I'm grabbing a paramedic refresher course about 7 months before my license expires. Typically, I teach in the one that runs about 6 months later but, this year, I likely won't be there. I'll post more about that later when my official offer arrives in the mail. For now, nothing is assured until it's in INK!
So, anyway, there's 18 very experienced and, in some cases, quite jaded, paramedics and me. We're jammed into a classroom and forced to sit and try to stay awake while another paramedic puts up powerpoint slides and reads them to us.
I bravely resist the urge to gouge out my eyes with my Non-Reflective Military Matte Black Cap-O-Matic Space Pen. I'm a brave man. I have control.
Lucky for me, I survive to the end of the class where, wisely, the instructors run a practical, hands-on portion, relevant to the lecture that pained us so much that morning. This is where us 'medics get to actually walk the walk. Everyone's been spouting comments about how they've seen this and they've seen that. Each medic has an opinion on how their particular employer or medical director can do a better job of providing higher quality medical car to their patients. Sure sure sure...
Now, even though we are "treating" a plastic and electronic "patient," all of us have a chance to jump in and DO something or stand back and continue to be the griping critic.
The Scenario: An 8 month old in respiratory arrest. the simulator is actually turning blue and we can actually feel a pulse, however faint. Half the "hotshot" medics in our group stand around and make comments while the other half stammer and look for gear. Someone else jumps in and starts ventilating our infant patient with 100% oxygen. They've become the "team leader" by default but aren't doing much to direct the rest of us. I'm casting about for the next thing to do while the de-facto team leader stammers. There is an EZ-IO drill.
An IO drill is VERY similar to a cordless drill one would use to make holes in walls in their home. The big difference is this particular battery operated drill is used to put a rigid needle into a long bone like the shin or the arm, in order to quickly and VERY effectively give us medics a way to save someone's life with fluids, drugs and other goodies. You see, a long bone is a bone such as the femur, humerus or tibia. They play an important part in generating red and white blood cells and, in the terms of a circulatory system, are very much a big, hard blood vessel.
The maddog is a fortunate medic. he's used this tool before. I quickly realize that I'm the ONLY one who's used this tool before, besides the instructor. Our scenario is set in "real time" so that means we are all working this hunk of very realistic plastic as if it were a real baby with real parents and a real life-threatening condition.
I grab the drill and, with smooth precision, choose the correct needle, attach it to the handle, direct an assistant (who has magically appeared from the few medics who are actually INTERESTED in learning something) to spike a bag of fluid and get to work. With the practice and precision that only comes with doing something OVER and OVER again, I perfectly drill a hole into the leg bone of this simulated child, with a special drill/needle that enables me to deliver drugs and fluids.
Somehow, after starting the line, I'm the only one who remembers that an 8-month old in bradycardia gets epinephrine if oxygen doesn't make their heart rate increase. I call it out, and "push" the drug.
The key part of this story is that I'm getting open-mouthed stares of amazement from men and women i've seen time and time before in the field. They know me. They've seen me do my thing yet, somehow, in the atmosphere where we're wearing jeans and performing our skills in the classroom, they fall back and let me run the show.
Now that I think about it, perhaps they've been doing that on every call.......