Showing posts from June, 2005

Wait. There's more in England than London?

I'll apologize in advance for my spelling and the length of this entry. And, for the record, I knew there was more to see than London. (the outskirts have ambulances too!) We have been to several places outside of London. After my last entry we visited Westminster Abbey so that we could catch up with all of our friends: Chaucer, Darwin, Newton, Oliver Cromwell, and some kings and queens. Now, unless you’re very unorthodox, you’re sitting down already, but Mom, Dad, and I flew the eye. Unbelievable, yes. (well, only if you really know us, actually) It’s quite a feat, believe me. This was awesome to say the least, ‘Flying’ above London at about 500 feet. Then we visited the British Museum. This is a vast and frustrating place. They have 5 million objects to see, and we had about 2 hours to do it. Impossible. But, we saw the Rosetta Stone, The Marbles ‘acquired’ from the Parthenon in Greece, a statue from Easter Island, plus a ton of other stuff.

We also visited Shakespeare’s birthpla…

Ah, London

Just as I left you. We are here after one of the longest days of my life. There could have been 10 rapid response units outside our window last night and I would have slept through it. Half of the battle was over when we survived getting to our layover in the smallest plane I had ever been on (I think it was produced by Matchbox). Our hotel is lovely except for the minor a/c problem (actually it's not a problem, it just doesn't exist). But, we can have a full English for breakfast, included! (hurrah, as they say.)
Today we had a nice bus tour of the city and visited St. Paul's cathedral built by Sir Christopher Wren exactly 295 years ago (after the 'great' fire of London destroyed the city of London in 1666). Turns out that I didn't remember a thing about this place from out last trip. We also saw the building that served as the backdrop for Gringotts Bank in Harry Potter. Our tour guide today was hilarious and told us to 'chillax' a combo of chill and r…

Bits and Pieces

Here are a few left over things from London and an update on the rest of my summer. I have fixed my questionable spelling and grammar in the London entries. Now you sticklers can breathe easier (mom). Hey, mannequin and souvenir are hard to spell!
In London, they call a cardiac arrest a ‘suspended.’ They never clarified to me if this meant functioning has suspended or if the patient was ‘suspended’ between heaven and wherever. Paramedics in certain areas carry a set of large and unhandy keys for unlocking exclusive gated communities. Every paramedic in London is issued their own paramedic bag. They can take it to and from work, the grocery store, library, or pool. They are responsible for its contents and also get to organize it in any way they want, pretty cool.

For the next two weeks I’ll be on vacation. I’ll paraphrase a conversation I had this morning:
“Where are you going?”
“Um. London and Paris.”
“Weren’t you just there?”
“Er, Sort of……yes.”
The original plan was for my paren…


There is nothing a good cup of tea and some gratuitous violence can't fix. I drove home this morning feeling better purely because it was a new day. I got back, made some tea and decided to sit and watch one of my favorites, Kill Bill. From the first punch I felt better, what a satisfying movie!
I decided (well, faced actually) that there's nothing I can do about registry and I'm going to have to use this as a learning opportunity. Maybe (once I pass) I'll join the registry's governing body and change all of their moronic policies. (I think that a stamp on your forehead the reads "Loser" is preferable to retaking the whole test.)
I must take this space to apologize to my fantastic friends for being a bit 'down in the mouth' yesterday and not feeling too festive. You all did great!
I'll see you on the 15th for Charlie and Harry!


Yeah, I'm down for the count. And the day started out so nicely. Wait, no it didn't. The 5 o'clock hour and I rarely meet, and never under good terms. It was nice to see everybody today and help to calm their nerves by sharing my NREMT practical experience.
I was (and always have been) dead confident in the skills for this test. I had no reason to think that I wouldn't pass one station, again. In fact, failing today completely caught me by surprise. I'm fairly certain that I uttered some unfriendly words under my breath in front of the registry rep. I didn't really care. I feel hurt, let down by my supposed confidence. I also feel let down by the national registry and its ability to "assess the knowledge and skills necessary for competent practice." It's so helpful when they refuse to tell you why you fail a specific station. That really aids in the learning process.
In failing this station today I am not alone. In failing to this extent, I am alone…

Ellie v. NREMT (round 2)

"I want a good clean fight!"
Ah, we meet again national registry practical, for the last time! I hope your conscience is clear, trauma assessment!
In all of the excitement of leaving for London, I cleverly neglected to inform you kind readers of my national registry practical/written exams. What a fun task this test is! I liked the practical so much that I decided to take the trauma assessment station again, I just can't get enough! Long and boring story short I failed the trauma and have to take it again tomorrow. But that was the only one!
The story of my classes' practical is a long and sad one. Our practical was originally scheduled for the middle of May. Then, something retarded happened (it is a mystery that will go down in history) and the practical was cancelled the night before. (gasp! horror! shock!) I'm fairly certain that a few members of my class had to be resuscitated before deciding to stay up late and maybe have a few drinks.
Fast forward to the next …

Home again, home again.

