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November 25, 2019: Self Exploration

I’m very glad to have my emergency room clinical rotations behind me. I wasn’t looking forward to spending two twelve-hour days in a hospital. I am at heart a theorist, and this is why I most likely became an English major. My area of specialization was and remains the personal essay. To assay is to remove gold from ore. To essay is to explore an idea or thought. Essayists think deductively – their definitive diagnosis comes after consider speculation. Reading, writing, thinking, surmising, this is what essayists do best.

I enjoyed working with Darby yesterday. I was all thumbs when doing the hands- on work, and I think she figured out fairly quickly that this wasn’t my forte. I also didn’t come across as being very

Bootleg painting by Jackie

competent. The phrase “being like a deer in the headlights” came to mind a few times. Last week I ran into my former anatomy and physiology teacher, and she said that I am “slow to process,” meaning that I don’t pick things up quickly, but rather, in time.

This morning I was tending to the horses. It was then that I began hearing those Aristotle-ascribed clicks of recognition. I right then put it altogether. What Darby was attempting to teach me was that the E.R. room isn’t a clinic. Rather, it’s a place in which life threats are addressed, immediately. Now some may think that the Mat-Su Regional Hospital is a clinic, and for this reason they bypass going to their primary care doctor or to the urgent care clinic. And they might do this more than once, which then takes time away from those needing emergency care.

Darby also (and in short order) reminded me that in dealing with threats, that the ABCs need to be addressed, immediately – the A B C being airway, breathing, and circulation. And additionally, the one doing the assessing needs to do a thorough medical history, focusing on the OPQRST and AMPLE mnemonics. She added that at first you memorize the questions, which later become commonplace. Vitals, that is oxygen saturation levels, pulse, heart rate, and blood pressure are also key. As a way of emphasizing this, Darby had me watch many, many, many intakes. I filled an entire notebook with transcriptions. Last night, in going over my notes, I discerned a pattern – Becca who was doing intakes worked in a very logical and orderly fashion, in an attempt to determine what were the life threats. Her information came from EMTs and the patients. The doctors then based their diagnoses on the given information and their assessment of the patient’s condition.

I noticed that Darby was in the moment all twelve hours of her shift, and during this time her patients and co-workers had her full, undivided attention. As I watched her go about her job, I repeatedly thought that the world would be a better place if there were more people like her out there.

Me, today, back to business as usual here on the farm. Pete and I worked with the horses on agility – the course is just too difficult for the mares this month, so we are passing on it. I did get Tyra and Tinni out for a trail walk, and Pete and I rode Raudi and Hrimmi on the same trails. It was nose nipping cold – winter is here.

If I am grateful for anything this holiday season, it is that I have a life that lends itself to being an essayist. I have time, as Nabokov in Look at the Harlequins said, “to invent, play, create a world.” I have been fortunate in that over the past decade I’ve rounded out my liberal arts education by taking many, many science courses, some including large animal and human anatomy and physiology. And I’ve been equally fortunate in that this past year I drew upon what I previously learned in taking Dorothy’s Wilderness First Responder and EMT 1 courses.

My deductively-based essayistic conclusion is this – my hard-earned knowledge is going to make a more competent and confident individual when out in wilderness settings. Yes, I might someday save someone’s life. This is because I will know what needs to be done, and know how to go about doing it.

Next: 327. November 26, 2019: Looking Back, Looking Ahead

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