? I'm 41 years old. I don't have that kind of time, bro.


Another thing I want to vent to him about is the stress I feel about the class nearly being over, and the nerves I feel about testing. There's a final class exam, a National board written test, and a 6-station practical skills exam. That is freaking me out. Physically performing all the skills alone... and knowing one minor false move and you are done.

You can re-take the skills you fail later in the day. If there is time. Our instructors say "don't bet on it." Or, you wait another semester till the exam is given again. Gaaawwdd. And pay for it, too. 50 dollars.

Our final is December 1. Our Nationals are on December 5 and 6.

Then guess what.

From the National Registry of Emergency Medical Technicians website:

How long does it take to get examination results?
The NREMT strives to ensure that examinations are processed in an efficient and timely manner once the materials arrive in its office. Candidates should expect to receive official notification of examination results 4 – 6 weeks after completing the examination.

4 to 6 Weeks! You have got to be joking.

We'll probably also chat about all the ride-alongs and how those are going. He knows a lot of folks I've been in contact with. (I have another one coming up on November 7, with a really busy ambulance company. Great. Another big chance to show my ignorance. )

I didn't tell you all this but Friday night at the ER I was at, a nurse asked me to get something. An IV Pole. But she had this weird southern-assed accent that made her a bit hard to understand, and I thought she said "Get me an IV Pull".

Hm, I've heard of them "pushing" drugs when a patient is in cardiac arrest, so maybe pulling is something else, but I wasn't sure.

"I don't know what that is."
"An Iv Pull"!

I go poking around the room she pointed at and see IV POLES. Metal poles to hold an IV bag. Duh.

I don't think I've ever felt as much stress in my life as I do right now. But it's really fun and exciting at the same time. Our proctors on skills night keep telling us to relax and have fun, that we're taking it all too seriously. But we're all so worried about passing our Nationals that we are tunnel visioned, only worrying about

What's Going To Be On The Test.

Is this going to be on the test?

Do we need to write this down?

Are there any essay questions on the tests?"

"Do we need to know this?" (Seriously, people ask this question. Why would you ask this?)

Our instructors tell us frequently: "You have to know this for the test, but you'd never do it like this in the field." or - "you have to know how to do this skill, but I've been a paramedic for 30 years, and I've never used it."

Oh for crying out loud. Bureaucracy is everywhere, I swear. Hiow are we supposed to learn what we need to know if the United States is worried about what they think we need to know?


So wish me luck for the next 4 weeks, and bear with me. I'm freaking out.


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