For some reason 5:30 seemed a bit early this morning. You’re not feeling like your usual self. “I just need some coffee” you’re thinking. You go inside the truck stop, use the bathroom and freshen up, grab a cup of coffee and head back to the truck for your pre-trip. As you are walking around your truck, you start feeling worse. You begin to sweat and start to feel sick to your stomach. “I wonder if I’ve caught the flu”, you’re thinking. Then, you start having trouble breathing and barely make it back to the truck. You look in the mirror and you’re pale. What is wrong? What should you do?
Many drivers are faced with dilemmas like this one every day and are simply unprepared for the potential health problems of an over the road trucking job. We don’t realize whats happening to our bodies and the changes that take place, the longer we stay out on the road. The sedentary lifestyle of the average trucker takes many lives each and every year and we rarely hear about it.
What’s the big deal, many people ask. Let’s look at just a few examples…..
*Changes in eating habits
*Change in daily excessive
*Changes in sleep pattern
*Stress of being away from family
*Driver who smoke tend to smoke more when behind the wheel
*Unable to refill prescriptions in a timely manner
Some of the problems include:
It’s a catch 22 with many of us. We don’t want to take time off to go to the doctor, but if we don’t go we might miss more work or even worse lose our job. Why aren’t there more medical facilities available to the truck driving community? What can we do?
The average age of mortality for a trucker is quite low when compared to the rest of the general population. Many truckers simply can’t or won’t take care of themselves and those minor symptoms in a timely manner and they end becoming life threatening.
I am not going to go into the details of the above mentioned conditions and problems at this time. I wanted to open the door for thought and discussion. Each topic will be covered thoroughly and separately in the coming articles and I would like each of us to take a look at ourselves and try to recognize where we need help. I will also try to find resources to share with you.
Look… we have enough problems with everything else going on in the trucking world. The last thing we need is to be hearing about our co-workers being found dead in their truck of unexplained reasons. Or worse for our family to be the one to get the call. THIS HAPPENS DAILY, DRIVERS!!! Time to take action, figure out what’s wrong and get treated.
My dear friend and truck driver, Jon Osburn is a passionate man when it comes to driver health. He has been “out in the field ” for the past year, helping drivers and spreading the word about driver health problems and according to a study done by Vanderbilt University, His presence and work in helping drivers has literally saved many lives. Jon is currently the Captain Of the OOIDA Freedom Truck but still has a passion for helping drivers with their health issues by referring them to the appropriate medical personnel that are able to assist them
We have spent quite a bit of time talking to Jon about what he sees on a daily basis and it has really opened our eyes. Listening to him and to the drivers that come to him with various complaints made us realize that it was time we did something to help out. More education and access to resources is needed. We intend to make these things available and to provide a forum in which these things can be discussed.