Diagnosis on the road

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I was talking to my friend Kari Fisher from the Missing Truck Driver Alert Network yesterday, and we were commenting on the sorry state of medical services available for people who actually live on the road, with no fixed address. (Side note: if you haven’t checked the MDAN page, go do it. They’re good people doing good things, helping families find their loved ones.) She mentioned that someone asked her what truckers who live on the road do when they’re sick and she told them that most of the time, they suffer.

Self-treatment on the road is the norm, you learn to take care of incidentals without the aid of professional care along the way. Unless your wife is a nurse, that is. Then you ask her what to do and refuse to do it while complaining about your ailment.

About five minutes after I got done talking to Kari, George called.

“Smell your sock and call me in the morning!”“Smell your sock and call me in the morning!”

“I think I have an ingrown toenail.”

Nurse mode kicks in.

“What makes you think it’s ingrown? Is it swollen? Red? Hot to the touch?”

“It hurts.”

“How does it hurt? Is it achy? Sharp, shooting pains? Constant burn?”

“It just hurts, I don’t know. It’s sore. Never mind, it’s not that big a deal.”

“People have died from ingrown toenails. King Tut probably died from an ingrown toenail that got infected.”

“That’s not true.”

“It could totally be true.”

“Just forget it. It was hurting and there was some stuff on my sock when I took it off last night. No big deal.”

“Was the stuff on your sock yellow? Did it stink? If it stinks, you need to put some antibiotic ointment on your toe. Did you smell it?”

“I’m getting off the phone now.”

“I’m serious, you need to smell it. Smell it and put some stuff on it the next time you stop.”

“I’m not smelling my dirty sock. I’ll see you in the morning.”

“Seriously, take care of your toe…and smell the sock!”


Sometimes, medical advice goes unheeded on the road.

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