A great partnership is a beautiful thing. A twelve hour shift can be very long when you spend it in the cab of an ambulance with someone with whom you do not get along. By and large, I have been very lucky to have been paired with partners who are great people over the years. I’ve heard many-a-horror story of partnerships gone awry, but other than a religious fanatic who often lectured me about my future as a demon in hell who inevitably lost his marbles and quit over the radio, I have never experienced much more than mild snafus.
I’m fairly certain I’ve been the obnoxious one on the truck most of the time. Let’s face it; saying I’m quirky is a bit of an understatement. As of right now, I am wearing a Wonder Woman bracelet, I have a Super Awesome trading card in my pocket, and my pet zombie Vince is nestled snugly in the dashboard handle. I’m blond, I’m bubbly, I’m silly, I occasionally fix poor punctuation on posted signs, and they know me at most of the comic book stores in my city. That stated, I don’t tolerate rudeness, maliciousness, or subpar treatment. I use every opportunity to learn. I may be a bit of a goofball, but I give it everything I’ve got on every call. Putting it nicely, I can be a lot for a partner to handle.
Explaining the partner relationship to non-EMS folk is a bit of a challenge at best. Most of the time when I reference my partner, people generally assume I’m a lesbian. Frankly, it’s not completely unlike dating someone. If a quarter of your time is spent with a person while experiencing drastic emotional and physical highs and lows, a relationship will build regardless of the orientation. It tends to be the type of relationship in which all clothes are kept on and cuddling is kept to a strict minimum. There are no big or little spoons on the ambulance. I’ve heard tale of partners taking their relationship to a physical level on shift, which makes me shudder. Ambulances are gross. Ick.
I recently took a new shift and assignment, forcing me to part ways from my most recent partner. While I have an exciting, new endeavor awaiting me, I can’t help but reminisce about the fun times I’ve had. My last partner, FOB, took the news of my shift change well, despite that he told me he wasn’t ready to start partner dating again. FOB (Fresh Off the Boat) gained his name because of the sheer inapplicability of the term; A Cuban by birth, he’s been in the States the vast majority of his life. I started calling him FOB in lieu of “my partner” to non-EMS friends to make them refrain from questioning my sexuality, and it sort of stuck. In addition to being a generally awesome dude, FOB is a very smart EMT with badass language skills and a great sense of humor. I laughed at work every day with FOB.
FOB’s latino lusciousness occasionally crept up in conversation, and for this I was more than a little jealous. What do I have? Caucasian caution? Lame. FOB took pity on my boring WASPy racial heritage and gave me the title of honorary Cuban. Once on a call at the home of a Hispanic family, FOB and I dealt with a frantic wife of a patient too inebriated to speak for himself. Our patient’s poor wife was very flustered and struggling to find her words in English, despite the fact that she spoke English quite well under normal circumstances. She consistently became frustrated with herself trying to report to me in English. Ever the levelheaded provider, FOB told her, “It’s okay. You can speak to her in Spanish. She’s Cuban.” Following that statement, everyone on scene appeared to do a collective head tilt of confusion. With my alabaster skin, blue eyes, and blond hair, everyone was shocked to hear of my latina lusciousness.
FOB never failed to make me laugh with one liners:
Following a call in which we treated an unusually well-endowed lady with symptoms warranting a 12 lead ECG: “That 12 lead was all blind. Those titties were so big, I had to use the force.”
Pulling out of the parking lot in the ambulance: “This truck has more miles than Madonna.”
After a domestic violence call in which the victim was well known for violence toward responding personnel: “What’s wrong with America when a nice lady like that can’t drink her 40 in peace?”
After pronouncing a man dead that was the victim of an obviously gang related shooting: “You know, this probably wouldn’t have happened if he joined a book club instead.”
Ah, FOB. There’s always overtime.