Friday, January 26, 2007

so yeah...

So everyone has their weakness. Even God-like paramedics, like myself (ha!), have something that they just aren't that great at. We are not perfect creatures, especially after a grueling 36 hour shift. I am not on my A game. At about hour 27 I lose all capacity to form real sentances, it mostly becomes a series of grunts and sighs. But thats neither here nor there. My real weakness, Is math. I just can't ever grasp a hold of it, which in my line of work can mean giving a patient Four mgs of Epi instead of point four mg of epi which can result in the patients heart actually exploding. Now, with that said, I do drug calc after drug calc, I carry a calulator in my pocket at all times, along with a whole notepad of doses. I have a chart for all my RSI drugs, I have a chart for all of the drips we carry on the truck, I even have a chart that has all of my pediatric drugs and doses. I have no problem looking things up in my feild guide, my standing orders or whatever esle I have handy. Even if it makes me look a little bit rookie-ish. Because I'd rather look like a rookie to a live patient than a dead one.

The reason I'm telling my secret is that this is why I totally scared to get my Acting Crew Cheif. It's really, really scares me that the powers that be want me...the math be in charge of a truck. It's not like I can turn to the compleatly green part-time basic and say...So how many drops make 5mcgs per min per kg? Not that I wouldn't trust my Basic, because they can save a paramedics ass. But it's something they don't need to know. It would be like asking the stock boy at the grocery should I do about my 401K? The Basic's job is to turn to the overzealous medic who is getting all distracted by all those advanced things like IVs and various tubes and say..."Shouldn't we expose the patient all the way because the cop said the dude heard 4 shots, but I'm only seeing 2 bullet holes? It' might explain why the dudes crashing but the holes we see wouldn't cause that" Yes, we medics have been known to over look the basic stuff because we are so into all that really cool blinky, beeping advanced stuff. But thats another post, so back to me...and my drug problems. You wouldn't think a little thing like a few math problems would have me all worked up like this, but it does. I may be able to read a 12 lead quickly, yet efficently. I may be able to restrain a violent psych in les than 2 minutes. I know that help is only a radio key-up away. But when it's just you and your partner out there, and they have put you in charge of not only you partner, but also some other person's life. And I have to know that you give .5mg every 5 mins up to a dose of .04mg/kg of atropine to the dying bradycardic and also how much fluid goes into that syringe to make .5mgs of atropine. That just scares the hell outta me.

But practice makes perfect. So I will continue to do drug calc after drug calc...drip after drip. Just so when the narc keys are tossed to me on that first shift as an Acting I will be able to quit hyperventalating and be able to help the sick and stupid of my county.


Anonymous said...

I have every confidence in your ability and, apparently, your superiors do too. The admission that you don't know everything but willing to look up the answers isn't a weakness but a strength. All supervisors should be humble and aware of their limitations. Beware the boss who claims or acts like he/she knows it all. Good luck on your promotion. I'm sure you've earned it.


painter in hiding said...

Thanks No...It's scares me, but I am one of those people who just needs to be tossed into the fire. Last year was a tough one between my back and my foot. I really only spent about 3 months working on the street, the rest was mostly sick leave, and my breif stint at Miracle Hospital. But all of that time I was out, I did drug calcs, brushed up on my 12 leads, went over policies. SO now all of my supervisors are pushing for me to do it, so I am just gonna jump in with both feet and hopefully swim.

Stacey said...

Thank you so much for this post. I feel the exact same way.
I am also the same when it comes to just needing to be thrown into the situation.

But still thank you so much. I knew that I wasnt the only person who felt that way but it helps to have someone admit that they feel like that too.

painter in hiding said...

No stacy you are not the only one.