My last rendezvous with an ambulance occurred in the suffocating heat of summer ’09, when I so intelligently decided to play Ultimate Frisbee barefoot and promptly tripped over a friend’s size 12 shoe. I ended up breaking the big toe on my right foot – eleven days before I was to leave home, bound for MIT.
Yes, I am known for my impeccable sense of timing.
But anyway – Now that I’m in the IAP EMT class, I get to experience the flip side of the victim-EMT dealio. Which means that I get to deck myself in black, belted cargo pants (which took forever to find, by the way), a white polo, and waterproof boots and help those in pain, instead of being in pain myself. Undoubtedly a nice change, I must say.
Having just concluded week one of EMT training, I can honestly claim that I know how to administer CPR, use an AED, help a choking person, take vitals, find pressure points, and bandage wounds. Not that I’m amazingly brilliant at those things. Right now, the quality of my bandaging would probably do more harm than good, as I clearly have issues wrapping the bandage tightly around human appendages. Part of me wants to grab rolls of toilet paper and practice on unsuspecting passersby, effectively mummifying them. I’m not sure how much that would be appreciated, though…
The EMT class is much more intense than I’d originally anticipated. While I knew that the class ran for over 30 hours each week, I naively assumed that that was it and that I’d have oodles of time outside of class.
We’re assigned chapters to read each night, and each day we’re quizzed on information derived from lectures as well as the textbook. This past week, several students took blood pressure kits home and practiced taking their dormmates’ vitals. Basically, this class requires a lot of work.
But I’m definitely still glad to be in it. When I interviewed for the class a few months ago, I was almost completely sure that I wouldn’t make it in. Designed to test an individual’s ability to recall important information, remain observant, maintain composure, and respond effectively when under the stress, the interview was different from any other I’ve previously experienced. How many of your past interviewers have spontaneously asked you to tell a joke? Or stand up, turn around, and tell them the color of their hat? Certainly none of mine. I faltered quite a few times in the interview and walked out slightly flushed and convinced that I’d ruined any chance I had of being in the class. Imagine how excited I was to have made the cut and joined 29 others, all incredibly diverse, in learning medical basics, practicing life-preserving skills, and riding with style on the MIT ambulance.
If nothing else, the EMT class has further encouraged me to be pre-med. Listening to Mark (the class instructor) tell stories from his massive arsenal of experience is both interesting and humbling: there’s so much I don’t know, and so many people who need help! Tomorrow, I get to actually ride on the MIT ambulance as the third rider. I can even DRIVE. I haven’t driven in six months, and even when I drove, it was nothing so large as an ambulance. I’m pretty freaked out by the prospect of driving the MIT ambulance. Good thing they train us…
I also get to start researching! After a two-hour orientation at the ECCL (Early Childhood Cognition Lab), I am now competent enough to enter and exit the Brain/Cognitive Sciences building whenever I so wish and whittle away some hours each week coding. ‘Coding’ is actually a pretty loose term in this case, since it primarily involves watching tapes of kids’ reactions in specific situations and recording pertinent information. Regardless, the videos are interesting, and I’m hoping to start coding either tonight or tomorrow.
But right now, I’m hungry. So I shall leave you folks for now :)