I've now spent almost fifteen hours at the stupid ambulance place waiting for 'good' calls. Three nights sitting around the depot with only one minor call each.
I figured for sure someone would get hurt on a Halloween that falls on a Friday, so I elected to go ride-along after we got back from trick or treating. Trick or treating was fun; I went with a ghost, a puppy, and a witch. I carried newspaper and a trowel for the puppy. We went to the shopping mall up yonder where we've gone for the last two years, this being the third. Hey, it's a rural area. If you were doing houses rather than shopping centers, you could walk all night and end up with three pieces of candy.
The only action this evening at the ambulance squad was a quick jaunt to look at a girl that got punched out at a party. She was fine, fine, fine, but her mom had taken her to the police station and they called us. According to the scanner, the state police were having a busy night (including a 100 mph hot pursuit right past our house), but no trauma in our call area.
It's not that I'm a complete sicko, but I don't want the first stressful scene I'm on to be one that I'm running. My own squad has set me up with a radio, 911 maps, and half an ambulance full of supplies (oxygen, anyone?) and they expect me to go on calls now as a first responder. Thankfully the town only has about 2500 people in it, so how many can get sick or hurt, right? It's scary to think that I'm the third most experienced EMT on the squad (there are only three, including me) and the vast majority of my experience to date has been putting bandaids on people at marathons and fairs.
I'm really sort of terrified at being on the pointy end of prehospital care on some messy trauma incident, especially by myself. Critical medical emergencies I think I can deal with, even now, but the thought of having to provide care to people with rips and smashed parts is weird. You have to look at that stuff to assess it, right?
Kind of the nice thing about street medicine (as opposed to wilderness medicine) is that you package the parts where you find them. In the backcountry, you have to 'reduce' fractures and dislocations in order to restore circulation. In the street, they expect that you will get the patient to the hospital quickly enough that the patient won't lose those parts if you don't reduce injuries immediately; they don't have you do that sort of thing, which is just fine with me.
I have gotten to see a lot of TV. Tonight alone, I saw an episode of Seinfeld, one of Friends, 'Small Soldiers', and part of 'Pulp Fiction'. More passive entertainment than I've had in months, all at one go.
Driving home, I noticed that every mailbox on the right hand side of our road had been destroyed. For some reason, though, they didn't do ours, although they are on the right (if you are coming from that direction). That's good news, unless the cops decide that our unharmed mailboxes mean that we had something to do with the broken ones.
The guy that owns the ambulance squad (it's a private enterprise) was a state trooper for many years. He really made my day this evening (?) when he referred to the state to the south of us, the land of bad drivers and idiot tourists, as 'My-ass-achussetts'. Consider my vocabulary changed.