When it rains... (Originally posted June 30, 2006)

Everyone has one of “Those Days” from time to time. Most people even have a few of “Those Days” in succession. I’m having one of “Those Weeks”. It’s been a variable plethora of exhausting… crap.

Yes, my vocabulary has gone downhill since having kids. I need to work on that.

The first incident in my week of fun and excitement… “The Storm”. (Could also be titled “The Deluge”, “TAKE COVER!”, “Why is God Smiting Us?”, or “What In The HELL is a CODE GRAY?”)

I knew it was going to be a big one. One of those storms that keeps all three major networks on the air all afternoon throwing out terms like “Tornadic Activity”, “Storm Cell”, and “Projected Path”. I wasn’t thrilled with having to head into work just as the rain was starting to fall, or having to leave Mr. EpiJunky home alone with a paranoid of storms Future Cardiologist and She Who Rules The House. I had a feeling they were going to end up hiding in the basement, which would probably send the Future Cardiologist into a complete meltdown.

Staying home and calling off wasn’t an option. Who would be around to take the patient with a six month old infected hangnail to the ER? Duty calls!

As I started the 15 minute trip to The Closet the skies were turning gray. Rain was starting to come down, nothing heavy yet. The commute was uneventful. Which is just how I like it.
Within thirty seconds of arriving at The Closet/Local ER the skies opened up and began to dump what ended up being almost 10 inches of rain on the city.

Pseudo Dad met me at the doors to the ER.

EpiJunky: Looks like we’re gonna get some runs tonight, good thing, I’ve been bored lately.
Pseudo Dad: Please don’t say the “B” word.
EpiJunky: Bored bored bored bored bored.
I stick my tongue out at him for good measure.

We stand at the doors and watch the parking lot which is quickly flooding.
Then came the voice from above. No, not that voice.

“CODE GRAY, all personnel report to your designated stations!” This message repeats about fifteen times.

EpiJunky: What in the HELL is a Code Gray?
Pseudo Dad shrugs. He calls dispatch on the radio and asks.
Pseudo Dad: Tornado sited. See what happens when you get bored?
EpiJunky: I’m MELTING I’m MELTING… Oh what a world, what a world…. (Pseudo Dad gets the reference but is not impressed).

We continue watching the parking lot and assisting patient and visitors into the building. It’s about ten minutes later when we get approached by a security guard.

Security Guard: Ya’ll are gonna have to head downstairs, they’re evacuating the ER..
Pseudo Dad: We can’t do that…We’re essential personnel.
Security Guard: No, really, you’re going to need to--
EpiJunky: We have a duty to the County, if they call us, we need to get to our squad in two minutes. We’re staying here.

The security guard gives up and moves on. Everyone who could walk, patients, visitors and staff started to line the inner hallways. It was totally chaotic. Those who were bedbound were moved to the innermost areas of the floor they were on. I felt for these folks. It was not a fun experience for most of them. I’ve never seen Local ER empty. It was…eerie.

Our radio fired up. Code three county run to the local apartment complex for abdominal pain. I nominated Pseudo Dad to drive. I was not going to be the one to get us killed driving through what looked like a solid wall of water.

He flipped the lights and sirens on… The rain came down so hard and fast that the wipers had no hope of keeping up. It was the slowest we’ve ever driven Code 3. Luckily the local apartment complex was only a mile and a half away. Still it took us almost ten minutes to drive what would have normally taken two.

Two minutes away from the scene and my cell phone rings. It’s Mr. EpiJunky. There’s water coming up through the drain in our basement where he, Future Cardiologist and She Who Rules the House are hiding out thanks to the sirens that are going off. I can hear the panic in the voice of my son in the background. The daughter is laughing like a maniac. Mr. EpiJunky is not happy. I don’t know what to tell him at this point. We’re on scene. I have to go.

In the fifteen seconds it takes me and Pseudo Dad to get to the front door of our patient’s apartment we are totally and completely drenched. It was like we jumped into a pool completely clothed. My shoes make that fun squishy noise as I walk. The Firefighters on scene laugh at me. I look like a drowned rat. I love my job. With the intensity of a million hot burning Suns.

We get Pseudo Dad’s patient packaged on the cot and protected from the deluge of rain as best we can… Our efforts are basically futile.

The wonderful firefighters give me a quick run down on which major roads are still open and which ones have several feet of water flooding them. The hospital is about three miles away by our normal route.

I’m navigating a major road enroute to the hospital. I’m listening to the radio. Reports of police cars stalled out, an ambulance swamped in four feet of water “We thought it was a puddle”, Another ambulance from a local service was swamped so quickly that they fried their lifepak. (“Oooooh, someone’s gonna have to answer big for that one” my partner remarks from the back.) Everywhere I go is a dead end. I’m not taking any chances of driving through something that may or may not be five feet deep. Half an hour into our drive I start seeing people in row boats. Just down the street there’s a guy on a wave runner.

You can’t make this shit up folks.

The patient is starting to get anxious. Pseudo Dad is trying to navigate me around yet another flooded street while simultaneously reassuring our patient that I did actually know where I was going and that yes, his partner had indeed driven an ambulance before. We should have been to the ER 20 minutes ago and we’re still a good ten minutes away under ideal conditions. The good news is the rain is slowing down to a sprinkle. I’m mumbling all sorts of fun obscenities in my head.

Finally I back our blue and white rig into a parking spot at the ER. We offload our patient, Pseudo Dad completes his paperwork. Our patient with the indigestion is resting comfortably in her room. All is right in the world.

Time to head back.

An hour and fifteen minutes later we arrive at The Closet/Local ER. Pseudo Dad picks up the radio.

Pseudo Dad: Unit 28 to Dispatch…
Dispatch: Go Unit 28
Pseudo Dad: The Good Ship Lollipop is back in port.
Dispatch: *stifled laugh* Got you back in the barn 28.

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