Michaela Merz's personal blog site

EMT Basic

EMT Basic

The State of new Mexico actually gave me a license. Well – not really a “license” but a card that allows me to do certain medical things under the authority of a medical director. I am an EMT now.

So – what now?

Let me first talk about my experience in college. As written in a previous post, I had to get my GED first because I wasn’t able to procure an original certificate of my school and college education in Germany. Read more bout it here.

College it self was a bit of a challenge for an old war horse like me. Not intellectually, but it isn’t easy to fit in when your classmates are way less than half your age. The whole curriculum was set up to serve high-school graduates. With the way I was expected to perform, the home work, the rules and lectures. I had serious problems to adjust – but the school and the educators had the patience and flexibility to give me the time I required. I am very thankful for their help. And it turned out to be just fine. Though my heart rate was idling around 120bpm after I took the NREMT (the final test, provided by the National Registry of Emergency Technicians). I passed on the first try and I got a great certificate which now hangs nicely framed in my office.

I guess some of you may ask: Why did you that? Are your bored with your computer engineering and looking for a career change? I know – because that is what almost all of my relatives asked me.

The answer is nope. I still do my coding / engineering / tinkering. I still do my thing with vintage music and analog equipment. The reason I subjected myself to all the studying and testing is two-fold.

First of all: I started it because in order to be serious about Search&Rescue or helping the community you have to adhere to a set of rules. I know – I am not a good rule follower. And that’s ok if you do computer programming. But real life doesn’t have a reset button. If you screw up while coding software, just get the backup and try again. If you screw up with a subject or patient, the consequences can be devastating. Whenever if comes to dealing with emergency situations, there are regulations and requirements that one needs to know and needs to follow. There is no way around that.

Second: The more I learned the more I was fascinated by the mechanisms of the body and how to provide help in case something goes wrong. I am an engineer and I look at how the body maintains homeostasis, how our breathing and heart rate is regulated or how certain medications interfere (hopefully in a good way) with certain processes. Stuff we normally don’t think about. It is super interesting. Have you ever thought about how a baby switches from being oxygenated via the umbilical cord to breathing on his/her own? It’s freaking awesome. So yes – understanding how stuff works, how things can go wrong and what we can do to prevent it from getting worse is really, really cool.

But there’s also a third aspect. It’s about a fellow human being in distress. Being able to help when somebody most likely has one of his/her worst day in life is an important, maybe the most important aspect of what I am doing. Once you are at a scene and look at the patient, you realize that all those petty differences that seem to distract us all day long – they simply don’t exist anymore. When I do a patient assessment, all I am seeing is somebody who needs help. Christian, Jew or atheist? Democrat or Republican? Black or white? Rich or poor? We all need the same oxygen, the same Epinephrine, the same care. When a life is in peril, who gives a sh*t about anything else? The patient is afraid, maybe in pain, he/she is counting on a professional who does what needs to be done. And all the medics and EMTs I was working with answered that call with compassion and professionalism.

And that’s why I am proud to be a part of this environment.

So – this blog has become longer than anticipated. To make a long story short: I am back in college. Now studying to become an advanced or intermediary EMT. Because there’s so much more cool stuff to discover. As an A-EMT, I will also have more tools in the arsenal to be able to help when another fellow human being requires assistance.

Stay tune for more information. For now, I am back to memorizing 24 or so medications, the dosages, indication and contra-indications. If you want to help our outfit to provide services, we appreciate it. Pecos Valley Public Services is an all volunteer 501(c)(3) public charity.

Michaela Merz is an entrepreneur and first generation hacker. Her career started even before the Internet was available. She invented and developed a number of technologies now considered to be standard in modern web-environments. She is a certified New Mexico Search & Rescue volunteer, a Wilderness Emergency Medical Technician, a FAA Part 61 (PPL , IFR) , Part 107 certified UAS pilot and a licensed ham .

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