Welcome to my truck, Unit X. Don't mind the picture, she's shy. I spend more time in the back (and front) of this ambulance, than I do awake at my own home with my kids. I have issues with that statement, but this is supposed to be lighthearted, so... well, that's another post for another time.
I thought I would take ya'll on a little visual tour of my home away from home. For those of you who have always wondered what the inside of an ambulance looks like (I can only imagine why), this post is for you.
The back of the truck. This is where we spend time with our patients. It's also where Sleepy Partner takes the majority of his naps.
1. The hooks and the bolts.
These babies serve very important purposes, and endless amusement. First and foremost, the two lower black bolts (because I don't know what else to call them) are responsible for keeping the back doors of the ambulance closed. Very important stuff unless you like the back doors flying open at random moments while you fly down the freeway. The yellow hook above the bolts keeps you from dropping the patient on the stretcher while you load it into the back.
The three of them together provide moments of hysterical laughter to my partner as I am CONSTANTLY catching my boots on them as I climb out of the back of the truck. Nothing is more funny to him than the idea of me faceplanting on the asphalt as I attempt to exit the back of the truck. Well, it would be funnier if there were some hot firefighters in turnout gear watching while I do it.
2. The Stretcher/Cot
They're not built for comfort, that's for sure.
This lovely bright yellow contraption is where our patients relax while we take them to where they need to go. Dialysis appointments, Wound Care, Dentist, Optometrist, even to the ER!
It's also another comfortable place for Sleepy Partner to crash. A growing boy needs his sleep ya know!
3. The Bench Seat/Bench Compartment
The bench seat serves several purposes. Underneath we keep everything from body bags to spare linen to extra O2 tanks.
The bench seat itself is where a second patient can ride (typically on a backboard, strapped down to the bench). It's also where most riders accompanying a patient choose to sit if we allow them to ride in back. If I'm missing a pen, it seems to always wind up hiding somewhere along the bench seat even if it's not where I sit. We keep our "ears" (stethoscopes), BP cuffs, and glucometer here as well.
It's also yet another place for Sleepy Partner to catch a cat nap.
4. The captain's seat
This is where I sit when I'm in back almost 85% of the time. It's the seat with the best access to the airway. It's also the seat closest to the action area and the front of the truck. If I need to open the side window to let some air in (for any given reason, use your imagination and think c. diff, disconnected g-tube or GI bleed. yes, I'm a weenie), this is the best seat to do it from.
5. The "Action" area
What do we keep here... Suction. Lancets for the glucometer, Spare alcohol and betadine preps. Bandaids. and rolls of tape of every width.
On those long transfers it's also where we keep our 44 oz Diet Pepsi's and our reading material.
6. The rear view mirror
Yes, I realize that technically it's in the front of the truck, but don't discount it's importance to those in the back.
Things you can convey without using words just by catching your partner's eye in the rear view:
Drive faster. This guy looks like shit.
Drive faster... This guy smells like shit.
Drive faster...... This guy keeps grabbing at my chest!
Drive faster! This guy is grabbing HIS chest!!!!
Drive slower!!!!! You just tossed me out of my chair/made me spill my coffee/interrupted my nap with your bad driving!
Seriously, STOP THE TRUCK and get back here, this guy just grabbed at my boobs again!
7. Our GCS cheat sheet
I like this because for some reason I've memorized and forgotten the GCS scores twice now.
8. The vent from God Himself
It brings us precious heat in the frigid winter and can turn the back of the truck into a meat locker during the summer.
9. The "tagged" cabinet
Home to the AED (if you are fortunate enough to have one on your truck), the first in bag, and the airway bag.
Very rarely opened on a day car.
10. The rail
See that blue piece of latex free elastic tied around it? It's of no use to a basic truck. Well, if you tie the ends together it makes a nice rubber band...
The rail is what we grab onto when our partners take those corners too sharply while we're standing. Or if they break too suddenly, again, while we're standing in the back.
Legend has it that it has alternate purposes.... That's just gross. Use it for its intended purpose.
I have no idea what its purpose is other than looking cool. Also, it's one more thing for me to have to scrub with a toothbrush before the state inspection.
12. The railing and the "escape hatch".
When you need to make a quick exit, the best way is through the side door. Make sure you grab the railing because (and I'm speaking from experience here), the more urgent your escape is, the more likely you are to fall out of the ambulance.
I know you all will be waiting with baited breath :)