Sunday, April 09, 2006

What's a "Hazbulance?"

A couple of years ago I was assigned to a medic crew out of a station known for being a retirement station. I had just finished three years as the EMS Chief and was looking forward to only running a medic crew once a week. The new EMS Chief assigned me a driver. Ralph. Ralph had been the EMS Chief 5 years prior. My friends Chris and Matt began poking fun at me and calling my medic crew the "Has Been Ambulance" It stuck and I spent the year on Hazbulance 14. Now being the "old sage" of EMS I have made little effort to lose this term of endearment. Most of the folks that have been around a while know what it means and the new kids always ask. So, that's a Hazbulance! More blogs soon... Jon.

Sunday, January 15, 2006

False Advertising...

It's been about 10 years now but I still get teased about this. I had this pretty cool kid working for me that would listen to my war stories every morning after a night at the station. One day he asked if he could ever ride along. I set up a night where I knew we could ride the chase car and have some fun. Chris showed up and got the regular tour, signed the papers saying he would not sue us if we broke him, and got the lecture about Jon's rules. I digress: There are a few rules that I have established over the years. These are absolute and above contestation. Rule #1: If you even think you might have to pee, DO IT NOW! Rule #2: Always eat when you are hungry. Rule #3: Always Kick Ass and take names. Ok, so Chris is in the station and we are going over the gear and the this's and that's. I have staffed the chase car so we can be dispatched and of course we are. Box 02 whatever for the CPR. Second due call and about as far away as you can get. I'm thinking "well crap, first call he ever runs and it's a code". They are sending the first due engine, first due ambulance, the ALS chase car (me) and a medic unit from 3 or 4 dues away. The "Chase Car" is a circa 1989 Ford Bronco II. Fords' attempt at a baby SUV. These things turned way to sharp and went way to fast. I tell Chris to hop in the front seat and while tossing him a map book ask him to get me to the address. He looks at me like I'm crazy and I reiterate, "find the address and tell me how to get there." To his credit he did. We are headed down one of the main thoroughfares in town at about the speed limit. Traffic is heavy for some reason and they are doing their best to not get out of my way. About 2 minutes into the response dispatch puts out another call in the same area. They announce to the responding engine that there are "no medics available" and when they can free up a transport piece they will dispatch them. Karl, the engine officer, gets on the radio and ask's if I can handle the CPR on my own and free up the medic to do the other call? Sure, why not I tell him. Now all this time we have been responding through traffic. As I recall I approached one intersection and traffic had no room to yield. All lanes were stopped for the light. I made a quick assessment, turned to the left, over the median, up the wrong side of the street, through the intersection (yes, I stopped to ensure we were not endangering anybody), back to our side of the street and away we went, this time ahead of the traffic. Chris was reading the map and looked up to see us roll over the median. The look on his face was classic "We're going the wrong way on the wrong side of the road!" It was quite amusing. We are still going to the CPR when Karl radios that it is NOT CPR but seizures. Ok, I can handle that. We get there and do our Medic thing. Chris watched as I started a line, produced a vial of vitamin V (Valium) or "shakes be gone" and stop the seizure. "That's cool" was his comment. Pt became stable and we went for an uneventful ride to the hospital. When we were done we introduced Chris around the ER and then went to get dinner. While eating (of course) we get hit for the OD. Same drill, throw the map in his lap and drive! We get there to find A LOT of screaming. I immediately go into WTF mode. I find the engine I/O and give him the WTF look? He tells me that the Pt., female in her 30's, has taken something and become agitated. Her male friend called us because she was kicking his ass around the town house and he was afraid there might be something wrong with her. (Here's your sign!) I assumed this was not their normal relationship but who am I... So Jim and I, Chris and 4 other fire engine guys are standing in the hall just out of shooting range of the bathroom door. PD is standing in front of the door trying to talk her out. She utters the normal niceties about the collective parentage of the PD and tells them to F off. I can see Chris and Jim and I are watching to see how he reacts. We laugh and then so does everyone else. Cops included. Male friend tells us he's worried and wants us to do something. As if on cue, large cop puts shoe through door and we now have Pt. in sight. She is acting like she's on something and screaming (still). We ask him for like the 10th time what they were taking. He finally tells us it might have been LSD. GREAT, I say to myself. About now officer friendly gets tired of the screaming and approaches the lady/woman/patient. They have a brief screaming match which results in she getting thrown to the floor and the dog pile ensues. The 8 of us restrain her in a Reeves stretcher and carry her down stairs. We (the eight of us) get her into the unit and strap her and the Reeves to the cot. I ask officer friendly to accompany us to the ER. No shit, he declines. Tells me that he will follow behind us but that he cannot leave his cruiser in that neighborhood. So I look at Jim, tell him I want some bodies and oh by the way someone needs to drive the chase car to the hospital too. That takes all of the units out of service on this one call. Now wonder-women has started bucking again and six of us are holding her down but not hurting her. I call the hospital to let them know we’re coming and they tell me to get a line. Great! We fish out an arm, Chris holds it and I poke in an 18. For good measure I tape it with just about a whole roll to prevent pt. removal and tuck her arm back into the Reeves. The whole while she is screaming. I look at Chris and smile, "Having fun?" YEAH! is his obviously adrenaline induced response. She screams the whole way to the ER. We wheel her into the room and she screams more. The ER staff is not happy about this and decided the best way to address the screaming is to scream back. Meanwhile the six of us are holding her down. I think I finally made some comment under my breath about Pt. princess and she heard me. She turned all her venom right on me. I got called every name in the book. My parentage was again called into question as was I believe my choice of sexuality. Next she started on my wife and then my male organs. She was a real treasure. Dr. wonderful finally got tired of the screaming while we were fighting her and strapping her to the hospital bed. He poked a needle into my IV and night night... To this day I do not know what he gave her but she went out in like 3 seconds. I mean OUT. Again, I hear Chris say "cool!" We finish strapping her down. Do the paperwork and go back to get our food from before the call. We end up running 3 or 4 more calls that night. All from the chase car and all fun pumped up calls. Chris joined the department one month later... Now you know how it began. I’ve never run a night like that since. Thus the false advertising to Chris. Ten years later he’s one of my closest friends and a damn good medic.