Friday, April 18, 2014
Louisville Metro and Open Doors
On Tuesday I attempted to take the Louisville Metro EMS physical agility test. For an overview here is what the test consists of...
100' Serpentine Carry: Carry an approximately 80 pound hose bundle 100 feet
zigzagging through cones spaced 5 feet apart
you have 1min 10sec to complete
Enter through the window of a standard size car window and then exit
through the same window
The following tasks are performed continuously, you have 5min 30 sec to
complete these tasks
Enter the driver side of the ambulance, touch the radio, emergency
equipment, gas and brake pedals then exit
Open the rear compartment and remove the stretcher with 2 med bags placed
on the bed. Move the stretcher next to the fire tower
Carry the med bags (approx 33 pounds) to the 3rd floor (although their paperwork
says 3rd floor they made me go to the 4th)
Once on the 4th floor put the bags down and pick up the 80 pound hose bundle and
carry back to the stretcher.
Put the stretcher with hose bundle back in the ambulance
Return to the 4th floor, retrieve the med bags and place them on the floor of the
ambulance (end of test)
As stated above, I had 5 min and 30 sec to finish this task. I completed the skill in 5 min and 57 seconds. 27 seconds over my allotted time. I had asked prior to testing for another minute or 2 to complete the tasks as an accommodation under the Americans with Disabilities Act. I was denied this accommodation and therefore failed the exam. To say I was bummed was an understatement. I was crushed. Thankfully, I have a very supportive group of friends and family, who helped me realize that considering I climbed effectively 8 stories in under 6 minutes as an amputee. That's not to shabby.
I did email the HR rep for LMEMS and brought to his attention that although their departmental paperwork said we would be tested by going to the 3rd floor, we were instructed on test day to go to the 4th. Had I went to the 3rd floor as on the paper they gave us I very well may have passed. The rep responded that since I didn't say anything before my test then I forfeited all rights to complain. So, that's it. My future with LMEMS is over. I can retest in 6 months if I chose too, but I think this ship has sailed. That leaves me with a decision to make. Do I continue on in EMS or do I try a new path? I think I've made that decision. I may take a part time job on the ambulance, just because I really do enjoy patient care, and I am good as a medic, but in the long run EMS is just too hard on our bodies. Most people in this field end their career with a back injury. The days of making it 20 or 25 years are quickly coming to an end. An ever expanding population of bariatric (obese) patients is increasing the rate of injury on duty, and ending careers almost quicker than we can replace those left by the wayside.
I have decided that I will continue in some function in medicine. I may teach paramedics, I may go back to nursing school, who knows where my path will lead. One thing is for sure. I am turning my focus. For the next few years my focus will be on helping Kate go to school and continue to push for Insurance Fairness for Amputees. I am going to try to focus on a national level instead of state level. My number one priority will be Kate. She has supported me throughout this insane journey we have been on. Up till now, the focus has been squarely on me, it's her turn for center stage. I will continue to write, do the occasional speaking engagement, and always mentor others (amputees and EMS).
So, with that said, please continue to follow along. I have decided to stop trying to open this closed door and search for a door that is open.
Until next time,