This past Wednesday found me with blistered palms, swollen shoulders, throbbing arms, and various bruises that colorfully decorated my 5′ 4” frame. It would be somewhat forgivable if these minor wounds were a result of someone else’s stupidity or unforeseeable circumstances; unfortunately, these injuries were pretty much my own fault.
Because my EMT-B state exam is coming up in just over a week, I’ve spent the past few days cycling between an absurd sense of calm and an overwhelming sense of panic. I’ve forgotten so much of what I learned in the EMT class I took over IAP, and I haven’t had a whole lot of experience on shift. The latter, though, might actually be a good thing, since – as I discovered earlier this week – I’m not that great at working the stretcher when anyone more than, say, 10 pounds is on it. So basically, that’s everyone minus newborn infants. Yay.
As you can imagine, an EMT that can’t handle a stretcher with someone on it isn’t all that useful. Channeling the spirit of “practice makes perfect,” I e-mailed a few of the crew chiefs on duty this last week, asking if I could come in and tinker with the stretchers a little bit.
And thus were born the scratches, the soreness, and the wary suspicion that biceps and triceps might need to be a larger part of my life – asap!! I was slightly jealous of the other members of my EMT class, none of whom seemed to have any trouble lifting people on the stretcher. For me, every moment was a struggle, and my mind juggled with constant reminders: Place your feet properly! Lift with your legs, not your back! Pull the trigger! Don’t let the wheels drop! Communicate with your partner! Ahhh, brain overloaddd.
It was certainly a learning experience. On some level, I’m grateful that this happened, since I’m now aware of the limits of my strength and the techniques I need to work on. I’m also now fully aware that MIT EMTs are some of the kindest people around – close to ten people encouraged me, helped me, and stuck by me as I fumbled my way into a modicum of stretcher grace. A special thanks to Vidya ’12, who came in when she wasn’t even on shift to bravely be my patient and to further my ambulance-related education :)
Also – a thanks to all of you EA Admits who participated in the event last night. Your questions were great, and both Paul ’12 and I had a lot of fun answering them. I hope I made sufficient eye contact; I think I forgot that the webcam was there, absorbed as I was in reading the questions. I’m sorry we couldn’t answer all of them! If you have any queries you really want answered, feel free to drop me an e-mail.
Good luck to all of you waiting for RA decisions!!