Saturday, January 31, 2009

I don't quite understand

I was pretty sure that I got a crap mark on my first Ventilators test. Somehow I pulled off an 83% on that one. I don't quite understand how that happened.

Shined my shoes

I had to shine my dress shoes this morning. It kind of pissed me off. It reminded me of getting ready to go to my old IT job.

I'm going to an RT conference today, so I have a really good excuse for not studying. Unfortunately, I had to shine my shoes. We're expected to dress business casual...

Friday, January 30, 2009

1.5 hours

I was helping a faculty member move some equipment from a lab to a class and we chatted about a few things. He mentioned that when he was in RT School, he only studied for about 1.5 hours a night. That comment actually pissed me off. I decided that he was either lying or freakishly smart. I do recall that he once mentioned something about having a photographic memory. Today he mentioned something about almost going back to school and getting a Doctorate. Everyone keeps on mentioning how smart he is. Maybe he is freakishly smart.

It's not fair! I wish I only had to study for 1.5hrs a day.

Skipping class

I had to miss a Pathophysiology class last week. Trying to actually learn the material from a missed class takes way to much effort. Going to a class is so much easier. I don't understand why some people miss so many classes. If you go to class, you learn more and have to study less. Why do people skip classes when they don't have to. I don't get it.

Someone gave me an audio recording of the missed lecture, which is a big help but not as good as actually being there. Going to class and listening to the lecture would have been so much easier.

It's the Professor's fault

Most people, including myself, think that they did poorly on the first Ventilators test. I didn't do very well because I didn't study smart and started studying too late. According too a bunch of fellow students, they did poorly on the test and it's the Professors fault.

I guess I'm lucky. I can improve how I study and do better. If I did poorly because it was the Professor's fault, I don't know what I would do. Maybe I would try incessant whining. Maybe that would help.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

No more disruptions

I had a Ventilators class today. Another class without any disruptions. I could get used to that. I think everyone actually showed up today. There was a test at the beginning of class. The people who are usually disruptive didn't say a word while the professor was lecturing. The guy who told me to fuck off on Monday was sitting in the back, all by himself, with nobody to talk to. I took a look at him, before the class started, and he looked a bit more stressed than he usually does before he writes a test.

The test didn't really have any surprises on it. Unfortunately, I was expected to regurgitate a bunch of "critical numbers" and that didn't go so well. That test wasn't worth much, so it's really no big deal as far as marks are concerned. I also now know what to expect from the Professor, who's teaching the Ventilators course. I really should have focused my study efforts on the review materials he provided us with, before the test. The review materials he provided are really good. Unfortunately, I only really focused on the review materials after I studied all of my other notes. Next time, I'm going to start by studying his review materials first.

Why did I get up at 3:30AM?

  1. I hate myself.
  2. Sleeping less makes me happy.
  3. Is there a better time to study for a Ventilator test?

Wednesday, January 28, 2009


I was in my Pathophysiology class today and noticed something odd. When the professor was talking, she was the only one talking. The guy who told me to fuck off on Monday didn't show up for class today and as a result wasn't disrupting the class. I was most pleased.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Disruptive students (update)

The disruptive students, that I mentioned in a previous post, had to go to a meeting today. A member of faculty, and the Program Coordinator for my program, will be talking to them about the situation.

I will wait and see. If those idiots don't cut the crap, I'm going to start lobbying for their removal from the program.

A good morning

I have a test at 12PM, for my Patient Evaluation course. I still need to do a lot of studying for that test. It's now 6AM. I have a History class at 8AM. I just logged in to the College's computer system and found out that my History class for today has been cancelled! I didn't think that a class cancellation could make me so happy. It's a good morning. More time to study!

Monday, January 26, 2009

Too angry to study

Boy, am I ever pissed off. I just sent this to one of my professors:

The disruptive behavior in today's Patient Care Procedures class, was fairly intolerable. People in the back row, just wouldn't stop talking while your lecture was in progress. As your lecture proceeded the volume of the disruptive conversation(s) grew louder and louder. I’m sure you noticed.

