When I have free time my mind often drifts off to a frenzied time in my life when I attended paramedic School. This was a harsh and hurried season of concentration, collecting, cramming and concern as I was given a vast amount of medical knowledge, covering complex, rote and autonomic functions our marvelously created human bodies perform precisely, like clockwork, twenty-four hours a day. I worked diligently to cram this “how, why, when, and what to do about it” medical information into the recesses of my mind, blowing the cob webs away, in a relatively short time frame of just nine months.
It was a challenging nine months to say the least, and I do not always easily back away from challenges in life. I used every available moment, having a family sometimes that is next to impossible, in preparation for all final testing to become a paramedic. I was clearly at a distinct disadvantage in this endeavor having graduated some years before with just basic math and science skills on board my aging mind. I did however, have a Basic certification as an Emergency Medical Technician as a foundation to build upon with advanced medical knowledge. I was “all in”, or engrossed and trying to study whenever I could for this opportunity to complete higher medical knowledge along with greater practical skills to better assist those in my family, my community, and strangers that happen into our area in times of emergencies and great medical needs that can arise suddenly with little or no warning.
Maybe you think jumping up to help others in a time of a medical emergency is more about the rush of adrenaline which floods a person in their rush to help another, or a matter of feeding one’s inflated pride, or another chance to “play” with the lights and sirens while navigating down a highway littered with traffic as you press on towards a reported medical emergency.
I tell you it is more than any of those things; it is an opportunity to save a life, change a life (mine and the patients), or perhaps delivering a new life into this world. An emergency situation can be a multitude of things including a debilitating illness, simple or severe injury, or a situation of impending death, where you have an opportunity to hold another person’s hand as they slip quietly away, or perhaps care for a lifeless body in a dignified and humble way; knowing that all mankind will personally face the throes of death in an unknown time and way.
I know that both life and death are ultimately in the hands and timing of God. He may have given me opportunities to be with an individual as they drew their last breath, or was kept from the throes of death but the details of each situation is all of God and He is always the one in control. He allows others to serve Him by helping others (both willing and unwillingly) according to His will in all situation at hand.
The Bible tells us in Revelation 1:18 that God is always in control of life and death:
The Bible also says physical death will happen to all mankind in several verses including:
Mankind cannot bring about life or death to himself or others without God allowing it to happen. Those who have been trained in medicine, medical procedures, and skills to sustain life are at the mercy of God in both their successes and failures. No man can take credit for saving a life, without giving glory and honor to God, because it is God who allows life to continue or an individual to succumb to physical death, even of his own making. Man cannot ultimately be responsible in losing the life of another for it is God who has allowed to happen.
Medical professionals will tell you that losing any life; whether it be an expected end to a debilitating and chronic condition such as cancer, or on an operating table, or upon a gurney coming to the Emergency Room, a body found along the roadway because of ejection from an accident, or wherever and however sudden death might occur, that losing life is never easy or routine. Even if medical professionals did not personally know the individual, each and every death takes a little piece of their heart.
Young children and teenagers are often the most difficult for those working in a medical profession to lose yielding to death. I have been in a room filled with doctors and nurses busy trying to revive a young individual with a crash cart concoction of life saving meds, but the young person’s body has no response and there is no other choice but for them to be declared physically dead. I have been on ambulance crews when an individual has been found on the roadway, in a vehicle, or in a field without the breath of life upon the ambulance arrival. Scenes of injury and death, wherever they may occur, never get any easier to process in your heart and mind.
That is why it is so important to have caring and qualified personnel available to respond and react when emergencies happen; whether it be in a hospital setting, or out on a call, each person deserves the best care possible and all workers are, whether they realize it or not, an arm or extension of God working to preserve health and welfare of individuals. Only as God wills and allows both life and death. It is never all about the skill or knowledge of the medical professional alone that saves a dying person, but rather the will of God working in the situation at hand and God never makes any mistakes in matters of life and death.
