Today at work I got to take a "ride" with a sick patient to the hospital downtown. You see, our hospital is a little too small for a helipad so patients that might normally need life-flighted are taken by ambulance to our sister hospital downtown (about 20 minutes away).
Anyways, my phone rang early in the shift and I was told, "I have a patient being transported at noon and you have to go with him because he is intubated and on dopamine and levophed drips."
"Ok." NOT ok. The first thoughts flooding through my brain were, WHAT THE CRAP? What am I supposed to do with this guy? Have they never heard the saying "Levophed or leave 'em dead?" Patients on this medication are rarely well enough to be compatible with life, let alone a 20 minute ambulance ride bobbing and weaving in and out of traffic up I-75.
All this aside, I got to go help the squad load him up and zoom him downtown. It was actually a great trip and all the possibility of high drama aside, I really enjoyed the experience. Being out of the hospital in the fall air does a body good. As I anchored myself in the back of the ambulance at the head of the patient (so I could monitor his ventilator and blood pressure), I took in all of the sights and sounds--the sirens at full-blare, the way the portable vent sounds like a squeak-duck when it goes off every few seconds, the awesome sight of cars parked on the side of the freeway as they pulled over to let us speed pass. It was all great and I didn't even lose my balance and fall on my butt as I stood up and grabbed the silver bar anchored to the ceiling to perform a well-choreographed seat transfer with the paramedic in order to adjust the medications and IV pumps. It was exhilarating and I couldn't help but think that I am in the wrong line of work! And being the adventurous, life-saving beast that I am---I got totally car-sick in the back. *sigh* I guess you can't win 'em all.
The rest of the ride was spent swapping war-stories with Robert the paramedic I was working with. We had bonded early as we were making banter on our walk through the hospital. I took him by surprise with a few witty remarks and he exclaimed, "You're a smart-ass! I LOVE it!" And suddenly it was as if we were old friends.
We managed to get the patient to his destination rather uneventfully (the unfortunate and unexpected drama didn't come until later but that's a whole other blog). I got to hang out in the EMS room where the paramedics go to fill out their reports before hitting the road again. It was GREAT! It's full of cookies, chips, pop--any fattening and not-good-for-you thing you could want. I was really good though and only had a chocolate chip cookie while watching FOX news. After some political conversation we hit the road again. The ride was just as good and the view was even better because I got to ride in the front seat this time (I don't think they wanted me rolphing all over the back of their rig with my queasy stomach and all). I think maybe my feet are meant to be firmly planted on the hospital linoleum but it sure is nice to take a field trip every once in a while.