It was amazing to meet everyone at the EMS World Expo in Las Vegas Nevada last week. So a quick overview of the week.
Sunday: I flew into Vegas on Sunday night. I stayed with my grandparents that night. I got to their house, ate dinner, swam and then went to bed early.
Monday: On Monday morning I woke up early and was supposed to meet @ssgbroyles at his hotel. Unfortunately I was at the wrong hotel and after 15 minutes I figured it out. So on my first day alone in Vegas I also took my first cab ride ever! (I was soo glad that I had cash on me for that adventure). When I got to my hotel/ the conference center I still had 30 minutes until class started. I decided to see if I could check into my room early. Luckily for me the hotel clerk was able to get me into a room that very minute. A room that just so happened to be 10 feet from the elevator. In case y'all do not know i am directionally challenged in the urban environment. I literally threw my things on the bed and rushed to check in before my first class. Little did I know every one had waited until the last moment to check in and there was quite a line. As I was checking in there were many many people around me in camo. I happened to see a SSG with the name Broyles on his uniform. So I introduced myself to the infamous @SSGBroyles.
I was very nearly late for class due to the size of the line and the fact that I had no clue where my classroom was. However I made it and was offically checked in for my first conference class. I took Basic EKGs for EMTs because EKGs are the thing I struggle the most with and I know I need as much help and as much practice as I can possibly get. The class was great and was taught by 2 Paramedics. Much of what was taught on Monday was review for me however some of it was new to me and it was great to just see everything again and have time to start with the basics.
Monday night was the night I first started meeting all my internet friends in person. And like some other people I had the urge to just walk up to people and ask them if they were from the internet. That was the night on the way to the Bellagio me and @ssgbroyles got lost and walked 2-3 miles out of our way to get to where we needed to go. When we finally got there I met @SamBradley11 @MsParamedic @EMTHOTTIE28 @CowTownMedic @emtmom71 For the first time in person. These are people I had been talking to for quite awhile and in most cases reading their blog posts religiously and listening to their podcasts. These people were pretty much famous in my world. Then I had the privileged to meet @Grindermedic. We sat at the Bellagio for awhile shooting the breeze then we decided that we should go and eat. We had delicious food at a restaurant I cannot remember the name of and then it was back to the Hilton. I had decided to go to bed when I was informed that @PenguinEMT was in the lobby with her husband. I went in search of them, turns out I passed the two of them in the lobby 3 times before I finally looked at the people I was wit and asked what @PenginEMT looked like. @EMTHOTTIE28 turned around and said "Like that" as she pointed to the couple I had been seeing wandering for 10 minutes. I introduced myself and hung out for a little bit before I begged their leave and left with the satement "Some of us have to go to class in the morning". And then ended my first official night of the EMS World Expo at 0230.
Tuesday: On Tuesday morning I woke up at 0630 in order to eat breakfast and grab a shower before class at 0800. I met a few cool people in my class. A few airmen and a EMT-B named Nick from Nevada. We had a great time trying to beat the other teams in the class in a full class online EMS game. Our team lost on a technicality. We were released early from class because we elected to skip breaks to get the class time in faster. After I got out of class I was asked by the #notatexpo crowd to post pictures of the EMS conference. So I took a long walk from my room the the conference hall and back. I took pictures roughly every 100-200 feet and tagged them #notatexpo for all of those missing out for one reason or another. I tried to get intot he Expo hall but was informed that it was only open to exhibitors until the next day. At that point I went back to my room and grabbed my swimming suit and went swimming. I had a fun time just relaxing in the pool then I went back to my room and grabbed a quick nap.
10 minutes into my nap @EMTHOTTIE28 and @emtmom71 texted me and we headed to margaritaville for drinks before we went to the ZOLL Blogger Bash at The Hard Rock Cafe.Walking into That night was the blogger bash that was put on by Zoll. That night was the moment where I first truely learned about the second introduction. That was also the night where I had to decide whether or not I would be coming out to everyone in the room as FrecklesEMTP after my first introduction. So I just decided to go for it. I had been reading what these people had to say for over a year finally I would get to meet everyone in person. The first person I met was Charlotte. Charlotte is one of the Zoll representatives that was incharge of the whole shindig. The Zoll people rented out the entire 3rd floor of The Hard Rock Cafe for the night just for us. There were over 160 people there on that floor and I tried to meet as many people as I could in the time we were there. Most of it consisted of "Hi my name is ___" then they would respond "Hi, I am ____" And then you would get "I am __(insert twitter handle here)__" and the other peson would do the same. Then you would see the realization in their eyes like "Oh I know you from the internet". I was humbled that some of the people I have seen on the internet and follow religiously the people I look up to actually knew who I was. That night I managed to make it to bed by 130.
