Saturday, April 21, 2007

Speaking of Test Results

I got out of high school, got married, and went to work. I started college at night. My Grandfather gave me some good advice about careers, and I decided I wanted to be a fireman. I joined the local volunteer fire department, and one of the officers was a paramedic for the county Ambulance Service. He told me there was an EMT school in the next town that he taught at. I decided to go. In Texas, you must go to EMT Basic school before you can go on to any higher schools. After Basic, you can work as an EMT, or go on to Intermediate, or straight to Paramedic school. At the time, you were certified for four years, and then had to retest.

I got through EMT school OK, and did the ride outs with the County Ambulance Service. I'll never forget my first "real call". It was a Hispanic with Diabetes that had been drinking. What I really remember was the Paramedic. The patient started to spew, so Will got him a trash can to spew into. Instead he turned to his right and spewed all over the compartments in the ambulance. It was rough. It stunk, it was chunky, and it was sticking to the Plexiglas doors.

After the call Will asked me what I thought. I told him I was about to spew with the guy, but I looked up at Will and decided if he wasn't going to spew I wouldn't either. Will laughed and said he looked at me and decided if I wasn't going to spew, he wasn't either. We became good friends.

I rode out with the guys a bit, and later went to work for the Ambulance Company, although it was a different name than it had been. After about three years, I decided to go ahead and go to paramedic school. I felt like it would help me get hired with a fire department. I paid my money, and went to Methodist Hospital of Dallas Paramedic Training.

Paramedic training was a bit tougher than EMT training had been. The pharmacology was (and is) tough. The EKG training (heart rhythms) nearly got me. By the by, how many others remember when Life Pack 5 was the newest monitor?

Toward the end of class, there were several of us that were worried. We had been doing OK in class, but The State Test was coming soon, and we had been told how much harder it was. We studied, we reviewed, we worried, and we studied some more. Finally it was time to take the test.

We all went to University Of Texas at Arlington to take the test. When we walked out of the 4 hour test, I honestly could not guess how I had done. We met back at class and talked about it. Our instructors told us we would just have to wait on the mail. They told us if we opened the mail and found a large 8"X10" envelope from the Department of Health, it meant we had passed because our certificate was inside. If we found a regular envelope from TDH, it was bad news and information on how to retest.

Days drug on into weeks. Finally one day I go to the mail box, which was a long walk up the driveway to the paved road. I open the box and pull out a large, 8"X10" envelope from TDH.

I Did the happy dance.

Then I reached in to get the rest of the mail. I then found a regular sized envelope from TDH.


Friends, it was a long walk back to the house. I couldn't bring myself to open the letter. I just knew they had found some scoring error or something. It was several minutes later when I got to the house and opened the letter.

It was a notice that my EMT Basic certification was about to expire. My paramedic certification made it null and void, so I threw the renewal notice away.

I did the happy dance again.

Mr Fixit


RevMedic said...

I remember that day, too. It had taken me a very long time to get my field hours, so that I only had one chance to take the test. When I finally got that envelope from the National Registry in the mail, I was nervous about opening it. But, when I turned it over, I saw the patch and knew that a new chapter in my life was starting. The happy dance? Oh yeah. I'm sure my kids thought the old man had lost his freakin mind.

BobG said...

It's amazing, sometimes, just how high a person can get without using drugs.

Ambulance Driver said...

Ahhh, the Thrill of The Big Envelope. I remember it well.

Billy Sparks said...

You know you are old if you remember Mast trousers and why you carefully folded them up after a call.

Mr. Fixit said...

I remember MAST trousers well, used them a few times....And for gosh sakes make sure the ER nurses don't cut them off!!

RevMedic said...

OK Billy, I'll bite. I certainly remember MAST pants, still have them on the rig, and still use them. But I sure don't remember why we fold them up carefully.