First Arriving Network
First Arriving Network

Oh. My. Gawd.

I'm all about a smooth ride in the ambulance. Driving fast and running lights and sirens only saves you an average of 30 seconds or so in the city, anyway, so I tell all my partners that I'd much prefer slow, smooth and safe to rapid, rough and reckless.

And my partner last week may well have been the smoothest driver I've ever had. You could barely feel the road when he drove.

Of course, it's easy to be smooth when you drive at the approximate speed of tectonic shift. Dude didn't need a speedometer, he needed a calendar. I finally told him to just keep the lights and siren off, because when you're driving substantially below the speed limit and angry old folks are passing you on their Rascal scooters, flipping you off as they whiz past you in the breakdown lane, what's the point?

It wasn't just the driving, either. Dude moves at the blistering pace of a geriatric sloth with a Xanax habit. On one call, a wreck, I told him to follow behind me with the spine board and stretcher. I had assessed the patient, listened to her tell me she wasn't injured and didn't want an ambulance, written down her demographic information, had the refusal form signed and witnessed and was on my way back to the rig before he got the stretcher unloaded. He even looked disappointed slowly; it didn't so much flash across his face as it did a slow melt. I was back in the rig and massaging my temples before he got his frown fixed into place.

I never thought I could find something more mentally stressing than having a speed demon as a partner, but this came close. Halfway through the first shift, I had to quit stomping the imaginary accelerator on my side of the rig, lest he squeeze the steering wheel in half, he was that white-knuckled. I finally just wound up driving to all the calls myself. Seemed a more productive use of my time than expelling exaggerated sighs and pointedly looking at the speedomoeter, anyway.

I mean, I like to watch the seasons change, but not from the back of my ambulance between scene and Emergency Department.



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