Yes, I'm fine now. Really. Just a bad trip of stomach-flu.
All these tips, though, are good not just in the ambulance, but also in the emergency room.
- Have your objectives clearly in mind.
- Make sure there's room for a full-sized fire-truck in front of your house, since in some cities, such as San Francisco, an entire firetruck crew is likely to accompany any ambulance call. Firetruck service is certain if the words "chest pain" were uttered during the 911 call, if only by the 911 operator.
- If invited to speculate on the source of your condition, do not blame yourself. Also, do not blame the paramedics or firefighters. Blame God, the President, the HMO, your doctor's automated-response phone-tree. Anyone who cannot be reached by phone at that hour will do.
- Bring warm clothing. Spare blankets are good, too. Neither ambulances nor hospitals stock these.
- Bring a bottle of water. Water is not served on board without a prescription.
- When you leave the house, YOU must lock the door behind you. Paramedics and firefighters do not do this, even if asked by the patient at the time.
- If you see a tree while entering and exiting the ambulance, point to it and state its botanical name clearly and with authority. This will assure the paramedics that while you are not in control of this situation, you may well be handy in others. The next time that the paramedics rescue someone who was attacked by said tree, and the doctor asks them what kind it was, they'll thank you.