Friday, September 12, 2008

Well, here we are.

Zachary, Louisiana. Our Ambulance Strike Team was deployed for a hurricane relief mission. What we are being told thus far, is that our mission will mainly be to repatriate the hospitals and facilities of patients that were evacuated. That could, of course, change.. depending on what Ike does.

This is a cute little town. Nondescript. What is incredible are the people here. Our incident commanders told us the residents were very nice, but that was the understatement of the year. Everywhere we go, complete strangers approach us and ask us where we're from, how do we like it here, how long will we need to be here, do we need anything? One gentleman tried to pick up the tab for our breakfast, which for some reason almost brought tears to my eyes.

We met up at a park n' ride lot about 30 minutes from our ambulance base and drove for 2 days to get here, in a convoy of 4 other ambulances and 2 support vehicles. Of course once we got here last night, we had to sit around for an hour and wait until we could drag our gear in, set up sleeping arrangements, and bunk down for the night. We kept hearing rumors that there was 1 shower in the entire building for a hundred or so personnel. Exhausted and covered in the slime layer that one accumulates over 12 hours on a drive, all I wanted was to wash up, brush my teeth, and go to bed so that I could make the 5:45am roll call. Of course, the only bathroom I knew of for some reason had no power. So there I was, doing the whore's bath (or Polish bath, if you're more into ethnic stereotyping - being Polish myself, I'm allowed to say it) by the light of my little mini-mag. That cot felt incredibly good; it was the best 4 hours sleep I've gotten in a long time.

5:30 rolls around and we're ready. Not quite bright eyed or bushy tailed, but awake. There is no roll call. We are not going anywhere. The incident commanders need to make fuel arrangements for our vehicles and the state needs to come inspect/credential our crews and units. So my partner and I signed out, and hit the Wal-Mart for some necessities. We picked up breakfast, after politely declining the kind gentleman's offer to buy for us.

I'm being told we are beginning to get our paperwork and credentials together for the feds, so off I go.

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