The shift from hell

I think the shift I worked yesterday was the second worse shift I’ve ever had, second only to a couple Christmas’s ago when I rolled my rig running hot to a call in bad weather.

Day started off pretty well. Got to my station at 0645, got a report from the offgoing crew and did a quick truck check with the days partner. Hadn’t worked with him yet, but he seemed really cool to work with and was more than willing to put up with me getting lost in Denver.

At just before 0700 we got our first transfer of the day. A mental health hold going to one of the behavioral health facilities in the city. No problem. My partner attended as I drove. The patient was very cooperative and gave us no problems for the hour long transfer that we had.

After that was the curse of being the only BLS truck on with no wheelchair vans on yet. We wound up going from station to station picking up ticket work and dropping off supplies. Then we got called back to base. Apparently they were pulling an EMT off of the ALS truck because he had just gotten two tickets from a photo van a week or so ago, so he was on driving restrictions. Which meant I was going to be driving the rest of the day.

He was not happy, to say the least. So that made for an awkward first couple of hours. But he started to lighten up a little once we started talking. Made for a little bit better of a day. We just posted at our station for a while and played pool and generally tried to make doing nothing go by a little bit faster.

We got our first call, a wheelchair overflow. No problems with the call or the initial transport. We gave report over to the RN at the facility and then headed out. This is when the bad started again.

We were on our way out and apparently I picked the wrong way to go out. It had a metal low overhang sign (one of hte completely solid post setups), and I kinda questioned if we’d fit. Both of us were thinking that our rig was about a foot shorter than it really was figured from eyeballing it that we’d be ok (we were in the fleet’s only type II, which actually is the tallest unit in the fleet by about a foot and a half due to the lightbar on top, which is a very old, very big lightbar.).

I took her under the bar at idle with my foot covering the brake. Very very slow. The bar went over our head with no problem, then we heard a grinding sound. I slammed the brake and when I did I saw something land beside my door. Low and behold it was my light bar sitting on the ground right by the drivers door. The first thought that went through my mind was ‘oh shit.’.

Called dispatch and then called the admin on duty and were told to go to base. I’m freaking out pretty good about all of this (and still am) because I’m brand new to the company, only been here about a month. I’m afraid that I’m going to get fired. We toss the lightbar (which is relatively intact) into the back of the rig and start driving back to OHQ. I don’t think I’ve ever driven more paranoid than that.

They just had us sit around while they all talked and maintainance looked the bus over. I got called into a meeting with the FTO and injured medic who did our new hire orientation and basically got asked if I had been thinking at all and what exactly happened. I explained myself, took full responsibility since I was the one driving the truck. Then they told us they have no idea what will happen, and that they’d let us know once they knew something.

I had to sit around base for a few more hours and waited while they brought another bus back to base and we prepped our replacement unit. I was told I’m on driving restriction until further notice (which meant me and my partner both couldn’t drive) so they were bringing another 24 hour BLS truck back and would put me and one and my partner on another.

The rest of the 24 went by incredibly slow since I’ve been freaking out since abotu what’s going to happen to me. Everyone I’ve talked to at the company who heard (which by two hours after the incident was just about everyone, even the offduty crews) has been telling me that people have done worse and not gotten fired. It helps, but not a whole lot.

Although it doesn’t help that admin is pissed in general right now. We had another unit get a complaint about cutting off a semi, one unit hit a bread truck and took the mirror off, and then there was my partner.

But the drug test will come back negative and we’ll see what they do. For the meantime I’m attend only (which is what I started with way back with my first company) on a busy BLS 24 hour IFT truck. Should be fun.