Home » A Wasted Life » Six Months Ago, I Couldn’t Spell EMT – Now I Are One

Six Months Ago, I Couldn’t Spell EMT – Now I Are One

I made it through class and did indeed finish first but I was a little pissed that W****, the teacher had passed everybody no matter what their grades were.  I questioned her about it.  I had studied my butt off and these people had skipped class, failed tests and some of them didn’t even show up for the final exam.  I was thinking “these are the people who are literally going to hold patients’ lives in their hands.”
W**** said she wasn’t going to keep anybody from being able to get certified but they wouldn’t because they were all going to crash and burn during the next phase of testing.
The next phase of testing was Clinicals.  We were all scheduled at the same time and it was supposed to take all day.
The tests involved several scenarios and I had to be prepared for anything.  There were time limits on all of them and I was hoping that I was going to be fast enough.
My “patient” was having chest pain.  I breezed right through it.  Then I had to successfully intubate a patient, which was actually a dummy.  I tubed him with my first attempt.  The third part was splinting a broken femur.  I was doing okay until the splint fell apart.  There were springs and bolts flying everywhere.  I had the presence of mind to ask the tester to stop his watch.  We eventually found all of the pieces and I was able to splint the leg.
We had to wait around for the scores.  I was called to the back room to be told how I had done.  I jumped the gun and said “did I pass?”  The instructor said “not only did you pass, you passed very well.  You had a perfect score.”  I was so excited, I could have done flips.  I had the Cheshire cat grin on my face when I walked out.  The rest of the class was still there.  They had tested and forgotten one or two minor things, like putting the patient on O2 or verbalizing BSI (body substance isolation.)  You were allowed to test twice before they sent you home.  I had tested once and was on my way!
All I had to do now was wait for the written exam.  It was in another city and a month away.
I continued to study and having heeded my teachers’ advice, I paid no attention to pediatrics and geriatrics.  She said there would be nothing on the test involving those.
The day came and I made the two hour drive the day before, checked into a hotel and waited for the next morning.  We were all there and had dinner the night before.  We were talking about how when we were in class, we were all diabetic, we were all at some point, having a stroke and we were symptomatic of every conceivable disease or injury that was presented in the books.  Apparently, that’s a common phenomenon.
Testing day came.  I was diligently plodding along and imagine my surprise when two whole sections were about pediatrics and geriatrics.  The best I could do was guess.  It was a four hour test and when it was over, we walked out and my four buddies and I all said in unison…..what the Hell was that?  We compared notes, asked each other how each one had answered a particular question that none of us understood.  One of us had answered A, the other one B, the other one C and I had answered D.  We chatted a while and then decided that we were all going to get home and call to reserve a spot for the next test, as we were all sure we had failed.  I got home and called and the woman asked me if I was sure I had failed and I told her “pretty much.”  She asked me to call and cancel “when” I found out that I had passed.  I told her I would.
I got home and told J*** that there wasn’t a snowballs’ chance in Hell that I had passed.
The results were going to be posted on the web and I still checked every day even though I was sure I had failed.
J*** had suddenly started calling me and asking me if I “wanted to go get a beer.”  He would come pick me up and we’d go up to one of our favorite restaurants.  He was vague but I knew something was going on at work.
The results were finally posted.  I had passed.  I couldn’t believe it.  I emailed J*** and asked him if he wanted to go get a beer after work.  He responded “did you pass?” I answered with one word…..yep.  I was both proud and astounded.  I couldn’t wait to get my certificates in the mail.  I couldn’t wait to tell my children.  I called and told them and they sent me a card, telling me that they knew I could do it.
K**** made me a special card and her boyfriend, E* came up with what to write in it.  It’s the title of this page….”Six months ago, I couldn’t spell EMT – now I are one.”
I was a Nationally Certified Emergency Medical Technician.  I was one of only three in the class that passed.  I was hoping J*** would be proud of me.
I waited for my certifications to arrive and when they did, I decided to look for a job.  I drove out to N**** C********* and walked into an ambulance service.  I talked to one of the people there and asked for an application.  As luck would have it, the owner walked in and I started talking to her.  She told me to fill out an application and leave it on J** B*****s’ desk.  I did and went home. The next day I got a call from her, offering me a part-time job.  I emailed J*** and casually said “by the way, I was offered a job today.”  He emailed me back a simple,  “some by the way.”
The owner asked me to come in and meet J**.  When I got there, she told me a story.  She said when she met me, she knew instantly that she was going to offer me a job.  She had gone in the office that morning, looking for my application.  She asked J** about it and he looked in the trash can.  He had seen my age and immediately threw my application away.  He thought I was too old.  When I met him, he couldn’t believe I was fifty-three and apologized for trashing my application.  I went to work that week.
I was only part-time and at first.  I worked sporadically but I was excited every time I was called and then I started being called pretty regularly.
The twenty-fifth anniversary of the fellowship that J*** won was coming up and it was going to be in D.C.  We made the drive and stayed with one of the foreign fellows who had relocated to the states.  It was cicada season and it was horrendous.  They were everywhere and were so loud you could hardly hear anybody talking.
Everybody who was there twenty-five years ago said I looked exactly the same.  There was lots of eating and chatting and drinking.  One of the fellows actually knew that I had gone to EMT school and asked me if I had ever read “Ambulance Girl.”  Not being a reader, I had not.  She said she was going to bring it to me the next day.  I had no intention of reading it but I thanked her and took it.
After a few days, we headed back down to C*********.  J*** knew I had been given the book and started leaning on me to read it.  He had told me years ago that if he could change anything about me, he would make me a reader.
I didn’t want to read it but while he was upstairs changing clothes, I did.  It took me twenty minutes.  When he came back downstairs, I told him I had read it.  He was angry.  He said “you read that entire book in twenty minutes and YOU DON’T READ?”  I think maybe he didn’t believe I had read it, so he randomly flipped through it and would read a line and ask me what happened next.  I knew what happened, almost like I had written the book myself.  He tossed the book on the coffee table and shook his head.  He said again, “you can read an entire book in twenty minutes, remember everything you read and YOU DON’T FUCKING READ.”  I couldn’t get over how disgusted he acted.
I should have said “no, I don’t fucking read and YOU don’t fucking sew!  By the time you spend four hours in the bathroom reading a book that only you can appreciate, I can be in the sewing room, producing a beautiful quilt that can be seen and touched and appreciated by everybody.”

