Tuesday, April 10, 2012
The test was weird. I think there are people who know EMS and people who know how to write comprehensible test questions and never the two shall meet. In my week of pure studying that led up to the exam, not to mention the month of live-eat-breathe EMS that came first, I was starting to feel pretty good about my chances of passing. And while I got overwhelming support from everyone around me, a paramedic friend of mine kept warning me that the test would be...odd. "You'll do great," he'd say. "You'll pass. But it's....odd. You'll walk away from it cross-eyed. That's normal."
But the exam was killer. Each question seemed more unduly complex and vague than the last. This is how you're assessing our knowledge? All that wonderful knowledge inside my head carefully bestowed on us by hardworking instructors and this is how you're assessing me? A) Sterile dressing or B)Direct pressure? What about Direct Pressure with sterile dressing, where is that answer? I held my breath as I banged my finger against the mouse, clicked my way through 70 questions (some people got 150 questions, I got 70) and then the woman working at the test center, who by the way was exactly two feet tall, handed me a certificate that I'd taken the thing and that was that.
And afterwards there was no one to go to Icicle with and blow off steam. The whole thing felt very anti-climactic. And for the first time in my life, I had absolutely no idea whether or not I'd passed the exam. On the long drive home from Everett, I called Ty and vented my frustration in a manner that sounded high-pitched, like stridor. It sounded a lot like whining. I don't normally whine about things. "The worst part," I told him, "Is that if I do fail, I'll have no idea what to study for next time."
Ty kept saying "Aw geez."
"Aw Geez, Melina, that doesn't sound good at all."
Nah. You've got to be all, "Hey, dude, you get fucked up tonight, I've got your back."
Which also sounds better than, "Hey, when you get old and present with symptoms that call for Nitro, and you have your own prescription, I will help assist you with that, but only after calling Medical Control for permission, unless it is expressly worded in my protocol."
Then the lights went down, and Radiohead started, and I was actually able to relax. If you're an extremely impatient person like I am, and you're waiting to hear back about whether or not you're officially an Emergency Medical Technician, I recommend going to see Radiohead. All the lights and sound and people. I stopped thinking entirely.
That weird test.
Somehow, there in the mountains in the snow, in the midst of all those wonderfully distracting people, I managed to learn everything I needed to learn.