Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Trip Number One: Montreal

They wanted me to have a nice easy start.  It was either that, or, I was the only one available on that day, which is more likely.  My first assignment was to transport a patient in a ground ambulance out to Montreal.  The catch?  We would be accompanied by the Emergency Task Force (our version of what you'd probably know as the SWAT Team).

From the ICU, we packed up the patient, who not only couldn't speak, but could only understand French (the first challenge in a day that was full of them).  As we left, I heard one of the officers tell the other that it was time to 'rifle-up', and I knew this was going to be a good day.  We rolled the stretcher out of the hospital and into our ambulance, under the watchful eye of two ETF officers with very large guns, and off we went.

If you've ever driven anywhere with me as a passenger before, you'll know all too well that I have a touch of motion sickness sometimes.  Somehow, between the bumps in the road, the slightly uncomfortable feeling of being followed by ETF officers in an unmarked SUV, the terror of being responsible for a sick patient and the air-release valve in his moderately active rectal tube, I managed not to embarrass myself by chucking all over the back of the ambulance.  I did, however, probably manage to do so using my mad French skills to try and communicate with the man.

The highlight of this trip, of course, was stopping halfway to Montreal at a service station in order to coordinate our escort once we crossed the Quebec border.  We figured that since we had stopped, it was a good time for a quick pee.  I let the Respiratory Therapist go first.  When he came to relieve me, I hopped out the back of the ambulance and was met by my very own washroom escort.  I can tell you, there's nothing quite like the experience of having a wee knowing the door is being guarded by a well-trained man with an assault rifle.

All in all, it was a great day.  My new colleagues seem lovely, nothing went terribly wrong and I got to hang out with a few men in very hot uniforms.

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