Wednesday, April 4, 2012


I've been an absent pulse on this blog lately. That's because I've been studying, and studying, and studying for the National EMT registry exam that I'm going to take in a few days. I'm not just cramming to pass, though. I want to know this stuff, on a level way below tissue. There is only so much about EMS that I can understand before I actually start practicing in the field, but of that limited knowledge, I want to know everything.
 As eager as I am to get this exam over with, to get my certificate in the mail and be a fully certified EMT, I like studying. I love writing out endless acronyms and knowing exactly what they mean, where they'd come into play, how I'd go about assessing them in a patient. I like the butterfly loops of blood through the heart and lungs. Mostly, though, I like being able to just sit there and do nothing but read, and make no decisions, and answer to nobody, and watch the uncertain spring outside the window flicker between cold rain and weak sun. Sometimes, as a break, I'll put my head onto the table, close my eyes and picture myself back in the deep snow and quiet of Leavenworth, or back at the noisy classroom on a late night with my friends, writing endless lines of notes on the board and becoming loopy from sugar, sleeplessness and what we termed Acute Acronym Overload (AAO).
For the last few days, my house in Seattle served as the halfway home for my EMT friends as they waited to take their exams.
They got a handful of deceivingly sunny days, beaches and breakfasts and everything we figured we deserved. 
Each one of them remarked on what a gorgeous life I have. The beautiful wooden house in the garden, good friends all over town and the days of climbing and writing and running around. And I told them I knew I was lucky, that I'd built this life here on the West coast for the past ten years. But knowing what I know about EMS and the way it's run in Seattle, and the sorts of things I want to with my training and career, places I know I want to go, and starting from down here at the very bottom, it seems likely that I'll have to choose between this picturesque but unsustainable life in the city and starting over somewhere new. Pulling away from all of it. And that's when I started studying, so I didn't have to think about it any more.


Tracy said...

I hear the Boston EMS is awesome - come home!

Anonymous said...

Got results about 12 hours after taking exam. Had to log on to NREMT website to find out. Good luck!


Christa said...

I've been living vicariously through your EMT training. I got my license 5-6 years ago, but my class was spread out over a few evenings a week and a few Saturdays a month to fit around work and family and other obligations. I just got my license to run with our local volunteer service, so the class was never really a priority and I didn't even devote any time to studying. The only time I spend much time with the book material is when we teach new classes--which are nowhere as awesome as yours. :) I love how you've just been able to immerse yourself in all the new content you're learning. How cool to be able to devote so much time to it and have such an amazing course.

Baby By The Sea said...

So excited for you to have the certificate of your new journey, but I must say the friends crashing at your place with talk of studying and all things out-of-doors sounds fabulous, too.

Anonymous said...

I took my EMT course after already working as a ski patroller for several years. The point was to hone my skills, to become a master at my current profession. I learned much about heart rates and CPR rates and treatment protocols. But I didn't learn about how I would react when my patient died or how to be with the surviving friends or family. As an EMT, there isn't much I can do to save a person's life. Its all about transporting that patient to higher medical care. But on the occasion when my actions have saved a life, it was remarkable. Good luck on your exam.