The biggest influences in your life are sitting next to you.
Sometimes, literally. Sometimes figuratively.
As my second attempt at Medic school comes to a close, I’ve up until VERY recently found myself excited beyond believe, but at the same time, absolutely terrified.
A few months ago I put a facebook update up that looked a little like this:
That was almost two months ago. Eight weeks later, and just 4 weeks (seven more classes… Oh my GOD, just SEVEN CLASSES?????) from finishing I was finding myself infinitely more nervous. I thought this was supposed to get easier.
I’ve been here before. Maybe that was the problem. I had been *this close*.
A little over four years ago I enrolled in a Paramedic program. It’s hard to believe that I was even greener and sparkier then, but I was. I loved every second of it. Every test that was put in front of me I knocked out of the park. I went into every clinical opportunity bright eyed and excited and PRAYING that something cool would happen. By cool, I mean horrifying to the average person, unfortunately. I couldn’t wait to get to the ER for my time there. When my third rides/internship started, I almost lost my mind I was so geeked. It was on those third rides that something… Uhm… cool happened. And again, by cool, I mean… Horrifying. Not once, but twice.
Not one, but two Pedi codes. One SIDS, one due to a house fire.
Well, there ya go, Epi. You got what you wished for. Nothing supplies a bigger sympathetic dump/pucker factor for a student than a code. Unfortunately there’s no chapter in a textbook that explains how you deal with two pediatric codes that occur three squad rides apart when you’re used to being on a transfer truck and taking Grandma to dialysis. I was quickly drowning in a sea of self-doubt.
I’m not tough enough for this job.
I’m too emotional.
I’m a black cloud.
I can’t do this.
I CAN’T do this.
THERE IS NO WAY IN HELL I’M GETTING BACK ON THAT TRUCK!!!!
I was a part of two separate CISD’s (don’t EVER ask me my opinion on a CISD) and several conversations with the people who I respected the most. In the end it was a mix of people I had never met in person and classmates I wasn’t even particularly close to who pulled me through. I can’t explain how or why their words were able to convince me not only to stay in EMS, but to stay in the medic program… I’m just grateful that I had them. Still, I didn’t truly believe that I’d make it out of the class. I can’t explain why, because honestly, I don’t know what was in my head back then.
Two weeks before the end of the program I blew out my back on a clinical. I missed two classes and just like that, I found myself washed out of the program. I was simultaneously crushed and relieved. Crushed because I had spent eleven months missing my kids, holidays, birthdays, etc, and I would have nothing to show for it. Relieved, because as a basic EMT working at a private service in NW Ohio, I wouldn’t have to deal with seeing another baby die in front of me. There is nothing worse than that in my mind. Nothing. To this day I still have nightmares.
I guess I just wasn’t ready then.
Three years later I got my second chance. I was back in P school (thank you!), and I was going to get through it this time come hell or high water. I studied my ass off, I picked the brains of the people around me when I couldn’t figure something out, and mentally got myself ready for the clinical time. I knew I was still green, I knew that the ghosts from my first time through school would still be with me. I knew it was going to be a challenge. And it has been. It’s very hard to admit, but there is very little about me that is calm while on the scene with a person who is truly sick, who really needs my help. My hands shake and I sweat like it’s my job. Think about it, as a patient whose world is crashing down on them, would you put your life in the hands of a tall redhead with shaky hands who looks like she might throw up on herself any second?
There is one huge difference between the girl I was back then and the girl I am now. I now know that this is what I was meant to do. I truly believe it. I believe that the education I’ve received through both programs is the perfect starting point for me. I might not be calm, I might not be the picture of professionalism and grace while I’m trying to start an IV on someone in the back of a squad rumbling down a bumpy road while sweating my ass off… My own little sympathetic dump might still make my heart race and my hands shake, but it doesn’t render me incapable of functioning. And thanks to my people… The biggest influences in my life, I KNOW I’m where I belong. The nervousness is actually *gasp* NORMAL!
I want to thank a few people who have gone above and beyond the call of duty to help me on this journey.
My Instructor, who is pretty much the most patient and simultaneously bad ass Medic/Instructor I know. I’m fairly certain that if I ever have another baby, I’ll name that child after my instructor regardless of it’s sex. I’ve been a gigantic pain in the backside to this man, and he’s stood by me and encouraged me from day one.
Medic Matthew, the best friend I’ve never met, who seems to be the first person I run to when I have one of those “You’re NEVER going to believe this” moments.
Ambulance Driver, who has been one of my biggest influences. My go-to guy for ANY question I have. The one who won’t hesitate to put a very large bootprint on my backside when I start to complain. Because I have absolutely no business complaining as far as school goes. Knowing that he believes I can do this has gotten me further than he could imagine.
CKEMTP and a good friend who I’ll call TFD, both who through a few conversations told me in no uncertain terms that what I was feeling was okay. For a shaky green nervous girl like me, that elevates them to sainthood. Realizing that I’m SUPPOSED to be nervous… Holy COW, what a load off of my shoulders. Particularly when it seems like every other person in my class is cool as a cucumber during clinical time.
Lisa, who I have clung to like a sister. I talked her into believing that she could get through basic school, and we talked each other into KNOWING that we could both make it through P school. Again, someone I’ve never met, who knows me better than most of my closest friends know me.
Happy Medic and Medic 999. Who have no idea how much they’ve inspired me to do more and to be better. To do more than just talk about what’s broken in my area as far as EMS goes, but that the improvements could actually start with me. If they could accomplish what they have with their resources, certainly I could do my part to do the same. It starts with being able to do more for my patients on the truck. It starts furthering my education.
I am going to rock this.
But I’m probably going to do a fair amount of sweating for quite awhile. Either way….
Hallelujah for the second chance.