With the title I'm probably having truck drivers collectively shaking their heads at me and saying I've got it backwards, but bear with me here, I'm going into a bit of lecture mode. This month a twitter trucker friend ended up in the ICU with what started as a blood clot in the leg and broke up into several more in his lungs. He was in a truck stop shower at the time when he started feeling like something wasn't right and made it out to the payphones to call 911.
How scary is that? What could've/would've happened if he hadn't made it out to the payphones in time? How long would it have taken someone to check on him? To me that is extremely scary. Hell, I don't even carry my ID with me 95% of the time when I walk into a truckstop/customer/rest area. Anyways, this is happening entirely too much and we're allowing it to occur. Whether it's fighting the clock on the 14 hour rule, allowing dispatch to push us too much, or just plain stupid machismo. Yes, machismo. How many times have you heard drivers bragging about how many miles they go without stopping for food or bathroom breaks? If you happen to be someone like me who does stop approximately every 2-3 hours to stretch and move about, there are always those who think it's cute to point out they arrived somewhere an hour (or less) earlier.
Well, guess what? We're just killing ourselves. Sometimes slowly, other times it's an extended process but we are killing ourselves. The driver I mentioned earlier? Not only were there blood clots, he'd also developed diabetes since his last physical only 5 months prior. Yeah. That quick. And if I'm not mistaken, he's younger than I am.
So here's my lecture/challenge/plea, however you choose to take it: Get out of the truck and stretch your legs by walking at least into the truck stop or where ever minimum every 2-3 hours. Drink water. Lots of water, yes it's a hassle having to stop and pee all the time (try hydrating for a race sometime while driving a big truck, lol) but it'll also help with the stretching and moving. Try cutting out the fried foods at least a bit, maybe starting with one meal per day. Eat more fruits and vegetables, helps with the hydration and damn near everywhere carries apples and oranges now, even McDonalds does. Add in additional exercise, walking, calisthenics, etc. Yes, people are gonna stare. Get over it, they'll stare anyways. Do I even have to mention smoking? Try and cut down a bit and there's absolutely no reason why you can't still add in exercise and eat better while smoking (not ideal but it's a horribly hard habit/addiction to break).
If you don't want to do this for yourselves, at least think about your family. Who's gonna take care of them if you die or are permanently disabled?
Whoa, I've managed to go on a proper rant here but please at least try to add in some of this while you're out on the road. I'm not saying it's easy by any means but it can be done, just takes commitment. Here's a facebook link to the Truckin' Runners group, it's a great place to ask questions and get support. There's also a website in the works posting routes that are easily accessible to us but I'm drawing a blank on the link right now and rushing to get this written. Hopefully someone (Jeff!!!) will email me the link or better yet put it in the comments section.
Be safe everyone!
A bit of an addendum to this post, the driver that was the inspiration for this post messaged me to say that this wasn't a sudden thing, he'd noticed being severely out of breath the week prior and had thought it was just some type of respiratory infection. So please, please, please don't ignore symptoms.
A few more websites
Cool Running Couch to 5k