Tuesday, June 24, 2008

First Time.

First times. We don't get many of those. First times are often memorable. This Friday past my wife had CHEMO for the first time. (actually two Fridays ago)

Her father drove out from Jersey so he could take her to her first chemo session. He went through it last year, he knows from chemo.

It's strange how they have bonded over this. Chemo shared.

Friday night, when it was all over and I had returned from work we all sat out on the patio. My father-in-law had prepared his world famous potato salad. He also brought a ten pound roll of Taylor Ham and some of the best kielbasi you have ever tasted. The kielbasi is from a Polish butcher down in Garfield, New Jersey.

We fired up the grill. Did I mention that he also brought a twelve pack of beer?

I have to finish this later. My brain don't work so good these days.

Okay. I'm finishing this now. It's Saturday, June 28th and I'm finishing this post.

Hey Tommy. Better late than never, huh bro?

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

No Reason.

What a friggin' week this has been. It's only Wednesday. The Mutt got fixed. He wasn't broken but he got fixed. He has a cone. He's pissed off.

My wife had a CAT SCAN and a BONE SCAN today. She had to drink the dye last night and again this morning. She had to drive herself because I had to work. Her father arrives tomorrow afternoon. He will take her to her first Chemo session on Friday. She's sleeping right now. Me and the Baby Girls are cleaning up around here some.

Five hours overtime so far this week. I'll get two more hours O.T. tomorrow. I'm a little tired but that's okay. I cried in the truck today. I was pulling up a big hill in fourth gear. Flashers on, riding in the far right truck lane. I just started crying like a little friggin' idiot for no reason at all. Well, I have reasons. It's just that the truck is not the place to cry.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Of Alpine Trucking and Cancer.

Can't believe it's been almost a month since I last wrote anything. I have over sixty e-mails in my in box. Been busy. Driving full time now. Pittsburgh runs in the wee hours. Pittsburgh runs during the day. The early morning runs are better. It's quiet. No traffic.

A Johnstown run last week ran on for over fifteen hours. I broke down on 422 and had to wait for three hours. They brought me a different tractor and hauled the first one back to The Dock. I went on from there to make my three stops. After my last stop I had to head down to Roaring Spring and pick up a full load of spring water. Twenty-two pallets, twenty-eight cases per pallet, six gallons per case. That was a heavy load. Low and slow back up the mountain on 220/99 to exit 28. Route 22 west from there.

I'm making good money these days. Better than I was at least. Last check included over three hundred dollars in overtime, plus my straight forty hour rate. This check will be about the same. It's a good thing, the overtime, with my wife unable to work these days. Medical bills are close to a hundred thousand over the last ten months when this all started. The insurance is covering most of it. I have no idea what we'll have to lay out yet. Time will tell I'm sure. I'm really not too worried about that. If I don't have it, they ain't gettin' it.

They installed a port for the chemo in her chest yesterday. It sits more on the front of her right shoulder than on her chest. It hurts her. She's not happy about this. I guess the chemo starts next week some time. We'll find out on Monday. The insurance company said they will pay up to five hundred dollars for a wig but it has to come from a medical supply place. Every medical supply place we have called so far does not carry wigs. The insurance company said that a wig is considered a prosthetic device so it has to come from a medical supplier. How friggin' stupid is that? I guess that's the "Catch-22" for the insurance people.

Six months of chemotherapy. That's what is happening now. Six months. I installed an A/C unit in the living room last weekend. I cut a hole in the wall, framed it out and trimmed it up real nice. At least she can be comfortable, temperature and all. I put one in our bedroom and one in the upstairs bathroom too. The upstairs bathroom in this drafty old house is very large. It was actually a kitchen at one time. We always just had one window unit and we would put it in the guest room. The guest room is an extra room we have, it has no bed but we have air mattresses. Anyway, the girls would crash in there on really hot nights. That unit is now in our room and the girls can crash in the living room if they want to sleep with the air on.

Last night I had the midnight Pittsburgh run. Fox Chapel Community Market is the first stop. After that I follow the river north to the Purple Bridge. Up the hill and turn right at the S&T bank by the flashing light, just across from Oakmont Country Club. Down the hill, wind around and turn right into the lot for the Verona Community Market. Unload and pull away from the dock. The dock at that store is in pretty bad shape. The lot is a big mud hole and it's a tight cut to back in. Always glad to get that one out of the way. Fox Chapel is harder to back into but at least the lot is paved. Community Market in Verona, that's where I usually hang for a few minutes and eat my lunch. Last night was nice and cool. It was a nice lunch.

Wind back around. Wind back up the hill. Last night I had to stop at the top because a coal train was passing. I set the brakes and lit a cigarette. I was thinking how cool would it be to listen to some jazz while the coal train passes. Instead I had Toby Keith singing about "she's a hottie". I turned the radio off and listened to the train. It was better than "she's a hottie". Now I like Toby Keith. I just don't think that's one of his better songs. So the train passes and it's under the overpass and back up the blinking light. Hang a right and Jake all the way down the big long hill towards 366. Next stop, Community Market in Lower Burrell. That's an easy dock to back into. It's an easy stop all the way around. Head towards Tarentum and the other river. Cross that bridge looking towards Natrona but stay on 56 to 28 north.

Hit the highway runnin'. Music crankin', coffee sloshing all over the dash while I light a cigarette and run her up through all the gears with my right foot on the floor. The forty-eight foot trailer is much lighter now. Now it's fun to drive, less like work. Say goodbye to Pittsburgh as the sun comes blazing through the windshield. Flip the visor down. Start thinking about a good place to take a nap 'cause I got some time to kill.

It's a living. Somebody has to do it.