My journey to becoming a paramedic has been a long and twisty road. I’ve encountered a few scrapes and bruises along the way, but I have loved every minute of it. As it has all lead me to where I am today and I would not trade that for the world.
I haven’t always wanted to be a paramedic, but I knew I would end up in the medical field in one capacity or another. In fact growing up I was committed to becoming a Veterinarian. I used to dress up as a vet and set up a clinic in my house that would care for all my stuffed animals. We also had a few cats and dogs which would become my patients, whether they liked it or not.
As I grew older my fascination for veterinary medicine grew as well. When I was a teenager my family moved to an acreage near a small town outside of Edmonton. Being in the country I was able to expand my regular set of patients to a whole new level. My family acquired some bottle baby goats and lambs which I would tirelessly fawn over. I ended up convincing my mom to let me bring home this decrepit 2 day old goat. It was unable to walk due to severely deformed front legs. The place where I found her was going to let nature take its course, but that medical side of me just could not let that happen. I figured with some proper care and attention I could nurse the goat, who I later named Tinkerbell, back to health and help straighten her legs. Well I quickly learned that this task would not be as easy I had first thought. Since Tinkerbell was so crippled she wasn’t able to stay in the barn with the others because she kept getting trampled and required constant supervision. So she lived in the house with my family and I. I had a dog crate for her when she had to be left alone, which wasn’t often. Since she could not stand she would almost suffocate if she got stuck on her back or side. Therefore I would usually pack her up in a laundry basket and off we’d go. I not only bottle feed her every couple hours like a nursing mother but I also invented some leg splints for her crooked legs. I would leave them on her to help encourage her legs to straighten. My desire to fix Tinkerbell helped encourage me to preserver.
After about 4 months all that effort paid off. Tinkerbell was able to walk, run and play without any trouble. Her legs had grown strong and strengthened into a proper position allowing her to now live a long life. Of course that success story just lead me to try to save others. My next patient happened to be a baby duck with a broken leg. After a tiny cast and days of improvised aquatic physio the duck was able to be released into the main flock. Now unfortunately Gibbles the duck got taken out by a weasel the first night being released….. But I had at least fixed him before that incident occurred! All those critters were a fantastic learning experience for me. Each one really helped teach me patience, determination, compassion and a deeper love of medicine. These attributes have done me well in my current career.
When I was 16 I was fortunate enough to get a job at a local veterinary clinic. It was here that my interest in medicine really took off. I found it amazing to see what medicine was capable of accomplishing. I spent 4 years here learning everything I could. They trained me to take x-rays, assist with surgeries and various procedures, as well as draw up medications. I was very fortunate to find such a welcoming environment to help me expand my love of medicine. I learned so many valuable skills such as devotion, respect, confidence and acceptance that not every patient will end in a success. That was a hard, yet needed lesson to learn. All of which I apply to my career in EMS.
Although I loved my time at the clinic and my growing experience in veterinary medicine, I began to feel like something was missing. That was when I discovered just how thrilling and fulfilling human medicine could be. I had never really considered a career in this field of medicine, since all my life I had wanted to be a vet. But once I had my taste for emergency medicine I was hooked. I had found my calling.
It all started when I joined the local volunteer fire department. My eyes were opened to a whole new world of possibilities. I not only responded to various fire and rescue calls, but I was privileged to be able to respond to medical emergencies. I loved being first on scene, being able to provide comfort and make a difference to those in need. Having the skills and knowledge to assist in the care of those who needed it most filled a hunger in me I had not realized was there. I remember the day I officially decided my future belonged on an ambulance. The fire dept. and I had responded to a cardiac arrest where we happened to arrive on scene before EMS. Our crew quickly got to work preforming CPR. When the ambulance crew arrived they allowed me to come with them and continue to perform chest compressions, as well as BVM respirations. It was extremely rewarding to be a part of this amazing team. I watched them work seamlessly together, like an intricate dance as they tried to revive the gentlemen we were working on. To my amazement it worked. The patient’s heart began to beat and he began to breathe on his own once again. I owe a lot to the fire dept. They not only helped me to find my true passion, but they taught me many valuable attributes. Maturity, teamwork, bravery and strength.
I started with my EMR and immediately went for my EMT. After all my pervious experiences in the various areas of medicine I found myself excelling at school. Everything I had learned and seen over the years had been helping me to further my dream. I thoroughly enjoyed my time in school and the knowledge I gained there has served as my back bone during my time as an EMT. I have been very blessed with fantastic practitioners as partners over my past 5 and a half years. Each one has taught me something different and helped shape me into the practitioner I am now. As much as I loved my time as an EMT, I began to tire of having my hands tied due to being BLS. After working for years on an ALS truck I began to anticipate and know what the next step for the patient would be, but I was unable to perform the required tasks due to my current designation. One call that really helped solidify that paramedic was the next step for me was a very sick 56yr old man. He had had a suspected bowel obstruction that ruptured and was now septic. He was so peripherally shut down he was mottled and his radial pulses were non-existent. We were unable to get an IV on him and since we were BLS that day we were not able to start an IO. I was not able to give him the fluids and medications he desperately needed. It was a terrible feeling seeing and knowing what needed to be done, but not having the required designation needed in order to adequately help him. I knew then that paramedic was the next step for me.
So now I am currently rounding my last curve in the road to becoming a paramedic. I am on my final practicum and will be a paramedic soon, fingers crossed. It has been a long journey to this point. Not all of it has been pleasant or easy, there have been a lot of speed bumps along the way. As I look back on my journey I count myself lucky, everything I have seen and done throughout my life has been preparing me for my future career. I am grateful to all those who have helped me get to this point and to those who have taught me valuable life skills. I plan to apply all the attributes I have gained over the years to become the best paramedic I can be.
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