It’s been a while since I’ve made a post, but with good reason. The last 5-6 weeks have been a roller coaster of changes, emotions and unexpected twists.
To really understand what has been going on, you would have had to read my personal Facebook profile page. But, I’ll bring you up to speed here too.
About 6 weeks ago, my dad had a stroke. At the time, it was said to be mild and it was caught in time, so there was no major damage done. He lost vision in his right eye, couldn’t move his right side and his memory was shot. Dad spent some time in ICU, then eventually got discharged to go home after he made some improvements.
Murphy’s Law Strikes
As you may know, I’m a truck driver. When I got the call from my mom, I was 600 miles away just outside of Harrisburg, PA on my way to a delivery in Lansing, MI. From the moment I hung up the phone, I began to think about just getting home ASAP. Also, in those thoughts, I was contemplating leaving the OTR trucking life for good. I didn’t want to be clear across the country if my dad passed away.
As if Murphy didn’t want me to get home, I had a few delays that put me over the edge. Long story short, I was hauling a load of bananas, and usually those get priority and you can deliver as soon as you show up. Or, so I thought. I checked in, only to be told I had to wait until morning to deliver. Morning comes, I check back in as early as I could, and I get a door assignment. But, it doesn’t go that smoothly. The door I was given still had a trailer in it, so I had to wait 45min. for a yard driver to pull the trailer.
The trailer finally gets moved, I get backed into the door, and I expected unloading to start ASAP. Wrong. Another hour passes, nothing. 6 other trucks that came in after me are unloaded and gone. Another 30min pass and finally, unloading begins. In another 30min. I’m empty and leaving my delivery.
Since I couldn’t deadhead back home from there, 300 some miles, I got another load that picked up an hour away. I headed to that load, only to get delayed again. The trailer I had needed the tandems slid back, but a pin fell out of the mechanism that allows me to do that. So, I had to figure something out instead of waiting for 2-4hrs for a service truck. I found a decent substitute to use as a pin, put it in, and got the tandems slid back. 30 min. later.
I get that trailer dropped, pick up my loaded trailer and boogie on down the road. I was doing every bit of the 65mph my truck was governed at so I could get to my terminal in Columbus, OH in the same day. With minutes to spare because of back roads and traffic, I made it in time.
So much for making it a short story. Anyhow, as I was driving to Ohio, my dad and leaving my company kept going through my mind. And no matter what scenario I thought of, I kept going back to leaving, coming off the road, and staying local.
Changes Had to be Made
Now, I’m at the terminal, dropping the trailer I had so someone else to take it to New Jersey. What decision did I come to? Well, I left the road for good. The same day I got back, I turned my truck in, cleaned it out, loaded up my car, and left the terminal for the last time.
The decision was easy, but difficult at the same time. If that makes sense. Easy in that my dad was in the hospital, and I could have lost him, but I would have been miles away. I would have been devastated. At the same time it was a hard decision, because the money was good and I got “paid to travel.” But, money can’t replace the memories I’ve missed with my kids, the relationships that didn’t work out because of my job, and most importantly, the days I could spend hanging out with dad.
After I left the OTR gig, I went home, checked in on dad, and spent some time to regroup and figure out what I would do next. Ultimately, I went back to an old employer running local again. So now, I’m home every day, off on the weekends and have decent health insurance. Most importantly, I get more time with my kids, friends and family.
Dads Last Days
After I came home, dad was improving. He started getting his vision back, most of his mobility and he was getting memory care. We were sure he was going to be okay for a few more years.
But, less than a month later, he had a major stroke. So bad the hospital had him sedated for over a week. Time went by and the doctors determined he wasn’t going to recover. My dad always said, and put it in his will, he never wanted machines to keep him alive. Just let him go if there’s no chance he’ll recover. Arrangements were made and he was taken off support and transferred to the local Hospice. The same day they moved him, he passed away hours later.
It just kills me, the last memory I have of my dad was seeing him how he never wanted to be, tied up to a bunch of machines to keep him alive. I wanted to see him once he was transferred, but it was too late. What also breaks my heart is that I never got to thank him for all he did for me, and the lessons he taught. He was a great man. A little gruff sometimes, but still great.
Where Do I Go from Here?
I’ll do exactly what my dad would want me to do, move forward, set goals and live out my dreams. Be the best dad I can be to my kids, and the best man I can be to my partner.
So, 1000+ words later, I want to let you all know, I’ll be in the process of writing more now that I’m home, probably post past photos from my travels, and go to new places when I can to have more stories to write.
I’m most likely going to work on a series of short posts with a few photos of the things my little big town of Dayton, OH has to offer, as well as other destinations and attractions in Ohio. Eventually, we (my girlfriend, kids and I) will be enjoying the RV life, but adulting and responsibilities take priority right now.
So, stick around, bookmark the page, share it and keep up to date with our adventures, finding our St. Somewhere!