Interesting what happens when the unexpected happens. I’m not talking about running a crazy call or dealing with a psycho patient, those things I expect. What I don’t expect is to be stuck on the side of a mountain highway for almost an hour and a half in a snowstorm with no heat and an engine that is overheating…is that smoke?
Without my diabetic supplies.
I am fine, nothing happened. I didn’t even freeze to death. Just huddled and shivered and muttered angrily about the people who drove by in nice, warm, working cars without stopping. I mean, there’s nothing they could have done anyway, but come on! At least asking would be nice.
Anyway I got in this predicament by the typical route of “one thing led to another…” Oh wait, is that sexual? It wasn’t supposed to be. I was by myself. The phrase is accurate regardless of the innuendo that doesn’t apply.
To start off, I was told to drive one of our Critical Care Transports back to base to be cleaned after a particularly bad bacterial meningitis patient had been given a ride. No biggie. I jump in the rig with little to no thought of grabbing any of my food or supplies sitting in my van.
I should have known.
Back at base, the proverbial hell (well, maybe not hell…purgatory?) breaks loose when the supervisor learns that our other CCT is sitting in a city about an hour away with no heat and a NICU patient that needs to be transported. Oh, lucky me, I’m sitting right there, not doing anything! At this point, my mind is whirling on the next (what I think will only be) two hours with no food or BG meter. I decide to go because, well I can’t say no and right now, there’s no reason for me to. I’m confident in my ability to feel a low and even more confident in my ability to prevent that from every happening by selective suspending and the like.
I end up going Code 3 (lights and sirens) all the way down to the city. There was a light snow falling which made it infinitely more fun when the strobes and red and blues created a stop-action movie all around my vehicle. And by “fun”, I mean “don’t watch it, don’t watch it, do not watch it.” Get there no problem, transfer the working vehicle to the crew, and jump in the heat-less vehicle to make the drive back
After a weird, oh-crap-I-need-an-ice-scraper-because-my-defrost-doesn’t-work moment which involved backtracking about thirty minutes so a local crew could bring me one, I set off again in the midst of an ever-increasing snow storm.
Light on dash illuminates ominously.
Heat gauge? Oh, great, I’m freezing but you could roast a hot dog on my engine! Well, I’m not stopping unless it blows up…
It didn’t blow up.
I warily watched the gauge as I slowly crept up the pass. The slowly creeping thing wasn’t by choice. The ambulance refused to accelerate. Oh, it would rev to its little heart’s content, but my speed just kept dropping. Oh, great, now I’m trying to cross a pass in a snow storm in an ambulance with no heat, a frosted windshield, an engine that’s about to blow up, and no active forward progress! The final straw came when I stopped to scrape my frozen windshield and I was hit with the odor of burning rubber when I leaned over the engine block.
I quit. Call the tow, please. I’m going to quit right here where there’s cell reception and nice passing lane so I don’t get hit.
I grabbed blankets from the back, suspended my pump, and prepared to shiver. You know the rest, the tow came, I called him my knight in shining armor, got back to base to be greeted by a warm mug (a real mug!) of hot chocolate prepared for me by my lovely dispatcher, and went home still trying to warm myself thoroughly. (my number after all that and the hot cocoa was only 236)
It was so cold in the cab that when I got out into single-digit blowing snow, I thought to myself, “Oh, it’s not nearly as cold as I thought it was…oh wait.”
And that, my friends, is another story about why my job is crazy for diabetics.