Thursday, March 15, 2012

Harden up

Just a disclaimer- while I'm up in Leavenworth taking this course, I won't be able to write well. I don't have the time or the internet capabilities. There is a lot of crazy stuff going on, and I hope later on I'll get the chance to write out all the stories in a decent manner. For now, here is is in the raw:
They told us that every class, they have one or two go down during IV training.  

It wasn't me, but it would have been if it had lasted any longer. My friend brushed his fingers over the vein on the inside of my arm, stuck it with a needle then pushed three inches of white tube inside it. It took a while, because of all those little meticulous steps it takes to push the catheter fully into the vein, and because it was the first time for all of us. Our instructor hovered over him- "That's right- no, not like that, don't pull the needle back, push with your index finger- wait, just wait there for a sec-" as I studied the whole apparatus intently, knowing I'd have to do it next. It kept going and going, and I looked away, and a few feet away a boy standing by the kitchen started to get blurry. I lolled my head against somebody's chest and then it was over,  and thing was in and they hooked in the fluid bag. There was plenty of blood.
Still, it was much easier to take the stick than to give it. I stuck both of Randall's arms and failed both time, and when he gasped with the pain it was difficult not to withdraw the needle and pull away. I managed to get it in the third time after I'd worn out his veins and moved on to another victim.

 That's a big lesson we're learning- how to fix people temporarily, enough to get them onto a back board and onto an ambulance. We're not exactly learning how to ease their pain- some situations, certainly, but treatment for us does not always mean relief, it means stabilizing. When we straighten broken limbs and drag them forward by the arms and roll busted up people onto their side to palpate their back, it hurts. And if I withdraw in response to their pain, I'll just have to do it again. It's against my every impulse. Harden the fuck up, is what they say around here.

The process of hardening the fuck up is fucking hard. 


Mackenzie said...

You are an inspiration, Melina.

Anonymous said...

Wilderness Medicine would never have been so fun and interesting if it wasn't for you....Beautiful Women make everything fun!