When the people in the back of the room started talking louder than you, while you were lecturing, I decided to turn around and ask people to stop talking. When I turned around, before I could even open my mouth, I was promptly told by Ahole to "Fuck off". The last time I said something about talking in class, to the very same people talking during today's lecture, Ahole told me that I should move to the other side of the classroom. Today’s unsuccessful attempt at reasoning with people, left me rather perturbed and contemplating a possible course of action that would most likely be frowned upon by the College. As a student, I don't really have any acceptable ways of stopping people from behaving in a disruptive, disrespectful and belligerent manner while in class. All I can do is encourage, and support, others in their attempts at doing something about the aforementioned unacceptable behavior.

I know that in the past, you have tried to tactfully and diplomatically address disruptive behavior in your classes. I do understand, and appreciate, the value of dealing with these types of situations tactfully and diplomatically. Often times a friendly reminder, of what constitutes acceptable classroom behavior, is all that is required. Unfortunately, at this point I think that a "friendly reminder" may not be enough. Reminding people of acceptable classroom behavior seems to be of limited value, when addressed to certain individuals.

I gave up a fairly successful career, so that I could go back to school and become a Respiratory Therapist. I am not at all inclined to tolerate anything, which makes it more difficult for me to pursue my academic and career aspirations.

RT Scribe

The secret of my success?

Last semester worked out quite well for me. I was mostly driven by fear and anxiety. Those two things are strangely lacking this semester. I'm writing a test today and I'm feeling pretty ho hum about it. Last semester I would have worked myself into a studying frenzy.

I sure hope that the fear and anxiety, that kept me going last semester, wasn't the secret of my success.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Talking to patients

When I did my job shadow last semester. I watched a Student RT suction the airway of a vent patient. The patient was a drug overdose and was completely out. He didn't react at all, when his airway was suctioned. Before, during and after the suctioning, she talked to the patient and explained everything that was going on. Watching her do that, left me wondering about when I should and shouldn't talk to patients.

Recently we've been learning some actual patient care procedures and the topic of talking, and explaining things to patients, has come up. We're being taught that you should always talk to your patients and explain things to them. You never know when they might be listening. Sometimes they're listening, even when you're sure they can't be.

Smoker discomfort

My class is divided into two groups for labs. My lab group has 12 people in it. A couple people in my lab group are smokers. They always seem kind of uncomfortable when smoking is a topic of discussion.

The RT who teaches us, in Patient Evaluation lab, is currently working in home care. She was telling us how sad it is to see people who quit smoking, quite a while ago, and are now suffering the health consequences of their smoking. They quit, like they were supposed to, but still had to pay the price several years later.


The attrition rate is 41% for my program. Only 59% of the students who started the program, in September 2006, actually graduated from the program.

All of the graduates wrote their registry exams at the beginning of this month. I hope that they all did well, on their exams, and will get to put RRT after their names in the next little while.

First 3 tests of semester 2

I have to write 3 tests next week. I have to write for Patient Evaluation, Patient Care Procedures and Ventilators I. I'll have to write a Pathophysiology test, the following week. I've taken courses with the Professors, that teach Patient Evaluation and Patient Care procedures, so I sort of know what to expect from them as far as their tests are concerned. The Ventilators test is going to be a bit of a mystery, until I actually sit down and write it.

Next week is the 4th week of the second semester and everything seems to be going well.

Saturday, January 24, 2009


The lab instructor told us, that if we finished early, he would show us how to do an Endotracheal Intubation and let us try. I think we're supposed to learn how to do Intubations next year. I learned how to do it yesterday and did one on a manequin. Three other people did it too. Everybody else left early!

Thursday, January 22, 2009

A kid in bed

I was lying in bed with my head underneath the covers. I was as comfortable as a kid could be, in his bed. Then I started to hiccup. It was loud and it was scary and I couldn't stop it. My whole body was convulsing and the hiccups were loud. I was sure that everyone could hear me. Then I stopped breathing.

I could feel a liquid oozing out of my mouth and was wondering if some of that wasn't drool but something much worse, like blood. I still couldn't breath. I was just a kid. I knew that I was making a lot of noise and someone was going to come and help me. I wanted to knock some things off of my night stand, to make some more noise, but couldn't move.

To my great relief, I heard people running towards my room. Then they were in my room. I could sense people standing around my bed. Soon the covers would be lifted and they would help me. They didn't help me. They just stood there, waiting. Then I really started to panic. I tried to scream. I couldn't breath. I couldn't move. Then I woke up.

You know you're a Student RT when: You have nightmares about not being able to breath.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

What can a Respiratory Therapist do?