7 thoughts on “Six Months Ago, I Couldn’t Spell EMT – Now I Are One

  1. Laurel those talents of yours and your determination to make it are really amazing. Do you by any chance speak other languages too (or having it easy to learn them) considering your photographic memory?

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    • I can speak some French, German, Greek, Japanese and Spanish. I am not fluent in any of them. There used to be what were called “mini-series” on television. I watched Shogun and I still remember every word the Japanese woman taught the American. I took Spanish in high school and can carry on a decent conversation. I actually understand much more than I can speak.
      I’m not a reader so I am an auditory eidetic. I remember almost everything I hear or have ever heard.

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      • Hopefully you will get the oppurtunity to use those languages (without the fear of flying). I saw you already know one word swedish too :).

        How do you avoid all the memories you rather wouldnt think of, for ex if you get triggered by something, when the memory is so vivid and since especially your childhood were so awful? Has the writing helped any in that regard?

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        • I don’t know if writing about it has helped or not. I was just thinking that if somebody mentioned the name of a particular post, I could recite it verbatim without even reading it. That’s one of my biggest problems. I remember everything…but I did get rid of everything that Loser had ever given me, touched or shared. I returned everything my children ever gave me. I have no pictures of anybody in my house so the triggers are mental.
          I was nominated to do the “happiness tag.” Geese. I was actually going to write about my memory…being a double-edged sword.

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          • Yes its like you had a mental videotape/vlog already before starting your blog, but at least you get support from people on your real blog, validating your feelings, instead of just your own thoughts in your mental diary.. Good you got rid of his stuff!

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            • The support has been overwhelming. I was afraid I would sound like “poor, pitiful me” but now that I’ve read some of these other blogs, it is just astounding! I had no idea that other women (and some men) had been through the same thing….when it comes to scumbag “husbands.”

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