As of yesterday, I’ve been officially signed off by my training coordinator/school that I have completed the Primary Care Paramedic Program 😀 I can tell you I was more than happy to be done. The practicum portion of the course had dragged on since the end of April, and our class has been backlogged from shifts for a good two months. Then we experienced a cram session to get us through, where I did 12 shifts in 16 days, eight of which were night shifts.
I remember finishing my scheduled shifts and was still missing 4 competencies. I was scheduled an extra block with a preceptor I’ve been with for the last four shifts, and every call we get I’d be wondering if I can put on a non-rebreather or wondering if the patient is in the pediatric category or requires spinal immobilization. It was stressful to say the least. I recall the last shift of my extra block, I was still missing a spinal. I was pooped from all the shifts I had done and had passed out on the couch, probably drooling all over the pillow for a good two hours, dreaming of getting my spinal when the phone suddenly rang. I woke up with my contacts melted into my eyeballs as my partner wrote down the call.
Me: “What are we going for?”
Partner: “It’s a pre-alert.”
Of course it’s a pre-alert…I doubt it’ll be a spinal, what are the chances? I looked at the clock hanging in the lounge, it was 05:55. Well, 35min to home time, I wonder where I’ll be scheduled for my next set of extra shifts…I can’t believe I’m stuck on one competency!!
I placed some eyedrops into my eye as my preceptor strolled out of the bedroom. We hopped into our ambulance as dispatch sent us Code 3 for an unconscious 87 year old female. Hmmmm wonder if it could be a diabetic call, that could be nice, I still haven’t given D10W yet…
We didn’t drive more than 3 min when we get re-directed by dispatch.
Dispatch: “99Alpha. Take instead…21 year old male, fall off roof…”
We do a 180, turning our ambulance around. Oh my god…fall off roof, I guess I get my spinal competency afterall. I look at my watch, 30min till shift change.
It took us less than 2min to get to the accident where we found a male lying supine on the concrete. He must have fallen at least 6 meters onto the sidewalk. He has blood coming from his head. At first he was fairly co-operative but then he became combative. He kept on arching his head up, I somehow managed to talk him down enough to get a collar on him and put him onto a clamshell and strapped in. However, once we were in the ambulance, it turned into a whole new ball game. He was fighting, he didn’t want to go to the hospital, we had to restrain him to our cot so he doesn’t hurt himself or us, and we taped his head to the clamshell so he doesn’t move his head. Amazingly, he managed to tear the tape off by lifting his head up (that takes A LOT of strength). He was getting more and more aggressive en route, luckily we were near the hospital, and for the most part we were able to talk him down in between his spurs of anger and his cries of pain.
We ended up calling a code white at the hospital. It took a whole slew of ER staff and security to get him onto the trauma bay’s cot and restrained. I believe he was sedated before heading up to CT.
That was definitely not the way I had envisioned my spinal call to be. But hey, I got my last competency and now I’m signed off!
I had an amazing time precepting in the city. I have been lucky to get many interesting calls, and an opportunity to work with some amazing paramedics. All my preceptors have been very good at showing me the ropes and teaching me the rules of the street and I cannot be more thankful. I also want to extend a big thank you to everybody who has been so supportive of me throughout this whole journey 😀 Thank you!