Wednesday On Wednesday morning I once again woke myself up early to get to class however today was the first day of the conference classes. First class was trouble shooting the vague complaint. The class was mostly example based with the entire class writing notes and diagnosing as we went. My event was the opening ceremony. Due to Irene we had a different guest speaker for the opening ceremony. I came in late due to a room change so I id not get to see or hear much of the speeches. After the opening ceremony I was able to walk around the exhibit hall for awhile. I met up with @epijunky and @TC_Lifesaver and a few other people and we hit the Zoll booth. We practiced CPR against a machine and learned about some of the cool new products and systems they have in place. I especially loved the free for everyone ability to transmit 12 leads to facilities.
That night I went to Ellis Island in Las Vegas with @theHappyMedic, @WmRandomWard, @Medicskb, @MsParamedic, @chicagomedic. The food was great the beer and root beer were made in house and the food was the least expensive I had all week. We then made our way to the something Haus and people were drinking beer by the liter as I was watching and laughing. @PenguinEMT and @epijunky met us there after they were finished seeing Phantom of the Opera live on stage. After that we moved to the Hard Rock hotel bar adn casino. Where @NJDiveMedic magically appeared. Hilarity ensued and at 0230 @SamBradley11 and I decided to take our respective groups of slightly intoxicated people back to their hotels. It took ssome conjoling and convincing but I managed to make it back home by 0315.
Thursday On Thursday morning it was hard to actually drag myself out of bed to grab a shower and shuffle to class in time. However I made it tomy first class with 5 minutes to spare. My first class of the day was Pediatric drowning and learning about prevention, the treatment of, and how to recognize one in progress it was a great class for all EMTs and anyone with small children. The next class was crush injury versus crush syndrome. This was one of the 4 classes I asked for the power point for as I really wanted to be able to share the information with other EMTs in my service and with my medical director. This class was very informative and taught at a very in depth but easy to understand way. My next class was in the same room and I had a great discussion of protocols across services while waiting for the class to start. My next class of the day was about the other causes of breathing difficulty besides asthma. The class was lead from case to case and we had to come up with a DD and TX and slowly had assessment finding filled in for us and had to amend TX and DD as we went. @TC_Lifesaver and I walked around the Exhibit hall for awhile and were asked how long we had been married. That elicited the comment from me of "No. He is old enough to be my dad." After that comment math was done and we discovered he happened to be exactly old enough to have fathered me but 5 years younger than my father. Then we headed to separate classes for the afternoon.
I went to Cardiac Mapping for STEMIs I just want to say this class alone would have been enough to justify me going to Las Vegas. I had an incredibly hard time learning how to read 12 leads while I was still in Paramedic school. Given enough time I can read any 12 lead with decent accuracy it was frustrating for me to have to work so hard to read 12 leads. And it was not getting any easier for me to read them as time went on. Scott Vivier was the man who changed all of this for me. At the beginning of the class he informed us that we would only be writing on our hands. I thought this seemed silly however this was the best way I have ever seen to lear where each lead is looking at on the heart. Walking out of that class I had random letters and numbers all over my hand however I could very quickly read 12 leads without hesitation. I was wiggling like a little puppy who had just been given a new toy leaving that class.
My next class was @AmboDriver's class for instructors.(Yeah I know I am not an instructor) But I love to teach so I will probably end up teaching eventually. I ended up telling @TC_Lifesaver all about my last class before class started. @AmboDriver presented great strategies for having your students want to learn and how to make sure they all get the most out of the class. There was a brief moment however where he forgot he was wearing a kilt for Kilted To Kick Cancer and put his foot on a chair. (What has been seen cannot be unseen) But besides that unfortunate accident the class was great.
That night was the Holly wood nights at Planet holly wood in Ceasar's Forumn. The people were great and once again there was a livefeed of tweet deck that we were all posting too about the night. The company was great. After most of the people had cleared there were mostly just internet people left. It was then that @theHappyMedic faced his fears in the form of the clown from poltergeist. There may or not be a video recap in his own words on the internet. That night we finally found our way out of Ceasars and home by 0230.
