dis·pos·a·ble adjective—designed for or capable of being thrown away after being used or used up: (“the definition of disposable,” n.d.). This came from Dictionary.com based on Random House. At that website, there are two other definitions, but the relevance for this essay. A bit of backgrounder for why this subject becomes personal. This author is 49 years old at composition time; having been out of the workforce for over 5 years now after Transportation series of jobs, (it would be generous to call it a career after only 5 years). The trucking business is notorious for being difficult on one’s health; it certainly was on mine. One of the big issues in the business is a lack of consistent sleep, which leads to many diseased problems down the road.
Driving performance unswervingly worsens in sleep-loss states and is influenced by circadian rhythm and time on task. Maintenance of lane position, reaction time, steering, and speed deviation all worsen in sleep-loss states. The prevalence of obstructive sleep apnea among longhaul truck drivers varies from 28-78% of the trucker brotherhood, much higher than the prevalence rate of 2% to 4%reported in the general population studies (Heaton & Rayens, 2010, p. 137).
I had a rollover accident in March 2008 in Wayne County IN. It was a snowy night and the load started in Indianapolis, picked up in Hartford City IN, and scheduled to deliver in Columbus OH the next day 104 miles away from where it all essentially ended. Once you roll a truck over, that is the end of your primary driving career. While the facts weren’t known, sleep apnea played a major role as I was fighting sleep during the whole episode, and was trying to get to the Love’s Truck Stop in Richmond to end the night. Passing a Wal-Mart Supercenter and a small truck stop in Lynn, IN. There ended up three different stints with trucking companies that were unfulfilling and didn’t last. The Department Of Transportation requires a level of fitness to drive that involves blood pressure, sugar levels, vision, et cetera. I did manage with medicines to stay legal and fit for the road; this hid some disturbing medical issues I am dealing with today. Morbid obesity has been an issue for at least the past 10 years. When I started, my weight was about 283 lbs. and I’m 5’7” which equates to a Body Mass Index of 40, where 30 is considered Obese. The last scale weight was 415 lbs. or BMI of 59. Contrary to popular belief and legend, I did not spend my nights at truck stop buffets on a regular basis; in fact, it was maybe once a month. Truck stop/travel center buffets are generally outdated limited to the TA and Petro chains and scattered independents nationwide. However, you are still eating out nightly and healthy choices were not as widespread then as they are now. I have most of the symptoms of Type 2 Diabetes, such as excess thirst, frequent urination, and constant hunger (“Diabetes mellitus type 2,” 2014). In addition, my eyesight has gotten worse, have leg ulcers, constant headaches, general fatigue, and major foot maladies. According to all of my doctors, I am considered Disabled. The local transit authority and state of North Carolina DMV concurs. The tragedy here is that the Federal Government, using North Carolina as its agent, decided on two occasions that I was not disabled, therefore ineligible for healthcare, funds, and other services. I personally know people who have received Disability for lesser symptoms and much less, drama was involved, but North Carolina is one of the 25 states that did not take the expanded Medicaid for political (Republican) reasons. For me to get Medicaid and help that the rest of the civilized America gets, I would have to move 250 miles to West Virginia of all places, 450 miles to Maryland or Kentucky, or 600 miles to Arkansas as the closest locales. NC and every state that touches it is under the same Republican grip of denying benefits to citizens because of who the president is or another reason they will proclaim which flies in the face of reality.
Who is going to hire that person, even if he has an Einstein type brain? I am not implying that I am even close to his level, just making a statement. There are laws against age and health discrimination; if a company doesn’t want to hire you, a reason will be made up of thin air and can get around all of this, NC is an at-will state, therefore, hiring and firing decisions can be made with or without a reason unless under contract. Werner Enterprises in Georgia decided that I was not worthy of their company by crating bogus medical claims for denying fitness that local doctors couldn’t see. In trucking, you can have a valid license and medical card (now combined in most states), but each company will insist on their own medical exam (only 2 of the 9 companies that I went to orientation used existing medical cards) and use it as a Weed Out process, nothing to do with drug tests which are automatic and lawful. The next plan was to increase my educational footprint. I earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Hotel and Restaurant Management from Auburn University many moons ago and decided that an MBA was the new BS degree in the marketplace. Found a way to attend school and not deal with the Graduate Management Admission Test that traditional schools, including Auburn and UNC Charlotte, require to get into their graduate MBA programs. In October 2011, I achieved my Masters of Business Administration w an Information Systems specialty from Ashford University. That went nowhere, so further schooling ensued with the last of these courses ending in June of this year. Altogether, I have three graduate degrees and no job, career, or hope of that fact changing. The legality of employment deserts for 40 something and beyond is such that only first-person narratives exist in the wild. Reaching out to “experts” that can get you a job in this economy, well all these people want to do is sell you their manuals that are ideal, but do not really work. Wouldn’t it be refreshing if someone in Human Resources would come right out and say, you are unemployable, and here are the reasons why? That person would be sued out of existence for being honest; grown adults such as me can take it.
Franklin Delano Roosevelt was one of our country’s greatest presidents and certainly before my time on earth. He has many quotes attributed to him that stand the test of time, here is one: True individual freedom cannot exist without economic security and independence. People who are hungry and out of a job are the stuff of which dictatorships are made (“Franklin D. Roosevelt Quotes at BrainyQuote.com,” n.d.). Some factions of the populace are more than content to command total control over other people’s livelihoods, and by making older workers who can still get the job done equivalent to soiled toilet paper serves their ends.
Full circle has arrived and a return to the definition of Disposable by reminder: designed for or capable of being thrown away after being used or used up: (“the definition of disposable,” n.d.). Could it be that The Powers That Be / 1% have no more use for anyone over 40 that manage to lose their job, regardless of fault? Cast aside a whole generation of late Baby Boomers/early Baby Bust like Kitty Litter as a means of creating a docile permanent underclass? Ignore the rule of law for corporate personhood, oh wait, we already have that (“Corporate personhood,” 2014)? Even levels of government enter this Matrix by only playing lip service to Citizen Services, denying Medicaid because it can, or because of conflict of interest with medical personnel who will say whatever the person that pays them want to hear.
Corporate personhood. (2014, July 13). In Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. Retrieved from http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Corporate_personhood&oldid=616377824
the definition of disposable. (n.d.). Dictionary.com. Retrieved from http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/disposable?s=t
Diabetes mellitus type 2. (2014, July 13). In Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. Retrieved from https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Diabetes_mellitus_type_2&oldid=614674578
Franklin D. Roosevelt Quotes at BrainyQuote.com. (n.d.). BrainyQuote. Retrieved from http://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/quotes/f/franklind134721.html
Heaton, K., & Rayens, M. (2010). Feedback actigraphy and sleep among long-haul truck drivers. AAOHN Journal, 58(4), 137–145. doi:10.3928/08910162-20100329-01