We went to the "Cadaver Lab" the other day. It's a place in the basement of a nearby University/teaching hospital where we had opportunities to practice some of our more invasive and damaging interventions on the cadavers (dead bodies) of some wonderful people.

Wonderful people? Yes. I found out from one of the doctors that many of the cadavers in the lab came from the Anatomical Gift Foundation. I think this is tremendously cool since that's where my mother-in-law made her arrangements when she passed.

Before we go into the lab, I have a qualm: After hearing that the two cadavers we're working with are elderly women who have donated themselves for our study, I fear that I'll see the face of my Mother-in-law. I love her very much and I'm sure I wouldn't be able to take it.

Irrational, I know. She passed in September and here it is, February. It couldn't possibly be. But the possibility leads me to a wonderful realization. Because of my Mother-in-law's generosity, a whole group of 'medics and doctors may have had the opportunity to learn the finer points of life-saving interventions and skills. It's pretty awesome when someone can be so generous after their heart has stopped. I really love her.

We enter the lab and, at first, I'm not fully prepared for the experience. I've seen a few dead people in my day but they were all so badly done in that they were clearly dead. Bloated, floating, full of critters, that kinda stuff. These two women looked sleepy. They had passed a day or two before. I wanted to ask their permission before I did anything. I was not fully prepared to see someone who looked lifelike who I knew was very dead. I was comforted to hear a mumbled, "pardon me" from one of the doctors before he started his demonstration.


It was a great experience and I got to do a lot of interventions and see a lot of things I had only read about. Totally worthwhile. I did a couple intubations and some with a bougie (a flexible stylus to help me find the airway by feel), needle and surgical crychothyroidotomy (making a hole in the throat to allow a patient to breathe), Needle chest decompression, intraosseous infusion (putting a needle into someone's bone marrow to get fluid access) and more! All of these things, If done properly, could and will save someone's life.

At the close of the lab, we cleaned up our debris and we all thanked the ladies who made it possible before we zipped them back up. That final bit made it totally complete. They gave their remains to our education and we were grateful to them for their generosity.

What more can I say?



"Well!...F**k Me!"

Well, a lot has happened since I got around to making a post. I'm sorry for not posting sooner.

I went out with my preceptor for a day shift. She and her partner are pretty tight. I'm not quite sure what to name them in my blog. They both have very distinct personalities. My preceptor's partner is a 42 year old man with the libido of a 19 year old. Yikes! He's very funny, whip-smart and loves to teach. So far, I haven't seen him do anything I'd frown on other than be a bit too hyper and distracted.

My preceptor herself? Well, I'm not sure how to describe her. She's kind of hard to pin down. She's definitely got mad skills in the ALS department but also seems to have a cavalier attitude about her job. She's young and pretty but could, no doubt, put any firefighter on his ass who crosses her. I've given other characters in my life "blog names" but one doesn't come to me for either her or her partner. For now, I'll just call her my preceptor and her partner will be the "other one," I guess.

We ran about 4 calls. None of them gave me the opportunity to perform any ALS interventions. Worth any mention were the seizure patient who sells his seizure medications to buy heroin and cocaine. He's so used to riding to the hospital, he put himself in the ambulance and the nurses at the hospital called him by name. There was the diabetic cook at the nearby hotel who was munching candy and smiling by the time we arrived. His manager got scared and called it in as a siezure. I checked his vitals and blood sugar and accepted his refusal of transport without a qualm. He thanked us and apologized for the trouble. I assured him he could call us back if needed. He laughed.

I've got 5 more shifts with these characters and 6 at a nearby emergency room (ED, or Emergency Department). More hijinks to come, I'm sure.

At school, there's been drama. One of the central instructors to the program has left suddenly under circumstances that nobody will discuss. We've had different instructors for our classes and I, for one, am pleased. In general, the quality of the lectures have been excellent and the academic demands a bit higher. I like a challenge. The drama lies in the person who is supposed to arrange all of our clinical rotations. Suffice it to say, she manages by crisis only. This means that everything is left to the last minute and I get frantic emails telling me I have to be at such-and-such at 2:00pm tomorrow or I will fail all of my classes, the sky will fall and I'll be excommunicated.

Well!...F**k me!

I'm a meticulous planner and I try to organize my life as much as possible to enable me to do all the bajillion things I have to do. I am now finding myself dealing with emergencies created by someone's lack of proper planning. It's really pissing me off since the people who can't plan how to take a crap are threatening me with academic failure when I don't meet their insane demands.

This person, as I've been told, is very sweet and you can ask her anything. I made the mistake of asking her what to do since I had a clinical rotation (that she knew about a week before) scheduled on the day she scheduled me to go do something else. Here's the response I get,

"This is a career choice, not a game. Only the committed ones will stay to the end & excel."

Well! Again, F***k me! I didn't know I wasn't committed! ....Let's see....I quit my high-paying job....I sold my big, lovely house.....I gave up all my free time.... I've gotten outstanding grades.... Yep! You're right! I'm NOT COMMITTED! Wow! I guess I'll go get a job as a clerk or something! I merely asked some questions (very basic ones about what was expected for my clinical rotations that should have been made clear in the handouts).

"F**k me!"

Oh, did I mention she sent this email that contained other insulting things to a mailing list that's read by the entire department? I suppose I should be used to being publicly insulted from my years in the military. After reading it, I was ready to chop somebody in the throat and taunt them with an ET tube while they died of asphyxiation.

Fortunately, the jedi in me took over and I calmed down.

I have not responded to any of this, nor have I spoken with the Cranky Spastic Cow or, CSC, as she shall be called from here on. I've still not had my questions answered. I will probably have to figure out what I need to do on my own (spend time I don't have) and also work this situation out with the department head (more time I don't have) who I suspect is not going to help because he doesn't like conflict or other silly things that take up his time.

I keep saying it because it feels like everyone's doing it: "F***k Me!"

When is it my turn?



School again.

No, I haven't been eaten by a bear. I've started school again and it's pretty intense. I've decided that I'm going to be getting all As this semester and the fulfillment of that goal is consuming huge quantities of my time.

Calls: Not many. In fact, none. I'll start working with my paramedic preceptor in a week or so. Perhaps I'll get more then. We'll certainly see a new cast of characters!

School: The person who was my advisor and instructor for most of my classes last semester has left under hushed circumstances this semester. There has been a lot of last minute scrambling to fill in the teaching spots but, I must say, the quality of the instruction has gone up considerably. I am pleased. Unfortunately, with the increased quality of instruction, the expectation of performance has increased too. We are graded on our class performance, papers, group projects and research and clinical performance. And THEN we take our registry exams for EMT-I and EMT-P


I'll try better to write more. Does anyone have any good "tricks" to memorizing the ACLS drugs, sequences and dosages? I'm in a rut! Hit the comments section or email me.