Friday Friday mornign was the morning I had the hardest time getting out of bed however I dragged my butt to class while eating a granola bar. My first class of the day was @AmboDriver's Lecture on the airway continum. His lecture was based on the Force Continuum Law enforcement uses. It was a great lecture and a helpful reminder that just because you can does not mean you have to. An open and secure airway and proper oxygenation of your pt is what you are trying to accomplish.
Then I went to the calss on the new AHA guidelines for peds and adults where we spent most of the time discussing arbitrary new changes, procedures, and products that most of us will never see in the field.
After that I tried my hardest to see every booth I had not yet seen in the expo hall. I got lots of cool presents and promises to have presents sent to me in order to show my boss and hopefully have him purchase some of the products I saw that would make the crews lives easier on a daily basis.
My last class for the day and the Expo was @theHappyMedic's presentation entitled "How a Blog Saved My Life" as someone who had been reading the blog almost from the very beginning and who has read every post I thought I knew most of the story but I was still very interested to hear what he had to say. This is the man who taught me that it is alright to state what you feel adn put it out into the ether that is the internet and as long as you do it appropriately and politely it does not matter if people agree or not because it is yours and for you. As he said "It is like yelling into an empty room" it is for you and no one else and it helps sometimes.
That Night we went to @scoolgirl101 and @leatherheadff 's weddign at La Bella chapel in the Hilton hotel. After that we all decided to spend our last night together in Vegas sitting in the bar in our hotel lobby at tables together and just talking and hanging out. At the end of the night when I decided I needed to turn in or I would never get up for my flight in the morning. There were many goodbye hugs adn promises to see each other soon but not as soon as any of us would like. I headed up to my room and packed my duffel bag and back pack to make it easier for me to leave at 0700 the next morning.
Saturday I met @PenguinEMT and her husband along with @cowtownmedic and we all shared a cab to the airport. And that is where I made my final goodbyes for the conference. I made my way to my check in counter to find out that my flight had already been delayed 2 hours. my only thougt was great. I made my way through security in a matter of minutes and sat down in the terminal to eat breakfast. I opened my computer to watch ome movies I had on my hard drive. After having my computer on for a few minutes I realized that McCarren had free wifi. Which made my day. I was able to check emails, play games, watch hulu, and Skype with family and friends while repacking my bag to make it work better for me. When my flight finally boarded I was exhausted and practically fell asleep before the plane even took off. I managed to sleep for an hour on the flight and then I watched Rio on the overhead tv screens. After that I realized that i would most likley not be making my return flight. once again Great. As we pulled up the gate we were de-planing at I realized I had 15 minutes to make my flight. I was very excited. I arived at my gate with 5 minutes to spare and was told that I could not get on the flight. WAIT WHAT. I calmly explained that I had a ticket with a assigned seat for the flight that was taxiing away from the gate as we spoke. I was informed that they had over booked the flight adn after they had boarded the plane and there was no one in my seat and I did not answer the over head pages my seat was given away. I was then informed that the next flight to MKE with open space was leaving at midnight (it was 1755). I was trying my hardest to not yell or steam at the ears, but I was fuming. I calmly informed the airline attendant that I was not late for my flight and my seat had been given away and that was in no way my fault as the flight by their same company had been delayed for 2 hours. And that I absolutely needed to be on the next flight out or I would have no way to get home. The attendant said she would "try". She then looked in the computer they all have adn informed me that there was an earlier flight out and that she could maybe get me on it. When I boarded that plane there were 10 people on it by the time we took off there were 12 people on a plane made for 45 people. I am glad she had to "try" so hard to get me on that flight and to have to act so put out by it. I know she has to deal with yelling and screaming people all day but to treat a customer badly just because it will take 30 more seconds of effort on your part in inappropriate.
Finally I was back in Milwaukee. @Squishy_Eng met me at the airport. We went out to a fancy dinner of McDonalds and then he took me home. I threw all my dirty clothes to the washing machine and laid down on my bed fully clothed. Squishy laid down next to me and cuddled with me until we both fell asleep. He gently woke me up told me to set my alarm for the next morning. He tucked me into bed and told me he would lock the door on his way out.
And Thus ended my First EMS conference. EMS World Expo 2011