Quote of the Week
"The mass of men lead quiet lives of desperation."
-Henry David Thoreau
My journey to earning the Green Beret and various other amazing acts performed at random intervals...
We just arrived in Richmond this afternoon, and I just walked in from dinner and spirits with my 6 roommates after a long day of driving and settling in- cleaning, grocery shopping, orienting ourselves to the new surroundings, etc. etc. Tomorrow we'll get our hospital/EMS orientation and then Thursday we'll get started. My team (Team 1) is assigned to EMS first so I'll be riding in the ambulance for one of the local fire departments and I cannot wait. Team 2 will of course be assigned to the hospital first. WOW! It's so nice to be away from Post, I feel like a free man again. My blogging has been sporadic lately, but I promise to try and post everyday while on rotations. I hope you all had a great Thanksgiving. I was able to visit some friends in New York City and do thanksgiving dinner- New England style. It was wonderful! The hospitality rivaled the best I've known in the South, and the cooking was incredible. I hope to get a digital camera soon and post some pics as well. In the meantime, I look forward to writing about my latest adventures. Be on the look out!
Yeah- it's been a while since I last posted. Combat Trauma Management was by far the most difficult section to pass thus far in the SOCM course (Special Operations Combat Medic). It is so difficult that you get three shots at it. I was trained well by my cadre and passed on my first run last Thursday. I'll be up for best clinic but there were a couple other clinics that were a little faster than mine- we'll see. Only 8 of us out of 60 passed on the first time around. The rest of my team (7 others) are retesting today, and so far two others have "go's". My lack of posting has been due to studying and training hard. This weekend I took a little break for the Veteran's Day four-day holiday (read this post by Fast Squirrel)and saw some family in Birmingham, AL and some friends in Athens, GA. It was a much needed stress free weekend. Next we'll do Pediatric Life Support and then head to a hospital for clinical rotations. I got slotted for Richmond, Virginia which at first I was a little disappointed because I wanted to go to Tampa, FL. However, word on the street is that the smallest group goes to Richmond (14 guys) so we should get more procedures than the other two groups in Tampa, and Jacksonville. I am excited to get in there and learn and apply what I've learned thus far.
Well, it seems that I have now had two close calls in testing. Yesterday, we had our ACLS test. The test consists of two parts: a Practical and Written examination. The written exam was all textbook material, and was fairly simple. However, the bread and butter of ACLS is reading EKG's (squiggly lines) and assessing your overall patient; that was where the practical exam came in. For this part of the test, it was me and my "Zoll" manual defibrillator and the dummy patient. The Zoll we train with is a $20,000 piece of equipment and is capable of not only defibrillating, but getting a pulse oximetry, blood pressure, 12 lead EKG, and comes several other neat things which are too many to list. The dummy we train on is also capable of simulated breathing, pulses, verbal responses, and can even exhibit signs of various pulmonary and cardiac life threats. It's a great training tool, and the Zoll is a life saver. So, all week I studied the sequence, the various EKG's, and the various cardiac drugs (indications, doses, contraindications, and mechanisms of action), I thought I was ready, but I missed a critical criteria. I misinterpreted one of my EKG's as a 2nd degree Type I heart block, and in reality it was a 3rd degree heart block. This makes a huge difference when administering drugs, and I unfortunately administered a contraindicated drug. There were about 5 different heart rhythms for test day, and when I had finished the run I had no idea I had made a mistake, I was utterly confident I was a "go". My instructor let me go all the way through, and then we sat down for the second half of the practical exam which consisted of simply reading strips. There were 4 strips in all, and I, of course, got all of them right, but when I finished up, my instructor asked me to take a look at the 3rd degree heart block strip (which I had just interpreted) and compare it with the one I printed out during my run on the dummy. My jaw dropped, and once again, I was with the retesting crew today. 18 guys in all had to retest, and I just got out of there with a "go", but I'm still not sure how everyone else did. Anyhow, another target down. On to Combat Trauma Management!