Finally, a trip that didn't start with the word 'weird'.
Not weird, but certainly intense, terrifying and uncomfortable.
That's right, I was back on the air ambulance for this one. With a proper sick person.
It had been a really enjoyable Friday night. I sent a quick email to let the company know I was going to a concert and they said they wouldn't need me so enjoy myself. I saw a couple of great bands at my first outdoor show of the summer with great company and met some lovely Much Music employees at a stranger's birthday party at a sausage bar on King West (yup, sausage bar). We meandered back to my apartment and made it in around 1:30am. At 1:40, I got the call that I was needed on the air ambulance.
"You're going on a quick trip to Newfoundland. Be at the hangar at three."
"Three o'clock tomorrow? No problem, I'll be there."
"No. As in now. Go there now."
So, frightened, and not a little sleepy, I made my way to the hangar. I met one of the pilots there and he told me that he hadn't slept either. This did not make me feel good. (I guess they're used to this kind of thing the way I am, but it still scared the shit out of me at the time.)
We flew to Newfoundland and went directly to the hospital where we were ushered into the ICU. Now, to clarify, I'm an ER nurse. I stabilize people and send them to the ICU. I am not as familiar as I'd like to be with the delicate intricacies of ICU nursing. Of all the other kinds of hospital nurses, they're the ones I have the most respect for. They have to be extremely knowledgeable and skilled, and their job isn't the kind of thing step in to from another department. Unless, of course, you're alone on a tiny plane high above the ground with no other option.
When you've been in the ER long enough, you develop a skill for keeping a straight face and appearing calm in situations that are actually pants-shittingly terrifying. It's a handy skill, and I employed the hell out of it when we arrived at the ICU. I'll skip all the details in the interest of patient confidentiality, but it was definitely way outside of my comfort zone.
With the exception of a few tense moments after take-off, the respiratory therapist and I kept the patient stable and got him safely to his destination. And I only threw up once. (It may be time to consider a better intervention for the air-sickness than ginger pills. Thankfully, the patient's spouse was fast asleep when I did it, and the RT didn't mock me too much.)
Despite it being a tense and sleepless trip, it gave me a massive amount of confidence in dealing with seriously ill patients while on the air ambulance. I also have to admit how hilarious I found it to be driving in an ambulance, lights and sirens blaring, up the shoulder of a packed Gardiner Expressway. It was more than a little badass. I'm almost looking forward to the next one, now.