In college, more or less on a whim, I joined the student run ambulance. My mother was a nurse, my grandfather was a fire chief, it seamed a natural fit. Plus they had cool radios… Consequently I took an EMT class, time wise it was the equivalent of a 4 credit course (I don’t think I actually got credits for it though as it wasn’t through the school). Academically it wasn’t much of a challenge compared to the rest of my course load, but the practical testing was probably the most stressful experience of my life at the the time.
20 Years later I’ve been a volunteer member and officer in 3 departments, and worked for a commercial service in the city of Albany (best college job ever). I’ve trained to advanced life support levels, and let it lapse when I wasn’t in a position to use it anymore. Been certified as an EMT instructor, and let that lapse when having children didn’t leave me with the time to teach any more.
20 Years is just getting started compared to some of the people I’ve worked with, it’s also longer than others have been alive. At times it’s been one of the toughest things I’ve ever done, at others it’s been one of the most rewarding. Although our protocols have changed significantly in some areas, the fundamental assessment skill I learned in that first class still serve me well today.
It’s interesting to look back at how some of the small choices we make have profound impacts on our lives. Looking back on 20 years also makes me realize one other thing: I’m old.