George & Wendy Show

Wendy Parker

The gall-bladder revelation

| April 09, 2014

So I’ve been thinking really hard about getting my CDL. Don’t worry — I’ll alert you if and when I ever actually do.

I really don’t want to drive for a living. I don’t have the patience or the ability to concentrate on what I’m doing for long enough to accomplish a full day of driving. That’s one of the reasons I was good at nursing – things cracked along at a brisk pace every minute of the shift and I was constantly running. A night-shift nurse in an Ohio nursing home can legally have as many as 50 residents she’s responsible for. I’d like to challenge you to do a medication pass for 50 people who each take an average of seven medications and complete it in a two-hour time frame while not moving along at a brisk pace. Let’s just say I never had a problem controlling my weight when I was a floor nurse.

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I want my CDL in case of emergencies. George had a gall-bladder attack on the way to MATS and I honestly thought he wasn’t going to make it to Louisville. We pulled into a truck stop 50 miles after leaving the house and he spent several hours being completely miserable in the bunk while I wondered if I was going to have to call a cab to get him to the hospital. That’s when I started wishing I had a CDL and knew how to drive the truck, so I could at least get it back home if I had to. If George goes down with an illness or injury, we’re stuck like Chuck. I know eventually Bob or Dennis or Randy or Liam would come get us, but those guys all work like crazy and they’d lose money doing it. Nope. That wouldn’t do. I need to know myself.

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George has encouraged me to get my license for a long time. I’m the one who’s chicken. I really don’t know if I could handle the truck on some of the highways we traveled this time. The winter of death took its toll on the asphalt. Of course, the fact that a great majority of the interstate system was built when my Grandad was my age, and most of it has had nothing but cosmetic overlay since then, contributes hugely to the bombed-out pit of hell we call highways in the vast majority of America. I swear to you, I lost consciousness three times from blunt spinal trauma while riding through Illinois last week. We actually fell into a massive black hole somewhere around Effingham, and made a tear in the space-time continuum, but reversed it all when we came back through a cavern on the other side of Vandalia. (This may or may not be a filthy lie. I blame not being certain on the brain injury I suffered during “Pennsylvania Helmet Tour 2014,” when I lost three teeth and full function of my bladder in an airplane hangar-sized pothole right outside of Wilkes Barre.)

This picture proves two things. (1) I really did pass boards and (2) I should totally dust my office more often.
This picture proves two things. (1) I really did pass boards and (2) I should totally dust my office more often.

So anyway, I’m still debating the possibilities. It’s an expensive undertaking, but it will round out my list of licenses and certifications nicely. I started my collection with a Manicurist license, went on to get a Certified Nursing Assistant license, and parlayed that into a Licensed Practical Nursing certification. In between all my paper jobs, I waited tables and tended bar, so I think I can probably learn to drive a truck. Drunk wrangling can’t be that far away from watching out for texting idiots on the highway, can it? Of course, I never had to wrangle a drunk that weighed 40,000 pounds, so yeah, I’m still thinking about it. In the meantime, I can legally and on true paper give you a manicure, wipe your ass, give you a shot in your ass, serve you a sandwich and make you a mean margarita. Who says vocational education isn’t the best?

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  • Hawkeye

    It would be a no brainer if your running e-logs. You could get a few more miles in a day, or you could get a lot more miles in.

  • James

    Well,you KNOW I’m gonna say you should do it. You’ll gain a lot of peace of mind having a CDL,and so will George.
    My ex was terrified of motorcycles when I met her;through patience and cautious operation I finally got her comfortable enough on the Harley that she even learned how to RIDE it. I wasn’t expecting her to be great at it,but if something ever happened to me on the road I knew she could at least ride to the nearest town for help,and that’s all I wanted. Same with your CDL. Once you have some wheel time,you’ll feel a little more relaxed about driving,and a lot less fearful. George’s stress level will come down,because that’ll be one less thing he needs to worry about. (Actually several things.) Here’s another thought;why not scout up an older truck,to practice in? A “beater”,something you won’t have to worry about hurting while you pick up the skills you need. Once you’re done with it,just drop it off at my place. LOL

  • Loose Cannon

    Wendy, I think this is a great idea, the ‘alerting us’ part! For what it’s worth, I’m a former nail-banger, cab driver, bartender, ‘drunk wrangler’ and skip-tracer; talk about ADD! Go for it!

  • Phil

    Wendy, Obtaining your CDL isn’t as costly as one would think unless you are considering a truck driving school. Which is fine if needed, but not a necessity for all, especially those with resources.
    When you’re back home, stop by your local DMV and pick up the handbook to read and study while you’re on the road. There are some online practice exams which are helpful study aids but all the questions on the exams come from the handbook. Spend the time, it’s worth it!
    Be sure to obtain your DOT medical card before you sit for the exams. When you think you’re ready for the written exams, start with the general knowledge, combination vehicle, and air brake exam first. Passing those will get you your CDL permit. Notwithstanding its not as much to study and remember at one time. You can go back and test for the endorsements later and individually, as long as you complete all the exams within one year of the date of issue on the permit. After you’ve mastered the pre-trip section, are familiar with the truck you plan to use and are confident in your on-road skills, schedule your exam with the DMV and proceed accordingly!
    You have resources and the hardest part licked in that you have a truck to practice with and a CDL driver to provide words of encouragement and ride along with you.
    Blessings!