Responding to a great need for higher learning, higher skills, coupled together with a personal desire to help hurting patients further, I chose to move forward when such an opportunity arose to move from having Basic Emergency certification to attaining higher Paramedic certification. This new level, along with already having volunteer Firefighter Certification under my belt, would help me to better ascertain possible injuries sustained, patient condition, risks involved, both normal and abnormal presentations, underlying physical conditions, and acquiring a more in depth understanding of many delicate and intricate processes of the human body all necessary to be able to further assist individuals who find themselves in an emergency or urgent health crises.
The process started with many big books and lots of time studying and retaining many medical subjects, big words, special terms, and medical courses like Pathophysiology. The chapter on Pathophysiology always comes to my mind first because it was by far my favorite course. A person cannot begin to understand other medical information and natural body processes without first grasping the Science and natural processes behind it! This chapter was a detailed, or inside view, of the mechanics of the human body from a biological, cellular, fluid, and nutrient window. This course was for attaining a detailed understanding of the “how and why” of all processes and functions at the cellular level of the human body; including that which comes with good health and a balanced PH system, along with the opposing development of abnormalities, medical emergencies, illness, and injuries.
Learning complex cardiac functions of the heart and the elaborate electrical process involved in automatically bringing about each heart beat was a delicate undertaking with a great learning involving becoming intimately familiar with normal cardiac function, many abnormal rhythms, and necessary care of each individual situation one might find when caring for a patient.
The human heart is an intricate electrical system which functions naturally in a precise rhythm with accurate timing, unless or until, an abnormal health event or aging takes place disturbing this autonomic multifaceted inner body rhythm. There are many abnormal rhythms caused by multiple medical conditions such as improper balance of calcium, sodium, or potassium, aging, illness, blockage, early or late beats, vagal nerve stimulation, valve issues, medicine, injury, and physical abnormalities often present from birth, or from unknown reasons hard to pinpoint and determine. There is precise care for every diagnosed dysfunction. Therefore, it is important to ascertain through proper protocol which issue(s) are causing the abnormal effect on the heart because of rate, velocity, and strength of each contraction. This necessary information can be collected through patient presentation, base line vitals, patient history, and events recorded by medical instruments in order to properly address and treat the issues presented with proper patient care.
Cardiac knowledge is very useful and is put to use often by medical professionals, sometimes suddenly, the information must be readily available for quick recall anytime the need arises. In some situations, there is not time to “look it up,” or as a last resort to be irresponsible and “wing it” or hope for the best. A human life always lies in the balance, with life or death readily at hand and time of the essence in proper patient treatment and care.
The study of the human head and brain was almost as amazing for me as learning the mechanics and function of the human heart. The skeletal portions of the head and the inner cavities, venous and nerve support system, work together and with the brain and are complex and detailed. Both a diffuse or focal injury to the head can affect breathing; including tidal volume of air and rate of breathing, motor skills, memory, conscious, bring blood out the ears, blacken the eyes like a raccoon, allow collection of intracranial fluid around the brain causing great pressure in the cavity, or a focal injury such as a coup countercoup as the brain in a blow of some sort is ferociously rocked from one side of the head cavity to the other and back; causing severe bruising, bleeding and edema with severe pressure to quickly develop. Injuries to the head can cause a violent demeanor in a normally passive and pleasant individual. Brain injuries, injury to the brain stem, or skeletal injury to C 3-5 can cause a coma, vegetative state, paralysis, and instant death.
Rounding out medical knowledge includes studying The skeletal system, (including the names and location of over two hundred bones), the Nervous system, the Endocrine System, the skin, both hollow and full organs including their precise location and function in the “grid or abdominal quarters” of the human body, including knowing proper position and purpose, and other emergency skills and treatment is vital. Proper patient care, always with the purpose of sustaining and prolong the life of the individual(s) until they can reach greater in-depth professional medical care by physicians, responding medical personnel must have a well-rounded, or wide range, of knowledge as required in successfully becoming a licensed or certified medical person in any given field.