I'm going to school, so that I can learn how to do 4 things. Can't I watch a video, or something, instead of going to school for 3 years?

According to the Respiratory Therapy Act of Ontario, a Respiratory Therapist can:
  1. Perform a prescribed procedure below the dermis.
  2. Intubate beyond the point in the nasal passages where they normally narrow or beyond the larynx.
  3. Suction beyond the point in the nasal passages where they normally narrow or beyond the larynx.
  4. Administer a substance by injection or inhalation.

What is a Respiratory Therapist?

What is a Respiratory Therapist? That's a question I've always had trouble answering. I've always tried to provide a simple and accurate answer to that question. I've always found that my attempts to answer that question, were quite lacking. Thanks to my Professional Responsibilities course, I now have a one sentence answer to that question.

"A Respiratory Therapist assesses and treats cardio-respiratory and associated disorders to maintain or restore breathing."

The above is just my rewording of the scope of practice definition found in Ontario's Respiratory Therapy Act, which states the following:

"The practice of respiratory therapy is the providing of oxygen therapy, cardio-respiratory equipment monitoring and the assessment and treatment of cardio-respiratory and associated disorders to maintain or restore ventilation."

Saturday, January 17, 2009


I now have painful bruising, on both arms, where I'm supposed to be able to palpate my brachial pulse. The more I practiced trying to find my brachial pulse, the harder it seemed to get and the harder I tried. Maybe all that trying, caused some swelling that made finding my brachial pulse harder. Maybe it really was getting harder and harder to find my brachial pulse. My lab instructor couldn't palpate my brachial pulse either.

I now wish that I would have picked up a blood pressure cuff, from the school Book Store, yesterday. The Book Store is closed today. People in lab were saying that if you used a cuff, and pumped it up a bit, it was easier to palpate the brachial pulse. I'll probably end up in a Pharmacy today, buying a cheap watch, and buy a cuff when I'm there.

Friday, January 16, 2009

Breath Damn it!

Today we had our first labs of the semester. In the Patient Care Procedures lab, we learned some more about suctioning and acquired some experience assembling and using the suctioning equipment. We had a contest to see who could put together, and set up, suctioning equipment the fastest. I won. I was able to do it in 32 seconds. I guess that taking apart all the equipment, and putting it back together, several times during the lab was worth doing.

In the Patient Evaluation lab, we learned how to take vital signs. Finding brachial pulses, in the upper arm, is freaking hard! I also had trouble measuring respiration rate, which is supposed to be easy. I actually started yelling at my partner to "Breath Damn it" because I couldn't even see her breathing. I almost tried to take a blood pressure. We played around with pulse oximeters and did things to make them give erroneous pulse and SpO2 values.

Last semester we all took to heart the fact that we shouldn't wear watches for infection control reasons. It's kind of hard to take a pulse, or determine someone's respiration rate, without a watch. Our Patient Evaluation lab instructor was kind of perturbed by the fact that only two people showed up wearing a watch. I mentioned the infection control thing to her and she was kind of amused by our collective stupidity. I guess the whole "you shouldn't wear a watch" thing is a bunch of bull....

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Class cancelled (I could have slept in)

My first class should have been at 8AM today. That class has been cancelled. Now my first class of the day is at 12PM. I could have slept in! Today's 8AM class was cancelled yesterday. I didn't notice the cancellation notice when I logged into the school system last night. Fortunately, I brought a bunch of stuff that I can study.

This is for my Canadian History course:

Monday, January 12, 2009

Important dates

I like to keep track of important dates related to school. The dates include test dates and the dates that assignments are due. I put all of those dates on one piece of paper, so that I don't have to worry about forgetting anything. As dates come and go, they're removed from the list. As new dates appear, they get put on the list.

I just finished my date list, for this semester. The list has over 80 dates on it. That list is starting to stress me out.

I'm trying to figure out what date to put down for "Full Blown Anxiety Attack". I need to find a date that doesn't conflict with anything else...

Sunday, January 11, 2009

The difference between reading and studying

Reading takes minutes.

Studying takes hours.

I honestly think that some of my classmates are completely oblivious to the above. I sure do wish that studying only took minutes. Wishful thinking does not a reality make...

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Who needs a Family Doctor?

