On New Year’s Eve, they had me working with one of the bosses.
Most EMTs around here hate getting paired up with the supervisor/medics. But not me. I’m old enough to not be intimidated. Also, I see it as a chance to shine; a chance to show the powers that be that I’m actually worth more than minimum wage.
But I digress…
I took an extra shift New Year’s Eve and the medic I would have been riding with, banged out. So they had me riding with “Tommy,” the number two boss: A real gruff medic of thirty years, who made it clear he “didn’t want to spend the night in a fucking ambulance”.
Too bad: Ten minutes into our shift and we get a priority one job: Lights and sirens. No sweat for me. Driving—like I said in a previous post—is my favorite part of this job.
Since I’m in the driver’s seat, I grab the radio and tell dispatch we’re responding. Then I go to switch on the lights.
Every ambulance has a different arrangement of switches on the console, but generally its variations on a theme. This bus was different though. There was a main power button, and a lights on/off switch which was also hooked to a separate battery. I was kind of fumbling to get things going.
Finally, while flipping switches this way and that, I looked in my side mirror and saw that my lights were on. I put us in drive, hit the sirens and took off.
A few blocks down the road I stop at a stop sign and Tommy says something. Hard to hear over the siren. I assume he’s giving me directions. I clear the intersection and turn left.
“WHAT THE FUCK ARE YOU DOING?!” he shouts. I look over and his door is wide open to the street.
“Jesus, Fuck! I told you to fuckin’ stop!”
I stop the truck and he opens the door and climbs onto the running board to make sure the light-bar is going. (It is).
“You almost fucking killed me.”
“Sorry!” I say at least twice.
So that’s how our tour started. And lucky for me Tommy is a total pro. We finished the call without incident.
After we delivered our patient to the ER I knew I had to say something about what had happened.
“Sorry, I almost killed you.” I said, straight as can be.
I actually had him speechless for a second.
But only for a second: “You would’a been doing me a fucking favor”, he said.
After that they ran us all night without a break, and held us over an hour and a half to boot. I found out later, Tommy was over a week without a cigarette that New Year’s.
Guess, I won’t be asking for a raise anytime soon.