Missing a day is out of the question

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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.

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“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.


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?”

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.

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