Dramatis Persona

If you’ve ever read a play, you know that it usually begins with a cast of characters – sometimes called a dramatis persona. I’m going to introduce myself and some of the people in my life.

Nursing Programme Partner – NPP is my main partner on EMS. We run more shifts together than anyone else. On a call, we can hand each other a piece of equipment before the other asks for it. We know what line of questioning we’re going down. We can tell jokes with the exchange of a single glance. She’s also in the nursing programme at my school. She’s getting her BSN in hopes of one day working in HEMS.

Short Partner – SP is one of my favourite people. She’s short, blonde, and loves to laugh. We laugh together. Sometimes too much. Sometimes inappropriately. She also wants to be a flight nurse, but is self-admittedly not super academic. She’s planning on going to para school and bridging to an RN.

FireFighter Partner – FFP is a more recent addition to my cast of friends. He hales from a rural area where he was a volunteer with the fire brigade. He’s a great EMT, and having been on a variety of calls, always keeps a level head – unlike most of us here who will knock down a baby to get to a sprained ankle call three seconds faster. FFP and I will be flatmates next year.

EMT Flatmate – Thrown together by chance this year, EF and I will be rooming together next year along with FFP. EF is a funny guy. He’s currently dating SP, and holdes a crudge againt me for raping his arm with my second ever attempt at an IV start. Yeah, yeah… so what if it’s still bruised almost two weeks later… I got flash. I got the other two that night on my first stick…

Nerd Alert – I’m a theatre major, but I’m also an EMT. I’m planning on going to para school and bridging to an RN in hopes of getting into HEMS. Maybe. Or perhaps I’ll go to PA school. I don’t think I could handle being stuck in a hospital forever.

Why am I a theatre major you ask? Well, for the last eight years of my life I’ve been doing theatre professionally. I was good at it. So I pursued it in college and continued building my career. I’ve done sound for Apple, Intel, Oracle, Cisco, Google, Sun Microsystems, Phyzer, The Rolling Stones, Metallica, Green Day, Rage Against the Machine, and the San Francisco Opera and Symphony, just to name a few. I’ve turned down opportunities to go on national musical theatre tours, etc. I’m good at what I do.

I’ve also seen lots of people get pretty seriously hurt in professional theatre. I took my EMT-Basic class because I wanted to be better prepared for when things happened.

Unfortunately, I liked it.

I discovered this when I was a handful of classes short of finishing my theatre degree. Having transferred between a couple colleges, I’m already taking 6 years (and >170 semester credits) to finish my undergrad. So no change of major for me. I am, however, taking chemistry, anatomy, physiology, etc., so I can continue my medical ambitions. If I choose to.

My pseudonym (Nerd Alert) is an official nickname from my EMT-Intermediate class. I’m a theatre major, but I’ve audited both anatomy and physiology. Why? I like knowing what I’m doing for my patients and why it works. The problem with that? When people ask why this drug works for this, or why something is done this way, I answer it – sometimes when even the instructor can’t. Example:

Student: So why can’t you give glucagon twice?

Instructor: Because it uses up all the sugar stores.

Student: From where? The blood sugar is already low.

Instructor: I don’t know, it just uses them up and you can’t give it again.

Nerd Alert: Glucagon is a hormone that stimulates glycogenolysis – breaking down glycogen stores in the liver to be released in the blood stream. Once you’ve used up the glycogen stores by giving glucagon, obviously you can’t do it again.

Instructor (in a playground sing-song): Nerd Alert! Nerd Alert! Nerd Alert!

I’m almost proud of that. Almost.

Mat Goebel
Resident Physician

My research interests include EMS, EKG, STEMI, cybersecurity, and NLP.