I just finished a 3 1/2 month course at Cape Fear Community College to become an emergency medic. My reasons for doing so are 5 fold..
1. Unfortunately, my college girlfriend passed away during her sophomore year. She had a brain tumor and upon having surgery to remove it, developed meningitis and died. It killed me. I went from being a social butterfly to a recluse to a work fanatic…and back around and around again..I stopped playing rugby. I started paying football. I graduated from school and moved to the woods to build a house. I thank the good Lord my father was able to give me the opportunity to build that house, as the woods provided solace. Even with time, the pain remained. I have had difficulty maintaining relationships with women, with old friends and new friends, with business associates, et al. Not to say that her death was the cause of this, but I believe it contributed. I held on to guilt, to pain, to unanswered questions…When I faced angst with a companion, I became very good at simply leaving, which is perhaps the worst thing one can do. I felt that if I could learn the science behind her illness and death, that perhaps some of the emotion would move from ignorance and pain to understanding and relief. I also felt that if I helped some others, even if I did not know them, that I would also feel better on the inside. I was correct in my assumption that I would feel better if I knew what happened, physiologically.
2. I do a lot of risky things, thus i felt that being able to identify a personal medical emergency would be a good thing. I camp alone in the middle of the desert. I hike mountains solo to see where it goes. I travel to foreign countries where I do not speak the language. I fly airplanes, play rugby, and drive motorcycles entirely to fast…and those are the big things…So now, when my blood pressure is dropping and my heart rate is increasing after falling off a cliff, ill know that I may be going into shock and how to deal with it. I read Emergency, by Neil Strauss, where he illustrates the importance of being able to take care of one’s self, should the shit hit the fan, which it does over and over. I took his advice.
3. No matter where I go and what I do, I feel it is a good thing to know how to save someone’s life on a basic level. What if all…i mean everyone of them…the stars line up and I find a compatible mate and have kids, as a neighbor, a son, a citizen…to be able to help someone that is in a critical medical emergency would be pretty damn cool. While I do not want anything bad to happen to anyone, it is inevitable that shit happens…Im thankful I can now aid in relief.
4. My company, InternetCE.com has sold, until now, only financial continuing education. We provide mandatory CE to licensees such that may remain in good standing with their prospective boards and departments. Inasmuch, I would like to offer medical CEU’s as well. I feel that it is always a good idea to speak from experience, so while I am not a doctor (yet) I can still explain curriculum and procedure based upon my experience as a medic. Expect to see medical CE in the coming months.
5. I want to work part time and/or volunteer with emergency relief in Los Angeles, CA and Wilmington, NC . I believe that being able to remain poised and level headed in the face of adversity is a strong suit of mine, or at least it was in competitive sports, so I believe I’ll be an asset in the face of an emergency. I like helping people. My soul is renewed when I am able to help someone in need. I am helped when I am able to help.
Patients have spoken with their feet, seeking [emergency department care] in unprecedented numbers. We are the ones you come to when you’re really sick, possibly sick, or kind of sick and in need of rapid evaluation, diagnosis, and treatment. We are the place you come to when you cannot or will not wait for others to find a place in their schedules for you, and the site of medical refuge when you don’t know where else to turn. Despite limited resources,unrealistic expectations, and impossible demand, emergency medicine delivers on our promise to provide the best possible care to every patient regardless of their ability to pay or what time of day they choose to seek care.
Alan Kay once said, “The best way to predict the future is to invent it.” We’re in an inventing mode and are being presented with a historic opportunity to define both the future of our specialty and of American medicine. The opportunities in emergency medicine are endless and by choosing this career you will become a leader and a champion for the health care needs of your patients. The challenges before our health care system and emergency medicine are significant, but the rewards and honor of providing care to our communities are limitless.
– Dr. Brian Keaton