There is absolutely no way around it, any medical professional or Science major who studies the human body in depth must be brought to the point of acknowledgement of the existence of God, or of opposing the existence of God by choosing to have ignorant bliss; Yes, there is proof of God who intricately created each facet and function of our human body. It is simply not possible human bodies were formed by a “big bang theory”, or that they have evolved from apes over a long period of time, or explained any other way other than it took the loving hand of God to form them so perfectly and with such precise and delicate functionality. Think about the time and detail involved in just the mechanization of the heart, or the vast amount of blood vessels; both arterial and venous, that it takes to flow through the heart, lungs, and both super and inferior vena cava to supply our bodies with proper oxygenation and blood supply to promote and preserve life on this earth.
It is no coincidence that the human body was created by God with seven major body systems including:
The Digestive System, The Respiratory System,The Excretory System,The Circulatory System,The Nervous System,The Skeletal System, and The Muscle System.
The number seven is a reference to divine completeness in the Bible. God miraculously created the perfect human body. He designed it flawlessly and precisely to sustain life. He made our bodies and each system to coincide with fluent precision by working together as a whole unit, as well as functioning on an individual basis, in both normal and distressing situations to preserve life.
Many processes and systems of the body attempt to be “self-preserving” in sudden onset emergency situations, such as the shunting of blood in the extremities of the arms and legs. The normal flow of blood is cut off to the hands and feet in times of great loss of blood, extreme cold temperatures, and types of shock as the possibility of death rears its head and threatens to end the life an individual. The physical position of the person, along with their blood pressure and fluid levels, must be managed properly and in a timely manner to offset loss of blood and make up for possible diminished organ function in an emergency. Often blood loss cannot be seen outwardly but must be accounted for through diminished baseline vital signs and failing presentation by the patient.
Television often likes to create drama by showcasing a great loss of blood with an injury, which can happen, but bleeding happens more often inside the body, but that fact is not so dramatic for viewers, because they can’t see great blood loss happening inside the body. Loss of blood, whether it be inside or outside, necessitates critical care by those who are adept at reading the various signs and symptoms the patient condition presents which indicate there is either marginal or major blood loss and for medical professionals to react accordingly to prolong life and limb from damage incurred due to a ruptured organ, aneurysm, or other cause of bleeding in the venous, arterial system, and capillary system responsible and necessary for moving vital blood, cells, platelets, oxygen, and fluids throughout the body to sustain life.
Injury or illness involving the nervous system and Skeletal System presents itself through pain, edema, mobility, or lack thereof with paralyzed limbs, nerves, or muscles, abnormal mechanical process of the body, and through presentation of vital signs and function or motion, pulse, and strength in vital areas. Whether it be a medical situation as a stroke or aneurysm, or an injury to the spinal column, or weakness on one side of the body, there are accompanying outward signs or events likely showing themselves on the opposite side of the body along with other symptoms and patient vitals presented which help point to proper treatment of the individual in this kind of emergency situation. Yes, God created our bodies to “speak” in times of health and distress, injury, or illness to allow those who are involved in medical care to better pinpoint what is happening both from within and without the human body.
Take a large quantity of notes I did, study for hours I did, practice diligently I did, rehearse potential situations I did, practice, practice, and more practice of vital skills, I did. Intern in a hospital environment, and in two full time firehouses, gaining valuable experience in real life hands on situations. I dove into a pile of required manuals and books diligently requiring many hours of study as the cold Winter weather settled upon us. The arrival of Winter helped me find even more time for study as the Winter blasts of snow arrived to blanket the area in a pristine white covering so beautiful for the eyes to behold. However, having enough study time does not necessarily meld together with continued good heath, family responsibilities, and family oriented time together, and it was often a squeeze to make it all happen. Sometimes I was successful at melding it all together but sometimes was not.
The arrival of Spring brought forth new blossoms, and my allergies let loose with a plethora of symptoms; including congestion, coughing, sneezing, runny nose and sometimes (because I smoked at the time) it also rather quickly turned into pneumonia. Yes, pneumonia in the Spring it was to be. I ended up in the emergency room and was later admitted to the hospital. I was kept in the hospital for a few days with this quick onset of pneumonia because I was physically and emotionally spent, struggling to breath and move oxygen throughout my lungs as efficiently as I could in normal health.
