Had a nice talk with the foreman today, was REALLY hesitant to even mention MS, CCSVI or the like. He was the one I worked under at my last job, when I was in the Alky unit (Alkylation not alcohol haha), requiring us to be rubber suited from head to toe upon entry, heavy thick rubber, you can only imagine what that does to an already barely-treading-water heat stressed brain. I measured my ability to do my job in minutes, before confusion, wooziness, all that great heat stress stuff set in. It was one of the most stressful work situations I've ever had, a body that won't perform, a mind that won't think, and no relief in sight.
As luck would have it, I got transferred out of there into a much more stable and easier job, through no effort of my own, and was able to eke out an existence, thankful every day to be done with the rubber suits from hell.
That was the tail end of 2007, the last time I worked in my trade. 2008, disability, relapse, then of course the fortuitous encounter with some info someone sent me on this Zamboni guy, and the rest is history.
Enter in brand spanking new year 2011, an opportunity to begin work again, at a different site, and as that same luck would have it, the very same foreman, and many of the same coworkers. Now, everyone wants to know, "where the heck ya been for 3 years?". It's gone by so fast, formulating an answer comes off a little, well, lame.
The way things work in the real world is as follows:
1. The employer in general is paying you to perform a function that completes a task that thereby profits the employer, who pays you a wage for said task. Duh.
2. Unfortunately, as I related to same foreman later on in the story, there is no handicapped parking on a construction job. That's reality. Oh sure, people will sigh, pat you on the back, share your plight, heck, they might even do a collection for a time, but in the end, asking for any kind of favoritism, no matter WHAT the reason, is a good way to short circuit any hope of excelling or thriving in the trade. Neither would I ask, so in the end, I never mentioned any of the above shortcomings, "fake it til ya make it" as they say.
So last Friday, I gave this same foreman, who I have a really good rapport with anyways, a copy of my operation video, with a more illustrative introduction for the extreme neophyte.
When I came in this a.m., the first words out of his mouth were, "boy, do I have a lot of questions for you" haha. So we talked a bit during work, then about 30 minutes afterwards, and he was just absolutely amazed at the entire thing. So was I, to FINALLY be able to speak freely, but not in any sense whatsoever of requiring special accomodation etc. etc. Perish the thought!
Rather, I was more keen to go back in time and explain what was really happening back then when I worked under him in that refinery unit that was handcrafted in Haades, and that any shortcomings back then were not by choice, and not because of laziness, or not caring, and I know you had to tell me stuff three times like a little kid, but that's what it took for things to sink in.
His response? "You should have told me, I would have done anything to help you through it " yadda yadda.
I know, but see, when you also have 30 other guys going through the same purgatory, and here's you, Mr. Special, getting the white glove treatment, well, no matter the reason, you lose something that is very precious in the field, Respect of your coworkers. I mean, what do you do, put out a flyer? Wear a sticker on your hardhat that says, "Special Person with Disability, please step aside"?
Now, I know that in other work situations, where physical type labor is not a factor, such issues can be addressed and dealt with in a manner that is favorable to the employee, office work, managerial, whatever.
Such is not the case in my trade. This is about SO much more than punching a clock and collecting a check, it's about providing for your family, it's about the satisfaction that you did the best job you can do, and leaving it behind the gate and going home and celebrating your family, confident in the knowledge that tomorrow will be likewise, and the bottoms not going to fall out, and the body and mind will function the same way, and don't worry about it even a little bit.
So I explained all of the above to him, and he just kept asking more questions, because in our trade, flow of liquids through pipes, going through check valves, restrictions and the like, is in the "no explanation needed" category.
And I really really wanted him to know, that the 2007 version of Mark, is long gone, and Lord willing, aint coming back, and I feel better than I did 8,9, 10 years ago, and all this stuff seems so easy now and effortless. Kinda bored but it's a living haha. A pretty good one at that.
Right now, they have been taking up a collection, and doing fundraisers through my uni0n to support a father of 3, who played football in his younger years, is about my age, and possibly due to the high impact nature of his earlier injuries, now has ALS, with less than a year to live. He's four years younger than me with a beautiful family. He comes to visit the guys often, it's weird for someone to "look normal" and have such a fate that awaits him in less than a years time, and has such a good attitude about it. "Things could be worse" as they say.
This is all about giving back. I'm going to find out if he has any online site set up. I don't think so. Anyone know how to go about something like that? I know hard luck stories are a dime a dozen, but if you saw the pic of him and his three young kids and wife.....
Considering how many CCSVI people had earlier head/neck/whiplash type injuries in their past, makes one think if there could be any dovetailing of CCSVI research that may assist other areas like ALS, granted that we're talking apples and oranges here...
Thanks for letting me ramble. Things couldn't be better. Seriously...
RRMS Dx'd 2007, first episode 2004. Bilateral stent placement, 3 on left, 1 stent on right, at Stanford August 2009. Watch my operation video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cwc6QlLVtko
, Virtually symptom free since, no relap