That's what I was thinking as we sped Code 3 down the highway, and I attempted to doff my bunker pants. The floor rattled underneath my too-big boots. I clung for dear life to the bar that runs along the ceiling for just that purpose. To steady the poor fool that thinks his balance is strong enough to withstand the g-forces of an ambulance moving at 60 mph. I was indeed that fool. Actually, I was a lot of things that evening. Why? And why was I even in the back of an ambulance?
I was wrapping up my first Explorer Ride-Along. For 12 hours, I was the shadow of the medics on rig 24-12. Morning briefings, pump checks, lunch breaks... Whenever the tones called for an ambulance, I was in my seat and buckled before they reached the door. You might wonder why I was donning bunker gear, if I was confined to the ambulance. Two words; Scene, and Safety.
We were responding to a fire call, and unsure of what role I'd play on scene, I decided it was better to be safe than sorry. On went my suspenders, jacket, and bright orange helmet. :P
Spoiler alert- it was a false alarm.
But while I'd love to actually assist on scene, that's a no-go. Opening IV packaging and putting away tools was how I assisted. And that's okay. I was content to listen to the radio reports, having realized that in only a few short months, I would be the one giving those reports! Anyways, I shadowed several different paramedics as schedules changed, and each one taught me something else.
From Kate, I realized that asking for help doesn't mean you're incapable, only unsure. So ask until your confidence overrides your fear.
From Nate, I learned to be calm. Be honest with your questions, and gracious with your answers.
A little bit of kindness goes a long way.
From the Captain, I was reminded that how we accept new leadership is up to us. Nobody likes change, but let's hope we're known for how well we treat others, rather than how quickly we spread gossip.
In closing, you will miss meals. (I did) You will put somebody else's needs before your own. And you will want to laugh at the worst possible moments. Embrace it. I do!