It was no coincidence this was all taking place as the final exams were about to begin and yes I did take my books and notes to the hospital to study. Upon being released from the hospital early the following morning I did take my final written test with well over two hundred questions for the didactic portion of Paramedic School and I passed it! However, I did not pass the all the skills portion of my school exam which followed.
This brought me to several important questions I had to face. Because I passed the didactic portion of my class, while having missed classes I could have another opportunity for a skills test, or show up expecting to be allowed to take the state test, choosing to take another grueling nine months of Paramedic School, or resigning to “I have had enough” status and choosing to walk away without any desire to finish this course for certification. It might seem as if the answer was easy and that I should press on because I was so close to the finish line.
However, that was not the best answer for me. I was pressed to give it up, and not to come back for nine grueling months more for an opportunity to pass on a second wind of opportunity. I chose to give it all up as I did not have the support necessary both at home and in school to press forward now, or nine months down the road. I can now look back at this time in my life and be thankful for the strides I made in nine months, sad for the areas in which I failed, and think of opportunities lost because I did not press on, but the only thing I can clearly see is how God worked in all these situations, how he used people and places, and medical knowledge to prod me into being where He wanted me to be. How some people were unrealistic in their expectations, and others served to oppress and weaken my resolve to press onward to achieve certification at the end of the long nine months.
In the end, God used the situation to give me a vast amount of useful medical knowledge and skills that I could not practically use as only a Basic certified EMT and Volunteer Firefighter, but found to be quite useful in other situations involving family members who faced medical illness and emergencies throughout the years since. Even yet today most of this medical knowledge remains fresh and available in my mind, as if I attended class just yesterday. It occupies in the recesses of my mind and waits there patiently to be put to use as God sees fit. So, even if I did not pass the final skills testing to become a paramedic, or took necessary classes over again, I have used this knowledge even after I simply hose to give the opportunity up.
However, there is a final test in life that I will definitely pass with flying colors. It is a test yet to be held at some unknown time in the future at the moment of my death. The instructor is God and preparation of my heart is found while sojourning on this earth. The test is a test about God and His ultimate power of life and death. I began this test by standing with God in faith, through the work of His Son Jesus Christ, while attending church camp as a young girl. I was scripturally baptized and at some later point in my teenage years, walked away from close fellowship with God just like the biblical account of the Prodigal Son. This created a gap of both time and distance in my fellowship with God.
I had chosen to place working on this important life and death spiritual test on the back burner in my life, to make more room for me, myself, and I to live, time for my family, time for sports, time for everything else but for having time for the things of God.
God used familiarity with life and death in emergency settings to refocus my attention upon Him rather than circumstances going on in my life, or in the lives of others about me. I knew all about the physical aspect of succumbing to death, but was lacking beyond basic knowledge in the spiritual aspect. I was still drinking spiritual milk rather than feasting upon spiritual meat and God pushed and prodded me to get busy for Him! To be busy about the things which really matter in life and death.
What about you, will you be able to attend the “Heavenly Awards Ceremony,” receiving crowns earned by passing the spiritual test all mankind will face at the end of life?
The Bible tells us that being absent from our body at the onset of death brings us into the presence of the Lord.
The Bible says:
God says that the child of God can be sure and totally confidant that he will pass the final test of life at the moment of his physical death entering into certain victory forever in the eternal realm!
Passing the test of life does not come because we are good people, have achieved earthly awards, or because we do good things, because of being baptized, sprinkled, or dedicated to God, through family traditions, church membership, attending church, saying a prayer, obeying the rules, being religious, tithing, serving in the church, helping others, or through personal sacrifice.
Maybe you have passed some difficult tests in life. Maybe you have achieved success according to the parameters of this world. Maybe you were successful in earning a college degree or have become successful in business. Do you understand all those things mean absolutely nothing in light of eternity?
Passing the test of life only comes through placing our faith in the shed blood of Jesus Christ who made a way for all mankind, through the forgiveness of sin, to be in perfect fellowship with Him on this earth and for all eternity.
What about you are you? Are you holding things you have achieved in this world, grasping them tightly while turning away from achieving anything of a spiritual nature? Spiritual success can only come through the presence of the Holy Spirit of God working in your heart and life?