Well, almost. I'm here at school, a logical rest stop between Newark and home. We arrived yesterday around 7:00 here time (midnight our time).
Getting back was a trial at times. It started out with our airline weighing our carry-on bags and saying that they couldn't be more than 6kg. We were kind of freaked out about this; I knew mine was way more than that. I was carrying a grocery bag with orange kit-kats in it (yes, for you) so I decided to throw stuff from my bookbag into that bag. Working the system, I guess, but they didn't care. This was so ridiculous because you could have bought a million kilos worth of stuff at the duty free shop. I guess that my extra few kg didn't affect the plane too much. Maybe they should weigh each passenger as well. Or, put a huge scale on the runway to measure before planes take off. Then they can stop the plane and announce that they can't go until they jettison some cargo, guilting you into throwing your duty-free vodka, souvenir…

The parting glass

Our last official day in London was just as fantastic as the others. We visited the LAS museum located in Ilford. This is probably about 10 miles away as the crow flies, but in London it takes about an hour to travel it. We ended up in an ambulance station with a section dedicated to the 'museum.' They have old British ambulances parked outside. Inside they have stuff everywhere. There was a section with ancient training devices including the mask of a woman who we know as "Anne" (the CPR mannequin).
Interesting story that I never knew before: In the late 1890s, this young woman was pulled from the river Seine in Paris. It was assumed that she committed suicide and because she was unknown, a death mask was made of her face. The story was romanticized throughout Europe and years later Asmund Laerdal decided to use the death mask to produce a resuscitation mannequin in order for more people to learn live-saving skills. And, the rest is history; we all use Laerdal produc…


Quick note on yesterday's activities. I rode out in Wimbledon with a First Response Unit. We had a fun day. The best call was for a diabetic with a blood sugar of 1.7 (gasp! horror!). Pretty bad yes, but we gave glucagon while waiting for the transporting unit to arrive. Glucagon, you ask? Their EMTs can give glucagon. In fact, speaking of gasps and horror. The guy I was riding with was shocked at the lack of skill out EMT-Bs have. Really couldn't believe it, I had to slap him around a bit; he just glazed over when I told him we couldn't give any drugs with needles (save epi), do 12 leads, do 3 leads (for that matter), check glucose levels, manage intraortic balloon pumps, or perform thoracotomies, and I agree, it's just terrible! Practically skilless, our EMTs. I need to get a more powerful job and get EMTs some fun skills.
We also got to see the All England Lawn Tennis Club Wimbledon (that must be said with a posh English accent). This is where the Wimbledon champions…

Language barriers

Combined update tonight of yesterday and today. This may be kind of long and boring, but...
Yesterday we visited what is basically a haz-mat team that is comprised of personnel from LAS, the fire brigade, and the metropolitan police. They call it CBRN (chemical, biological, radiological, and nuclear). They took us out on the Thames on the LFB (London fire brigade) boat. This was awesome; we went all the way up (or down, depending) to Tower Bridge. I felt very touristy, taking a million pictures, but it was something that very few people get to experience.
After this we visited the EXPO, the explosives office. London is the only city in the UK that has a civilian bomb team. They respond to any suspicious thing and neutralize or minimize it. They have a museum of sorts filled with explosive devices; military, commercial, or homemade. All of these had been found in London which is pretty amazing. It was a little freaky when the guy was holding a hand grenade (with his index finger in the p…

Full English Breakfast

We started today visiting the LAS press office. Got a feel for what they do pretty quickly: deal with the press, make up ad campaigns. These campaigns are extremely clever and deal with issues that the providers see out in the field. The national health system started this a few years ago with posters concerning house numbers and the difficulty in finding houses. The catch phrases were "999 where are you" and "Is your number up?" a hilarious play on words. The LAS has done a few since then. One concerns abuse toward ambulance personnel. This "No excuse" poster features and actual LAS paramedic who was assaulted while on the job. Another features a London taxi cab and a London ambulance. It reads "Only one of these is a taxi service." Hilarious! These posters mostly improved employee moral rather than discouraged Londoners from calling 999 needlessly. Their current one is advertising their free bystander CPR training. It has an actual cardiac arr…

Governance Day!

Today we attended the HEMS governance day. This is a day once a month where HEMS docs and paramedics get together to do QI on calls and their system in general. This was set in a building that was very modernly decorated. The lecture hall we were in was completely green, I mean green. From carpet to ceiling, crayola green, with the exception of 10 completely random red chairs.
They started out reviewing articles from various medical journals, and then reviewed several cases that HEMS took where the patient died (overviewing what happened to the patient, what care was given, and what could have been better). The calls involved a hanging, car v. pedestrian, car v. cyclist, and a 'one under' (someone under a train). After this they reviewed two calls from start to finish, from the 999 call, dispatch and response, right down to the data recording. Then for lunch Jon and I ate at the cafĂ© there (completely red) and split a lemonade shandy. This is a drink half lemonade and half beer…

How much do you weigh in stones?

"We'll just pop 'round to the 'ospital and get you looked over, love, a'right?"
Today we visited an LAS training center and met an upcoming class of EMT-3s. I should take this time to explain the certification levels here in the UK. There are three levels of EMT in London only. EMT-1 is BLS capable, can administer oxygen therapy, and use an automatic defibrillator (AED). EMT-2 is an interim EMT-3 (for 12 months). EMT-3s can do everything a 1 can plus a few interesting skills. They are 3 lead and 12 lead capable. They can recognize ST elevation and basic heart rhythms. They can also administer nitroglycerin, aspirin, glucagon, entonox (nitrous oxide, believe it!), adrenaline (epi), parasetamol (pain reliever/fever reducer for children), and glucose paste. These drugs are all given subcutaneously, orally, or IM. Paramedics have a whole host of other drugs they can administer very similar to our drug scheme. They also perform decompression, intubation, and variou…