Monday, July 09, 2007

Radiology and Ambulances

Today I had to use my lunch break to go to the Radiology lab to prepare for my CT Scan tomorrow. I wasn't thrilled to be going there mostly because I'm not thrilled to be having a CT Scan. My Dr. isn't convinced that my ailment is an ulcer so he wants more tests done. GREAT, more needles!

If you are familiar with the D.C. area at all you know that travelling what looks like 15 min. away could some times end up being an hour away with traffic on the beltway. I had to make it from Alexandria to Annandale. I made it in great time, 25 min. My appointment for a CT Scan isn't until tomorrow. I had to go today to pick up the Barium that I have to drink tomorrow. From what I've been told it doesn't taste that great.

When I checked in and told them what I was there for they asked me what flavor Barium I wanted. I remember being a kid and drinking your medicine when you were sick. Any flavor you add always makes it taste worse! The flavor choices made me gag just thinking about them: berry, banana, or orange. YUCK!!!! I asked them which was least nasty of all the nasty flavors and that left me with orange.

I left the Dr. office and headed to my car. I put my car in reverse and just as I was backing up and ambulance with lights flashing pulled right behind me, parked, and the driver got out and walked away!!!!I was so angry! I stopped myself and said, "Emily, someone is in danger and you are complaining because you are late to get back on the road and get stuck in traffic? Stop complaining." I tried to calm myself down. I decided to use this indefinite amount of time to think. I thought about the other ambulance that pulled up and I watched them point at me because they noticed my despair and they parked in an EMPTY parking space before hurriedly rushing into the building. I thought about ALL the EMPTY parking spaces that flooded the parking lot and ALL the places this ambulance could have parked except behind me. I also thought about the gentleman that came to his car which was also blocked by the ambulance. I thought about how he must be in the same despair as me. I thought about all of this while he wiggled his little VW Golf back and forth until he could pull out from behind the ambulance because on the left of that little VW Golf there were 2 empty parking spaces!!!! I thought WHY ME!!!!! Everyone was leaving the building looking at my face thinking, 'how sad' as they got into their unblocked cars and drove away. My anger was brewing and all the while I couldn't help but think that someone was in trouble and how dare I get so angry.

A good 20 minutes later the driver of the ambulance moseyed on out and moved the vehicle to an empty parking space just literally 3 feet from his original location. He then got out of his car lit a cigarette and sat there until he was joined by the two people from the other ambulance! What kind of emergency is that!!!!!

So tomorrow I have to starve myself and drink this orange flavored chalk water and then go to the Dr. so they can inject me with a glowing dye while they scan my body for problems......I think I'll end up being an orange flavored glowing science experiment.....but that may be just wishful thinking....


Jessie said...

Oooo...I feel your annoyance with the whole ambulance thing...I swear that half of the time they flash their lights through traffic to get to Wendy's for a Jr. Bacon Cheeseburger. I've seen it! Argh!
Hope your appointment went okay.

Anonymous said...

As a so-called "Ambulance Driver" myself (begging and pleading that the educated U.S. refers to us at least as "EMTs", since the days of just drivin' real fast are *long gone* --- decades long gone)...

In my area of Texas, lights-n-sirens to a non-emergency dispatch are grounds for disciplinary actions, up to and including termination. Not sure about D.C. May not sound like much, but if the Texas Dept of Health gets a whiff of such behavior occurring more than once, loss of certification will happen... stark end to a career. The safety of the public is taken very seriously; "Code 3" for non-emergent reasons is a big no-no.

If you find such a situation again where no patient is loaded into the ambulance, I would note that ambulance number (or license plate), date, time, location, and service name. Call your state's Dept of Health to file a complaint. They should take it seriously... they do here in my neck of the woods.

As for the location of where ambulances park when responding to an emergency, all I can say is that we try to position the ambulance for the best interest of a potentially dying patient and his/her safety. The stretchers are top-heavy with a patient on them, and having to lift/lower off curbs or navigate around potholes or road cracks can easily tip them over. Worse so for obese patients, which as we know is a steadily-growing population.

In my area, we try to limit "on scene" time to less than 10 minutes and get IVs, medications, and such done on the road.

I offer no excuse for anyone who neglected his duty and stood around smoking. That should be reported.