Huginn and Muninn

Snorri Sturluson, writer of such Icelandic sagas as the Heimskringla and the Prose Edda, tells of Odin’s ravens named Huginn (“Thought”) and Muninn (“Memory”). The ravens would fly off each day, travel the world, and return to perch on Odin’s shoulders, giving Odin a heads-up as to what was going on. I’ve never heard what mechanism Santa Claus uses, but it’s the same principle as the “He knows when you’ve been sleeping, he knows when you’re awake…” thing.

The point being that these ravens worked as a team – without Thought, Memory wasn’t very useful, and vice versa. Ah, clever Snorri! Would that I had payed more attention to your simple teachings!

Behold – DTs receives an Email late Tuesday night: “You have been included in this upcoming test for NREMT-P, so do please show up on Friday at 07:00”.

Scheisse! I work a 24-hour shift on Thursday which ends at 06:00. I have Wednesday to study, whatever I can cram in Thursday between calls… that’s it. Doom and failure. All is lost.

But no, what downcast turns are these? “Have you not, DTs,” said I to myself, “been working lo these many weeks on your memory system? Is it then so feeble? Buck up, li’l Buckaroo, and turn that frown upside-down! Besides, look here: you are upgrading from I to P and have only to take a few of the many tests. This Can Be Done.”

Indeed. Now, lest anyone get the wrong idea, DTs is fully capable of performing each and every skill asked for by the National Registry. The test, though, is more like summoning a demon, where the faintest misstep = an instant and hideous death:

“An ye would Summone an Pediatric IO, Firste cleanse the flat anteromedial aspect of the tibia one finger’s width distal to the inferior border of the tibial tuberosity; spin thrice widdershins while calling out “Clear! Clear! Clear!”; sprinkle camphor using the index finger and thumb of the right hand held at eye level over the left shoulder… <900 steps omitted>… Thus is pediatric interosseous IV access gained.”

So. I have 24 hours, a memory system, a list of stations to take, “a full tank of gas, half a pack of cigarettes, it’s dark, and I’m wearing sunglasses.” Sweet.

DTs arrives to the test in high spirits. Not particularly useful but one of the side-effects of the locii system of memory is that it is possible for one to recite whatever was memorized backwards if desired. So, I can literally perform each of the skills both forwards and backwards. Piece of cake.

“DTs, Go Forth and Perform the Trauma Station.”

“So let it written; so let it be done!” I reply jauntily. Simplicity itself. As are the other stations. I had to gently remind some of the testing folk what to do at a couple of the stations (“At this point, the examiner says…” I prompt after a too-lengthy pause. Fun!) Muninn, baby, you perch right there on my shoulder, we be smokin’ hot…

“DTs, Go Forth and Perform the xxxx Station.”

Say what? That was not one of the stations I memorized.

“Excuse, please,” says Humble DTs. “I am upgrading from I to P and do not need to test that station.”

“Aha!” says the examiner. “You did not reckon with the mighty, awesome, wildly subjective power of the NREMT! The upgrade only applies if you got your I within the last 12 months. You, DTs, have been an I for longer than that and therefore must test for each and every station!”

“Son of a bit- Huginn! You set me up, man! You set me UP!” Caw, indeed.

And so, Patient Reader, DTs knows that he flubbed at least one station and must hear from the NREMT. The Saga Continues.

This is beginning to rival some of Snorri’s lengthier works. If it keeps up, I’ll end up trading in Huginn and Muninn for one of Poe’s birds. “Nevermore”, indeed.


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