I finally got to ride in our sweet new ambulance Tuesday night. After countless bone jarring ambulance transfers in a 4WD vehicle that would have eventually resulted in breasts I could kneel on, we got a 2WD that offered a smooth ride and steps you can negotiate with a wide butt and short legs without looking like you just fell off a Mardi Gras float. Yaay for me!
It still has that 'new ambulance' smell, which is kind of like the 'new car' smell, if new cars came with extrication tools and the smell cost about $160,000 extra. Everything is shiny and unused.
We set off with a patient onboard who had difficulties that were not of the elimination variety, so I was alarmed when she had a whispered conversation with the nurse on board that ended with said nurse saying, "You have to POOP?" This was followed with a reassuring explanation of how very close we were to our destination, a place where she could do what needed done, possibly even without three onlookers in close quarters. This reassurance lasted exactly 45 seconds. I was at the head of the cot so I couldn't hear much of what was being said, only "Right NOW? Are you sure?"
A bedpan (which I prayed to the Patron Saint of Inopportune Defecation was actually IN the storage bin) was located, and we pawed through the layers of straps, tubing, non washable and very vulnerable-looking wool blankets, and ether blanketing to get to the patient and slip it in place.
Have you ever gotten on an elevator and experienced that awkward silence that settles in after the doors close? Or been witness to the 'party lull' where everyone stops talking at the same time for no particular reason? I would submit to you that these experiences run a distant seventy-third to dropping trou so you can poop in front of strangers in a moving vehicle.
We got the patient sorted out, then field tested something called the 'Power Vent'. (Ambulance manufacturers, whoever thought of a ceiling-mounted fan that sucks smells out of the back so they can hover malevolently over random municipalities, THANK YOU. It works like a champ.)
And nothing cheers up the staff of my favorite ER like walking in with a big red biohazard bag and saying, "Do you have someplace I can put this?" I wish I had one for them every day.