I still have a family doctor in the Big City. Unfortunately, I now live and go to school in the Little City and there's a shortage of family doctors. Every once in a while, I check to see if any physicians in the Little City are accepting patients. They never are.

The Little City has a couple of Urgent Care Clinics, that are supposed to take the load off of the Little City Emergency Departments. They were originally intended for urgent problems that didn't quite fall into the Emergency category. Now they're used by people who don't have and can't get a family doctor. I've been dreading the day that I would finally have to see a doctor in the Little City. Lots of people in the Little City don't have Family Doctors, so I naturally assumed that going to an Urgent Care Clinic would involve a lot of waiting around with a bunch of sick people coughing all over me.

I had to get the 3rd, and final dose, of a Hepatitis B vaccine yesterday so I went to one of the Urgent Care Clinics. I wasn't expecting it to be a pleasant experience. I was pleasantly surprised.
The clinic is in a building that also has a pharmacy, lab and XRay/Ultrasound place in it. As I walked into the front door of the building, I found myself in a waiting room that was shared by the clinic, a pharmacy, a lab and an Xray/Ultrasound place. Half of the chairs in the waiting room were empty. I was slightly encouraged. I walked into the pharmacy and gave them my prescription receipt for my vaccine. I was expecting a hassle because I was giving them a receipt from a pharmacy in the Big City. "No problem", said the pharmacist, "I'll just have to get the Big City pharmacy to fax something to me." I was wondering if I should register at the clinic, while I was waiting for my script to be filled, and was told that they're seeing people too fast for that to be a good idea. I was told to wait for the script and then register at the clinic. Getting the script only took about 20 minute.

After I got my script I was talking to a doctor in about 15 minutes. I talked with him about getting a blood titre for Hep. B antibodies. He gave me a slip for the required blood work and told me to go to the lab with it, in a couple of weeks. He asked me if it was OK for the injection to be done by the nurse and I of course said yes. The nurse grabbed me a few minutes later, gave me the injection and sent me on my way.

I really was impressed by the whole experience at that clinic, even though they charged me an extra $50 to get the injection done. FYI for non Canadians: Canadians general don't have to pay for medical stuff, because we have a government funded national health care system. That $50 fee might even have been "sort of" illegal.

Friday, January 09, 2009

Back to the books

It looks like the joyous times, of studying all weekend, are back again.

Without a doubt, Ventilators I is going to live up to its reputation of being a hard course. The Professor for that course warned us that if we fail a course this semester, It's going to be Ventilators I. I don't think that what's left of the "It's not fair" crowd is going to have a good semester.

Unlike most of you, I don't have a High school Diploma

"Unlike most of you, I don't have a High school Diploma."

That was the first thing out of my History professors mouth, when he started the first lecture of the semester. That seemed to get every one's attention. He also told us about the two University degrees he eventually acquired as a mature student and some of the fairly impressive things he's done. He then went on with a pretty interesting lecture about Canadian History. He used the word asshole quite a bit and that made me chuckle a few times.

I don't think I'm going to be learning the boring version of Canadian History this semester...

Monday, January 05, 2009

24 Survivors

Today was the first day of second semester.

37 students, including myself, started the RT Program in September. 24 students, including myself, made it into second semester. That's about a 35% attrition rate. That's about what I was expecting.

I was surprised by a couple people who didn't make it and shocked by a couple of people who did. I'm fairly certain that a few people, just barely squeaked into second semester.

Sunday, January 04, 2009

Back to school tomorrow

Tomorrow, I'll start second semester. I'm surprisingly indifferent about the prospect of starting classes again.

Thursday, January 01, 2009

Sometimes it doesn't pay to be nice

For several weeks, I've been trying to get something done about the constantly running water in the condo directly above mine. It's really loud, really annoying, pisses me off and it doesn't stop! Just before I left town for a week, to visit family over the holidays, the Superintendent told me that the owner of the condo would get someone in to fix the problem. When I got back home, on the 29th, the problem still wasn't fixed.

I've been civil. I've been patient. I've been polite. I've been diplomatic. I've been sleeping restlessly, while wearing earplugs, because the noise from he running water is so damn irritating.
Today I called the owner of the property management company, at home on New Years Day, and yelled at her for a few minutes. 2 hours later a plumber was in the unit and fixed the problem. WTF? Why did I have to be an asshole to get that taken care of?