Wednesday, April 16, 2008

More Adventures

Never a dull moment. Having picked up some sort of virus somewhere between Colorado, Minnesota, and Missouri, I have become increasingly ill over the past week. Finally after criss-crossing my way to Eden, North Carolina (which is the awesome quaint town that's a bugger to get to) I finally got my load going home (Palm Springs, CA this time) a straight shot down I-40 from North Carolina to California. After being set back by some technical problems with the trailer, I was running behind so I pulled an all-night shift from Arkansas to New Mexico (the stars over Texas and New Mexico at night are amazing by the way), but by the time I crossed the border into New Mexico I was becoming seriously ill. Sinus, nose, throat, lungs, ears - the works. My ears and been building and releasing pressure as I went up and down the hills, but eventually my right ear stopped draining and started just building pressure. By the time I was 50 miles from Albuquerque the pain became unbearable and was accompanied by increasing vertigo. Vertigo sucks when your standing still, it's even worse when trying to drive a several ton truck. Despite my determination to get this load done on time with no further complications, I couldn't ignore the danger any longer. I made the call and told my dispatch I was looking for an Urgent Care facility. I ended up going to the ER at a local hospital in Albuquerque. Several hours later I was diagnosed with a respiratory virus, a sinus infection, and vertigo and given some prescriptions along with instructions not to drive until checked out by my home doctor. Don't drive. Sure. No problem. Uhhhh....so how exactly do I get to my home physician if I can't drive? My fleet manager shared my frustration (probably adding some of her own) and the office people went to work trying to figure this one out. Meanwhile a husband-wife team with the same company who happened to be in Albuquerque rescued the load and took it on to California while I hung out waiting for the verdict from the office. And then it came. Now, this sounded weird to me at first too, so bear with me.
Since I have not accrued enough sick / disability leave, and since the doctor did not indicate how long I would be out of the driver seat, the company has suggested the following: I am to resign my position at the company (to be re-instated as soon as I get a Doctor's approval), move out of my truck (imagine moving out of a very small apartment), they will give me some money to help get me home, and then I can recover, get the doctor's OK, and be re-hired. Weird, huh? but it kinda makes since. Obviously there were a ton of other questions and considerations that had to be sorted out, but it looks like tomorrow morning I will be packing up and headed home minus my truck for a little unpaid sick leave. In a lot of ways this is frustrating beyond measure and I keep rehearsing the events to see if i could have done something different, but in the end I made the best call I could. A dizzy truck driver is not a good thing. In some ways though this is a welcome break. This last three weeks has been pretty stressful and rough and this arrangement came with a verbal assurance that the company valued me as an employee and wanted me to stay, so that at least was a relief to hear after being on the edge of my seat for the last three weeks because of my previous screw ups. I look forward to a quick recovery and a better time of it in the future, but as always, we'll see what happens and deal with it as it does.

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