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My Sister, the Paramedic

posted at 9:27 am
on Dec. 12, 2005

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I wrote this post a while ago, but I didn’t put it up because I didn’t want to jinx my sister, Virginia.  But she’s going to be a paramedic!

She’s been taking a course from the B.C. Justice Institute and it’s been going really well for her.  Of course, the Justice Institute sounds like the kind of place that would have Green Lantern and Superman standing around the lobby and Batman holed up in the library, but it’s not.  It’s just the school in B.C. that trains most of the first responders.

So she’s been taking this course called EMR where you learn how to be an EMR.  Funny thing is, it’s a lot like the first aid courses I took when I was in the Boy Scouts, though of course the circumstances are a little different.  For example, she’s learning how to use all these fancy splints that an ambulance comes stocked with, whereas we were trained on how to make ski poles and branches into a stretcher.  But we’ve totally been bonding over the shared medical knowledge:

“Hey, did you do snake bites?” “Yeah, totally.  The hard part is you gotta catch the snake.” “I know! That’s crazy!” “Yeah, but they want to be able to know for sure what bit the guy.” “So basically you catch the snake, put it in a bag,  and hand it to the victim, load them both in the vehicle and then say, ‘Um, I’ll be riding up front…’ “

She sounds happy as a clam in mud, and she’s doing extremely well.  She’s taking the whole thing so damn seriously.  Like, she was ultra-concerned today that she had had such a hard time with spinal rolls the day before.  She said she practiced them over and over and over because if you do them wrong, you can end up paralyzing the person you’re working on.  It’s a level of dedication that’s, shall we say, a new leaf.

And oh, the studying she’s done—hours and hours and hours. She even bought a highlighter—though I had to cajole her into that purchase.

I’ll tell you one thing that would have deterred me.  They were talking in class about some condition whose symptoms included “possible nausea and vomiting” and one of her classmates asked the teacher how many paramedic calls really involved vomit.  The teacher said that, of actual emergency calls (not false alarms) about 95% involved vomit.

Ninety-five percent!  I’m going to give her stain remover for Christmas.


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Previous entry:
My Christmas 2005 Wish List

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Reading We Are Iran


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