The day I have been simultaneously looking forward to, and dreading, is finally upon me. This time tomorrow I will be concluding my ten-hour ride-along with the Oakland Fire Department; a requirement for completion of my EMT course. I’m looking forward to experiencing a day in the life, as they say, but naturally, there is so much that is unknown about this experience that I’m anxious about it at the same time. A few people in the class have already done their ride-alongs and have reported back good experiences.
Of the two options that were available to me, I elected to ride along with Station 13 which is closer to my house than the other station. I also chose Station 13 because the other station is reputed to be “built on an Indian Burial Ground” as in, they see everything. That station might have been a wiser choice, but it seemed like a good idea not to thrust myself into the fire. I chose Wednesday, because it seemed likely to be the least busy day. It wasn’t my intention to avoid any experiences exactly, but I did feel like it was a good idea to not overwhelm myself and Station 13 seems less likely to do that.
I have no idea what they will have me doing. We are, of course, supposed to stay out of the way, but we are also supposed to participate and learn as much as we can from the experience. I know they’ll involve me in the calls as much as they can. I have an official “Merritt College EMT Program” polo shirt with a medical logo and if you don’t look too closely, or compare it to the Fire Fighters shirts, you might not notice that I’m just a student and don’t really know what I’m doing. My hope is that I’ll be able to closely observe and participate and that suddenly everything I’ve learned so far will snap into place and next week, when I have to do my skills tests, it’ll be “second nature.”
So when I hit publish on this post, I’ll be packing up and leaving the office. I’ll head to the grocery store where I have to make final choice between a box of cookies or a bag of apples; we’re encouraged to bring a
bribe snack item to the fire fighters. It seems they get a lot of pastries and junk food so I’m leaning toward the apples. Then again, maybe they want the junk food. Then I’ll go home, fix and eat dinner, and iron my shirt and black jeans to wear. I’ll watch the results show for “Dancing with The Stars (and Bristol Palin)” (I can’t include Bristol Palin as a star) and then right to bed.
I’m supposed to be at the fire house at 7:30 in the morning. I’ll be with them until 6:00 (which happens to be what time my class starts) and then when I leave there, I’ll be heading straight to school until at least 9:00. That’s going to be one hell of a long day, so if you’ll excuse me… I’ve got to get moving!