Thursday, August 18, 2005

Combat LifeSaver

With any luck, I'll be CLS certified after tomorrow. And also with any luck, I'll be getting my promotion to E2 soon, being that I've been due for it since the 2nd of this month. Seems these things take time, which is fine with me. I'm not terribly hungry for rank, but I'm sure it will feel pretty cool to be pinned.

In other news, today's (first half of it, I'm currently on lunch break) consisted of hands-on IV training. You stick your buddy and your buddy sticks you. My partner, who I shall refer to as "Neo" (consult the Matrix films) was the first victim of the two of us.

There I am, rubber gloves and tools nearby, tying the 'constrictive band' (medics call it a tourniquet, though it ISNT one) around Neo's arm, popping up his veins so I can ram an 18 gauge needle into it and fill it full of some clear solution, the nature of which I know nothing about. Hey, it sounded fun. Needles, blood, mystery fluids racing their way to your heart to circulate through your entire body, those are the elements that make for a good time. Hell, isn't that the way Courtney Love parties?

Anyway, I sanitize the area of his arm that I plan on impaling, then I pull his skin taught, and I insert the needle, see the 'flash' of blood inside the well of the catheter, and then comes the tricky part. I'm standing there, trying to keep the needle completely still while pushing the catheter the rest of the way in. Well APPARENTLY when attempting that, I pressed the needle THROUGH the vein, thus impaling it, like I prophesized. Whoops.

At that point, I had to remove the needle and his friend, and slap some gauze on the wound that I inflicted on my comrade. Let's try again!

The second time went off without a hitch.

Next comes his turn to stick me. This dude is nervous as hell. I was before I stuck him, too. And then I saw his facial expression, and I made the conscious decision to once again become nervous. It was when I noticed the needle in his hand shaking....a LOT, that I surrendered my fate to the heavens and prepared for the worst.

He stabs me, no different from any IV I've ever had, and all seems great. God had rained gifts of forgiveness and love onto my being, healing me physically, emotionally and spiritually, but then we hit a snag.

As he was removing the needle, the catheter came with it. Now we have a quick squirt of dark veinous blood followed by a pooling of that blood on my forearm, followed by the prudent application of gauze and the mandatory, "Oh shit, sorry dude."

"Ah HELL no..." I reply, doing my best to guilt trip him. I felt like the biggest dick in the world for screwing his arm up, I might as well mess with him a bit, right? Second time, as always, went off without a hitch.

Oh, and a quick sidenote, just to dispell an urban legend.

You will NOT die from an air bubble entering your bloodstream. It takes a pretty decent amount of air to stop the heart. Now, if you're mainlining fresh air into your body through anything but the lungs, you probably won't be doing so well. But don't worry about a little bubble.

*The More You Know....*

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