George & Wendy Show

Wendy Parker

Missing a day is out of the question

| July 11, 2014

Let’s talk about hospitals, shall we?

Not necessarily a trucking topic, and a place we avoid at all costs. I had to visit the hospital Monday, because I thought my head was going to explode. Luckily, we were at home and George hadn’t left for his week of work yet. That’s not actually lucky — it would have been better if he had already left, because people don’t seem to understand that long haul truckers can’t miss “just a day” of work. They miss an entire trip – a week’s worth of money – and there’s no “sick leave” for owner-operators. If you get sick, or your wife’s head explodes, you have the added stress of knowing your bank account is going to tank if you don’t get well within minutes, which is why so very many truckers die in the cabs of their trucks, trying to get that load off before they take care of themselves.

I was sitting in my office, minding my own business, when someone snuck up behind me and shot me in the head. OK, that’s a filthy lie, but it sure felt like someone shot me in the head. I stumbled to the bedroom and George noticed immediately.

“Babe? You okay? What’s wrong?”

“I’ve got a bad headache. I can’t breathe.”

Since I don’t usually get headaches and have never had difficulty breathing, he was dressed and helping me to the car before I could protest. Of course, I protested anyway.

“You need to leave. I’ll have someone take me, I promise.”

“I’m not going anywhere. Get in the car.”

So I moaned and slobbered and whined my way to the hospital, where he had someone come out with a wheelchair to get me. They rushed me back, because I couldn’t breathe and they were afraid I was having a heart attack. I was afraid the sand worm in my head was going to get loose and terrorize the entire community of Springfield, Ohio, but I was too far gone to express my feelings by then. My blood pressure was 174/108 and I was really in a lot of pain. (Side note: the bottom number of your BP should ever be the same number as the temp required to boil potatoes. That’s bad.)

They hooked me up to machines, gave me drugs and put me in a tube that extracted the sand worm. OK, that’s another filthy lie, the drugs finally took hold and the pain stopped about the time they were loading me into the CAT scan tube, to see if my brain was bleeding. By the time they got me back to the room, I was high and my blood pressure was low. George was waiting with me when the doc came in to ask me questions.

“Have you had a recent head injury?”

“Not since the last time he slapped me around. Haha I’m totally kidding. He never slaps me around. He uses a rubber hose.”

This is where they had to treat George for high blood pressure. He didn’t think it was funny, even though the doc was laughing.

“I’m totally kidding. He’s a wonderful man who loves me very much, but he didn’t stop the sand worm from crawling in my ear and eating half my brain.”

SandwormApparently, this doctor had never even heard of Dune, which made me immediately suspicious of her.

“What?”

This is where George finally interjects.

“She has a lot of stress she doesn’t necessarily handle well. We travel a lot, she worries about things at home when we’re away. I’m a truck driver, I own my truck and she worries about our business. She just worries a lot.”

“Ah. That makes sense. Her CAT scan is normal, she doesn’t have any visible brain bleeds. I think she probably had a sudden-onset migraine induced by stress. Her blood pressure is normal now and we can let her go home.”

I was confused, as I didn’t remember George loading the cat into the car with me. In related news, the drugs they give you in the hospital make you completely stupid. It’s wonderful.

“You scanned my cat? How could my brain not bleed when a sand worm is eating it? Can I have some of these drugs to take home? Your skin is lovely, by the way. You glow. Actually, everything glows. Can I have some of these drugs to take home? Did I mention that already?”

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The doc sent me home, and George held my hand and treated me like a “special” kid for the rest of the evening. When I sobered up, I felt like a complete ass for having a headache that could have ended up costing us a lot of money. George is fortunate that he’s made some good relationships with a few of the Landstar agents, and he was able to adjust his schedule, but not everyone has that option. Being frail is not an option in trucking families. The lesson for the day is live and learn to manage your stress, people. There are rabid sand worms lurking, just waiting for a stressed-out brain to come along.

