Sunday, September 13, 2015

24 Years in the Making!!

When I was 18 I joined our local fire department.  I loved being in the fire department.  I've been looking around for some pictures of me during that time.  So far no luck.  But anyway, in addition to being on the fire side of the department, I was also a member of the ambulance.  I had completed my CFR (Certified First Responder).  I was pretty much the extra set of hands on the ambulance.  I loved it as well.  In life you just know when something is your calling in life.  I took my EMT (Emergency Medical Technician) course for the first time when I was 18.  I did not pass it that first time.  Honestly, I did not really apply myself in the coursework.  I did not study like I should have.  But I was only 18 years old after all. 

Even though I had not passed the EMT exam I still had such a desire to one day become an EMT.  Well then my children started making their appearance.  I could not dedicate the amount of time needed and raise my children.  So like most parents do I place my dream on the back burner.  During this time I still would read anything I could about emergency medicine. 

In 2001 I decided I was going to try it once again.  My kids were 8, 5 and 2.  I still had not given up my dream of becoming an EMT.  I had just placed it on the back burner of life.  So I registered for my class and was all set to begin.  I went through the class and thought I was on my way to fulfilling that dream.  Then on my way to one of my final classes (auto extrication of all things) I lost control of my car on slick roads and hit a tree after a deer jumped out in front of me.  My instructor said she was not going to let me take the state exam because I missed class.  I was heartbroken.  I was starting to think that although this was my dream perhaps God did not want me in this position. So I went on raising my children.  Do not get me wrong, I LOVED being a mom and raising my kids.  But there was this "thing" missing from my life. 

Fast forward to present day!  My kids are now 21, 18 and 15.  My time is now!  I was more determined than ever to become a NYS EMT.  I heard that less than 5 minutes from my house an EMT course was going to be starting up on April 29.  Perfect!  I did not have drive far at all.  The course proved to be very difficult.  Then came that dreaded final extrication!  You will never guess what happened?!  No not a car accident this time.

It was hot and I guess I was sweating more than I had thought.  I was close to passing out.  But really I just wanted to see what it was like to be a patient.  Haha! I was experiencing a case of heat exhaustion.  My blood pressure was very low!!  I am thankful (VERY thankful) they were able to convince me to go to the hospital via ambulance.  I honestly did not have the mindset to argue with them.  The color was gone from my face for a while, I could not focus on anything and I was becoming short of breath.  That was very scary for me!   But there is one thing you must know about me....I am a fighter!!  My state practical exam was just 2 days away from this incident!  Which I passed with flying colors! 

The written exam was what I was most worried about.  I have never been very good at taking exams.  I locked myself in my room nightly until the exam.  I was SO nervous.  My brother-in-law was at the testing center and really helped put my nerves in check.  I decided I was going to take the full time allowed for the exam, which was 110 questions.  Ten of the questions are pilot questions and do not count towards the grade.  We had 2 hours (I think) to complete the exam.  I took the whole time.  I was one of the last out of the room.  I wanted to really read the questions and take time to answer. 

The exam proctor told me it would be about 6 weeks before I heard anything.  So I waited!  I have never been good at waiting.  I tried to fill up my time, Cleaning the house, bothering my husband (haha!) pacing around, and stalking the mailman.  Well this past Thursday I received a text from my instructor!! I had passed the state exam!  I was now a New York State EMT!  I was sitting in a restaurant having breakfast with my sister when I got the text.  I was in shock!  I read it again, I read it out loud to her (just in case my mind was playing tricks on me).  I wanted to cry.  I could not text people fast enough!  First my husband, then my agency, then family!  I went right up to my agency's director of operations and scheduled some shifts to start my training!  So my words of advice to everyone out there.... Do not give up on a dream because it seems unreachable!  When God says no it may not be a forever no.  It could just be a wait a while kind of no.  Or in my case wait 24 years! 

Thursday, September 3, 2015

2015-2016 School Year!

We are about to start our 9th year of homeschooling.  This is our third year of Abeka Academy.  It has been a huge blessing to our family.  We watch the teachers on the computer and then do the assignments.  Every quarter I have to send the tests and a couple of writing assignments into the Abeka offices.  They grade everything and issue a report card.  This report card is what I send into our school district. 

Today was unpacking day!  It is a lot like Christmas when this day arrives.  The newness of the upcoming school year brings such excitement.  All except for my 10th grader.  He is not a fan of school.  Some days are better than others.  He is a great student, but it is just the pulling teeth to get the assignments done that leave me pulling my hair out. Last year he finished the year with 3 A's and 2 B's.

Everything is included in these boxes.  Courses this year are Algebra 2, World History, Biology, English, Spanish and Bible.

In addition to these courses he will be taking physical education.  This is by far his favorite course.

In October he will start his course for Certified First Responder.  The CFR course is something he is really looking forward to.  Once he passes this course he will be able to take the EMT-B course at the age of 18. 

One of my favorite features of the academy is everything is planned out for me.  No more planning on my part.  It was fine when the kids were younger.  But now that I have a 10th grader the courses are a bit more complex.  The only thing I have to do in way of planning is to write down the daily assignments.

So here is to a great school year!!

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

A Light at the End of the Tunnel!!

Last night I finished my final EMT class.  This class has stretched me in ways I had not even imagined.  My classmates have been so much fun!  The class itself has been difficult for many reasons.  But you know what?  I would do it all over again in a heartbeat.  All of the things we go through in life make us into who God created us to be.  I know the things I went through in class will make me a better medic.

I have to admit.  There were many times during the past four months I questioned my ability.  If it were not for such wonderful people in my life rooting me on I would probably have quit a long time ago.  I know without a doubt this is what I am called to do in life. 

This past Saturday I took my first exam towards becoming an EMT.  This was the hands on practical skills exam.  It was one of the most stressful exams I have taken.  There were 6 stations we had to demonstrate skills in. 

Mandatory Stations
1a. Patient Assessment~ Medical
1b. Patient Assessment~ Trauma
2. Cardiac Arrest Management/AED
3. Bag-Valve-Mask Apneic with a pulse
Optional Skills~ I had to blindly pick a card to see what I was tested on.
4a. Upper Airway Adjuncts and Suction
4b. Supplemental Oxygen Administration
4c. Bleeding control and Shock Management (this is the one I picked)
5a. Spinal Immobilization~ Seated Patient (this is the one I picked)
5b. Spinal Immobilization~ Supine Patient
6a. Immobilization Skills~ Long Bone Injury
6b. Immobilization Skills~ Joint Injury
6c. Immobilization Skills~ Traction Splint (this is the one I picked)
The day started out bright and early!  The exam started at 9 am.  I think we were all finished by 3:30 pm.  I PASSED this part of the exam!  This Thursday I have my written part of the certification process.  I will be honest!  I am not the best at taking tests!  I am pretty nervous about this exam.  I am praying that God calms my nerves before going into this exam.