The song lyrics say "Two different worlds we live in" and we were reminded of that fact recently. Two different worlds, the one that people live in southwestern Nebraska and the one that people live in southern California. I make no judgment which is better, I just know which I chose and am thankful for that choice.
William (not Bill or Will but William!) came to McCook to attend a course of study at McCook Community College to become a paramedic. Evidently the Accelerated Paramedic course of study put together by Cathy Dernovich has gained a nationwide reputation. William found that the course was available, that he was qualified and drove here to enroll. The concentrated course of study, about two months long, is followed by a national exam and then clinical "work along" experience is required and monitored by college personnel. Additional requirements include ambulance "ride along" and finally when qualified entry to the national register as a paramedic. William's goal in life is to become a Medical Doctor and he views the paramedic qualification as a step toward that ultimate goal.
From William and the flight-qualified paramedics of Lifeteam, I learned what differentiates an EMT, and an RN from a paramedic. The key is the ambulance. An ambulance carries a trauma victim from the scene of an accident to a hospital emergency room staffed by nurses acting at the direction of a doctor. Nurses are trained to work under the supervision of a doctor carrying out his/her orders. Normally there is no doctor on the ambulance so paramedics, aided by EMT's, are trained to do procedures to sustain life until the patient can get to the doctor's skills. Paramedics are trained and authorized at their own initiative to do intubations, start IVs and administer drugs, all procedures that nurses do only under doctor's orders. At least that is how this old farmer/pilot understands the hierarchy of care.
Nebraska, blessed with wide-open spaces and hence long ambulance rides, has a great need for paramedics to help sustain life until an emergency room can be reached. Educators like Cathy Dernovich have taken the initiative and developed academic courses to produce those trained individuals so needed for critical care. Perhaps little known to the public, Nebraska has gained a reputation for producing more paramedics than perhaps any other state in the nation. I personally hope that I'll never need their services but it is a great comfort to know that they will be there if the need arises!
I crossed paths with William when he appeared at Red Willow Aviation to rent an airplane to fly. Having only recently earned his private pilot license flying out of Van Nuys Airport in California, William was eager to explore the countryside by air. I discovered a nice 22-year-old young man with definitely a Type A personality. Go go go!
He thoroughly preflighted the airplane, very thoroughly. We cranked the engine to taxi and turned the radios on. Hmm, no traffic. Checked the wind and taxied to the departure runway. Hmm, no traffic, no control tower, just announce you intentions, look for other airplanes and roll. Hmm, no traffic. We climbed to altitude and did stalls, steep turns, slow flight, the normal checkout exercises and back to the airport to do a few landings. Hmm, no other traffic. It was a different world from the teeming busy air traffic in the L.A. area where he trained.
William also discovered that it was significantly less expensive to rent an airplane in Nebraska than California and immediately set his sights on earning commercial and instrument licenses. Ah the dreams of youth! Didn't happen, due to little spare time left over from his time intensive paramedic course study requirements. I also suspect that his funding source dried up when his mother calculated what his dream would ultimately cost. During his stay here, he did log a significant amount of instrument instruction, earned his tail-wheel endorsement and even logged some multiengine time. He loved flying in Nebraska, the openness of the country, the lack of restrictive air control and most of all the freedom to simply enjoy flight. We who live here are blessed!
Initially William lived in the dorm at the college. He had a compatible room mate until the other young gentleman withdrew from the course. Then William found the antics of the professional athletes who lived on the same floor too distracting from study. He then asked to come to my hangar for the peace, quiet and ambience of aviation where he could concentrate. Later he moved into our home while he did his clinical orientation at the hospital in North Platte. Those days were tough, as he had to drive to North Platte to arrive by 6 a.m. in time to assist in the operating room. At least the drive back to McCook happened in daylight. During his stint in the emergency room, though, he got off at 2 a.m. to drive back to McCook. One cold morning was when he discovered driving in snow; a completely new experience for a Southern Californian.
William, like most of the youth of today was more than adept in the computer world. One evening with us he pulled up Google Earth, typed in his home address and zoomed into a picture of his home in Toluca Lake. "See, that is my parent's house and right next door is the home of Miley Cyrus" or as she may be better known from Disney's Hanna Montana. He pleaded that he had never met the lady. Abutting their backyard fence was the estate and residence of Delores Hope, Bob's widow. William stated the she was a "very nice lady".
Well I don't reside beside the rich and famous as in William's world. About my only claim to fame is living down the street a couple of houses from Bob Molcyk, William's favorite teacher at the College.
William drives a really nice high-end German luxury sports car. He was extremely careful when he parked it, to keep it from damage by other autos. He faithfully washed and cleaned it each week to keep it spotless. Never did he get a foot away and it was locked. It is a trained fear that it would be stolen which is evidently normal in the Los Angeles area. Clean is good but I don't think that I like the constant fear of theft in William's world!
The chapter closed with William flying home last week. McCook had served him well in furthering his education in medicine and aviation. He learned a more laid back lifestyle from what he'd lived before. At the moment his beloved car awaits a professional limousine driver to fly in and drive it back to southern California. It is a different world!