So we left off Part One with me getting brained by a steel bar, and
stupidlybravely pressing onward.
After I got my load chained down ,with the help of a strapping young man, I went down the road to the truckstop to weigh it.
Fuck. 4000 pounds over on the drives. I have to go back there and get them to move it.
I was back there by one, got the things shifted around, and was going back to the truck stop to get a bit of food into me and prepare for my journey back to Canada. I just needed to get back across the border, then I could go to any hospital. I had a big pack of bandages and a roll of tape, so I was in good shape. It was stuff that I had got from the first aid guy, and he had done it up pretty good with these butterfly strips that he had, but we had used them all by the time I left. The flap of skin wasn’t staying up above my right eye, and I was starting to get a bit worried about how it was going to heal up. My eyebrow was kind of hanging down into my eye, blocking my vision quite a bit, and I had tried to tape it all together, but the blood was making the tape let go. I was also getting a pretty wicked headache. Probably the ibuprofen that the lady in the office was wearing off, and also the adrenaline seemed to be waning. Oh well, I just needed to stay up for another four or five hours, and I was golden.
As I was changing the dressing in the Petro, and getting ready for my trip north, one of our owner-operators came into the washroom. I was quite surprised to see him, mostly because I didn’t know he was in the area. He said that Rudy was worried about me, and asked him to stop in there on his way through. That was pretty nice of Rudy I thought, and I beamed a little at the thought that he actually gave a shit.
I told him I’d be okay, and that I just needed to fix the dressing, and get across the border. He was helping with the bandage when I pulled the old one off.
“You need to see a doctor” He said.
“I’m going to. I’ll be at the hospital by midnight.”
“No. You can’t drive like that. It looks like your skull is cracked, and this isn’t healing. You need stitches.”
He then called Rudy, who forbade me to drive, and asked Mike to take me to the hospital. He did.
When we got to the hospital, we were greeted by picketing employees. I thought we had better go somewhere else, but Mike pulled the truck up to the curb, and we got out. People surrounded me, and Mike tried to intimidate the picketers to leave me alone.
That didn’t work.
While they were telling me not to get admitted to this “scab labour hell”, and saying I should go across town to the other hospital, I pointed to the “Patients, not profits” sign.
“I need help” I said
Then they just opened up and let me through. Easy as piss. They weren’t as friendly with Mike, but he managed to get away when I grabbed his jacket. He tried throwing some insults back at them, but I told him to shut it. I said that they might trash his truck, and they were only trying to protect their jobs. I still get angry by union tactics, but you have to respect the people that are striking. There must be a reason for it. Well, something other than just greed, I hope.
Inside we were greeted by a Canadian triage nurse, a Canadian form hander outer/cleaner, and was whisked in to see a British doctor. (Worker’s Compensation was going to cover this as well, so I was very happy about that.) They were the scab labour, and apparently the only staff on duty. I guess they just travel around to cross picket lines and get paid a phenomenal amount of money to do so. They did all of the cleaning in the ER as well, so they were a three person team that were there to help anyone that needed to be seen. They were also replacing 20+ other positions, and living right there in the hospital. They slept when they could, and were run pretty ragged, but it was apparently worth it.
The doctor was looking at me within fifteen minutes of arriving, and was not impressed with me at all. Apparently he had to cut a bunch of dead tissue from the edges, and then try to stretch it enough to stitch. The whole time he was telling me that I shouldn’t have waited eleven hours to get looked at, and that I shouldn’t drive until the headaches go away.
He asked where I was from, and I told him Ontario. He then started going of about how tough Canadians are, and how he had already treated two of my countrymen this week. The first was a kid in a hockey tournament, who took a puck in the face and had his cheekbone smashed in. His eye was unstable, and then he asked the doctor if he could patch his eye, because he figured he could make the third period.
The second was an older man that was in a car accident and had a broken arm. He just wanted to get a quick sling, and rent a car to go home. The doctor wouldn’t let him, seeing as it was broken in three places.
“Then there’s you.” He said. “You have a concussion, and your eyebrow is torn open and blocking your vision. You can’t control the bleeding, but you want to drive several hours to get home. What are you guys made of up there, steel?”
I said “No, but I can tell you what we’re not made of, and that’s money. I don’t know how much this visit would cost me normally, but if I get across the border, it’s free.”
He said that it would have probably cost me a couple grand to do that visit, but he wouldn’t know for sure. I shudder to think of the costs incurred by something serious, and then I breathe a sigh of relief that I was born in Canada. I have nothing against our neighbours to the south, but I fully believe that we are the luckiest people in the world.
When I was running stateside, I would enjoy seeing the sights, and meeting the people throughout the land, but I always felt a weight lifted off of my essence as I crossed the border to my own country. I’m sure that everyone feels that sense of “home” when they come back from a trip, but mine just seemed so much more important than yours. Like everything was back to where it should be.
I been hangin’ around hospitals, I been learnin’ ’bout dyin’, I been talkin’ to heart doctors, I been workin’ on disease,