I've been studying heart stuff all week. I'm completely paranoid that my medical history of heart surgery, aortic regurge, and diastolic murmur is going to freak out whoever does my county physical next week. So I started studying all this stuff obsessively to find out how bad it was. Understanding the heart anatomy and mechanics. Electrical functions and EKG interpretations. How do we set up the limb leads? The 12-lead?
The good news was obsession mildly reassured me that my heart is not going to explode (I think I knew this already..) and that I should be able to talk my way through the physical when they find these things.
But even better was seeing how this knowledge and studying pays off on a call. My last shift at the station we received a call that warranted an EKG as part of our vitals assessment. Set up the limb leads (white is not right, smoke over fire, clouds over grassy hill = left lower leg green lead, left arm white, right arm black, right leg red). This gave us an initial picture, which I was able to read as a depressed ST segment. This can be serious, potentially indicating ischemia to parts of the heart. We quickly set up the 12-lead, and fortunately found a pace maker that caused the EKG abnormality.
I'm thankful for the patient that this did not turn into a serious cardiac event. I'm still processing the feeling that I could remember and execute what I learned this week, and see how this knowledge is important in treating a patient. Quickly falling in love with this line of work.