In ambulancing, transport jobs are not as glamorous as the 911 stuff.
But they do have their moments (Like Christmas Eve, when we raced “Mr. Jones” two hours through the fog and rain to get him to the OR where a new liver was waiting).
But last night was not one of those nights. No, last night was one of those night.
First there was “Mrs. Crabtree”. A/O X 0 (That’s alert and oriented times zero).
Me: “Are you Mrs. Crabtree?”
Mrs. C: “No.”
Me (after checking name on hospital bracelet): “Are you sure?”
Mrs. C: “No.”
Me: “Are you ready to go then?”
Mrs. C: “NO!!!!!!”
I was convinced the only thing she could say was “no”. Until halfway through the transport she called me a bastard. Okay, patient is improving: A/O X 1.
Then we had “Mrs. What-is-her-last-name-again”? And that’s not me trying to protect her identity here on the internet. I really couldn’t keep her name in my head.
Something strange started happening in that 11th hour of our 10 hour shift. I don’t know if I was just over-tired—I have been on every day since Christmas with Mr. Jones—or if I was getting contact-dementia.
And things only got worse. We finally packaged Mrs. W. up and got her on our stretcher. But my partner and I couldn’t find our way out of the hospital. (It didn’t help that the elevator buttons had letters instead of numbers). You know that feeling of looking for your car in a mall parking lot, when you forgot where you parked? Now imagine that, but you’re pulling a stretcher behind you with Mrs. W. asking, “What happened to Benny? Is Benny okay?”
We finally found the door and loaded Mrs. W. onto the bus. On route, the GPS kept trying to send me the wrong way, down one-way roads: Three miles became six, and six became twelve.
“Where are we going?” I hear from the back. “Are we going to see, Benny?”
Lady, I have no idea where we’re going.
Finally, we found the facility. A steep, curving, unlit road lead to an ambulance entrance with an awning one foot shorter than our bus.
Am I loosing my mind? Who designed these places?
I backed us slowly, down the long, dark hill and found another door. We got buzzed in and entered a labyrinth. Every hall, looked the same. Every nursing station was the same. The only distinguishable feature was the guy in his underwear who sounded like Tom Waits, groaning.
We found our patient’s room and turned over care.
We made our way down the hall, past the Tom Waits guy and got a nurse to buzz us out.
Our shift was finally done. And we didn’t even get lost going back to base. But I swear I lost a piece of my mind last night.
Luckily, I’m off duty today. I just hope Benny is okay.