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Working on an Ambulance Service on an Indian Reservation

Updated on January 3, 2020

This was my most favorite job in the whole entire world. I am now a stay at home mom, and cant fathom leaving my son, let alone leaving him for days at a time, because that is how I would be. I worked 56 to 120 hour shifts. Yes, we got to sleep on shift. We made meals, and watched T.V. and had the ability to shower. This doesn't mean that we always got to use these luxuries. Imagine, a 3rd world country. Some people are homeless. Lots of people were dirty, didn't have doors on their homes, windows broken out, trash in the streets. This was normal for the Native Americans that lived on this reservation.


The phone rings at 0230 in the morning. Its base telling us we need to go to one of the housing units for a frequent flyer having a seizure. Its myself and my partner in the other bedroom. I groggily roll out of bed, throw on my pants and my sweatshirt with the EMS logo so people know who I am with, hope my hair looks half decent, because its 2:30 in the morning and its one of our regulars and I don't really care how I look.

I knock on my partners door. "I'm up." He says grumpily. I get my boots on, open the tough book and bring up the PCR and start entering information, cause you know.. frequent flyer. My grumpy partner throws open the front door and stomps down the stairs to the big white box on wheels and starts it. I grumble half to myself, "I don't know why your grumpy all you get to do is drive." Since it was my call and I had to deal with our frequent flyer.

Now before you think, wheres the compassion? This guy calls probably 2-4 times a week and proclaims he is having a seizure. He doesn't have seizures, he goes in to the hospital to get meds. And we know it, and the hospital knows it, but it still happens. We just do our job and make sure everyone gets there safely.

We roll up to the house, let base know we are on scene. Its dark, my partner and I don't stray far from each other, which I'm secretly thankful for. The res is scary at night, and I often get the Heebie-Jeebies. Cops are few and far between through out the whole reservation. Getting off track, back to the call.

We knock on the door and say EMS since we can see the guy laying on the floor. We walk in and holler is name. He basically knows us by name as well. I ask, "Whats going on?" He told me he had a seizure. I asked him if he took anything and he told me yes, wasn't sure what it was. We help him walk past the old dirty mattress on the porch, as he is a little unsteady. We steps into the ambulance, sits down on the cot. His feet hang off the cot, as he is around 6 feet 7 inches tall. I put the blood pressure cuff on him. My partner rights down the vitals, asks me if I'm good, and grumpily gets into the drivers seat and starts down the road. The driveway leading to the actual road is rough as hell. The patient is strapped in and he is still swaying side by side. I'm trying not to drop the computer when we hit every single pot hole we can. I look at my partner in the rearview mirror. He smirks at me slyly and looks away. Whatever grumpy pants, have your fun.

We arrive into the bay of the Hospital. An old brick building, the bricks starting to blacken and fade. The night nurses don't have much going on. We are led into a bay as I give my patient care report, give the nurse the patients vitals, and tell them the patient took unknown meds for reasons other than what the meds are used for. This prompts a mental health screening for the patient. I tell the patient to get to feeling better. I finish my PCR sitting with the nurses, listening to my partner BS in a better mood. I was ready to go back to quarters, as I was tired and getting grumpy myself.

This is based on true calls that we would get, the mild, easy ones. There were plenty of them. Plenty of people who wanted help, and we would provide it. That is what we were there for. We helped people in their time of need, and sometimes their time of need is different than what we think it should be. That's where EMS field work can get tiring, and the EMTS can get burnt out. This is the way of the game, and it isn't going to change, anytime soon.


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