  • Kristine Beaman

    Sure glad you are OK now, Wendy:-)

  • Craig Vecellio

    What you said about being forced to take a week off for one day couldn’t be truer! In my divorce, my ex-wife was gifted at manipulating visits so I had to constantly reschedule by her always being ‘busy’. I was an I/C leasing my truck, so theoretically I was able to take the time off….and work 3 days per week average with a truck to pay for. Domestic Relations arbitrarily decided, since I had the ‘choice’ of taking time off, that I ‘wasn’t working to my capacity.’ I wound up obligated to a child support payment based on double my income. I had to let the truck go (fortunately, Roehl does not report situations like that to your credit history, bless them for that) and become a company driver with a fracking company, which paid better money with predictable time off, but I hated the work. Eventually, I got laid off, as did a lot of us after a mild winter tanked the price of NG. Then the support order was adjusted to a more reasonable level; $510 per month with no job. (Since I actually made fracking what D.R. thought I was making all along my unemployment was high.) I bounced back some as a company driver. In that position, there is no question of my ‘capacity’ since it is decided by my employer.

  • Loose Cannon

    Wendy, good to hear you beat the sand worm; I’d really miss reading you! For what it’s worth, they’ve scanned my cat a few times, too, and I didn’t even know I had one. And yes, the drugs are wonderful, but I have to take days off to enjoy them, which really defeats the purpose.

  • Fred

    You certainly like the sound of your own voice with the drivel you write….

  • Wendy

    Fred, I’m gonna let you in on a little secret. The information gathering program RR uses to see who is being read and who isn’t doesn’t discriminate between whether or not they like what they read, it mostly just counts comments and clicks. So if you don’t like it, don’t read it and by all means, don’t comment on it. The quickest way to get rid of the “drivel” you speak of is to have those numbers fall, and you just supported them by taking the time to not only click on the story, spend the time reading it, but comment on it as well. So thanks, buddy. I appreciate the numbers. Have a great day.

  • Linda

    Hmmm, I assumed Fred was speaking to Craig. Now I’m not really sure.

    My thoughts after reading Craig’s comment were that it was very personal & maybe not completely appropriate to Wendy’s story. But… I’ve been dealing with serious health issues the last few years & the sad end to my marriage because “in sickness & in health” meant somthing different to him. Sometimes we just need to feel that someone hears us & cares.

  • William McKelvie

    Wow, so MISSING any time from not running that truck is that destructive? SMH. No wonder guys are willing and more than happy to run for just over a dollar a mile freight. Desperate comes to mind, so does poor financial business decisions. I suggest maybe you look into someone like Dave Ramsey, or even CMC convention. It’s not and should never ever be about what you have said here. And I am actually surprised it is, as educated about the business world and things to do with the industry as you present yourself, that you would not have the opportunity nor the means to take any time away from the road. So I strongly suggest that you run budgets, yes budgets. Every quarter or every month. Then you can find out exactly where and why and how your money is actually being handled. Living for paychecks is no way to live. Landstar holds such classes for their contractors free of charge. Well you do have to show up and participate, and a lot of folks bitch about that. Losing revenue for that day or days into that class. But in the end they are actually saving, by learning how to run efficiently, not just run freight.

  • jon

    Two weeks ago I had to rush my self to the hospital by way of ambulance for a cut finger that was way too deep to just use the ‘Neosporin’ Cover Technique. Four stitches later I debriefed the situation to myself and it made sense to me to take the actions I did.
    1. Finger got in the knifes way during a Ziptie removal.
    2. Realizing cut was too deep to ignore began to find where to fix wound process.
    3. Called Boss/Owner to communicate what just happened and update location (Petro Gary!)
    4. Panicked over truck, load, customers, how much this was gonna cost.
    5 . lightheaded and dizziness set in
    6. Rushed in side truck stop so if I did pass out I would not be run over, or robbed!
    7. Hospital was closet fix it place
    8. Fighting of going out took over called for ambulance
    9. Made it to hospital 4 stitches implanted.
    10. Laughs and Ribbing from friends and family.
    11. Thankfully return to truck by hospital security!
    12. Went to bed.
    For all the time I have been alive these were the first stitches and the reason for almost passing out was being tired and I had not eaten and I do not enjoy seeing the inside parts of my body. Can not wait for the bill to arrive for this!

  • Fred

    No one cares sugar britches……

  • TheTruth

    This probably would have been a good story if not for the attempts at humor. You really are “not funny”, not even a little bit, and your attempts ruin the story,
    This is not an attack, although I’m sure you’ll take it that way, but merely criticism that should be used to improve what could be a good author.

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