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I was sent home from Celadon Academy...

Topic 17772 | Page 1

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Dockwench's Comment
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...And it wasn't for a surprise on my background check nor was it due to a failed pee screen. Here's the backstory, as succinct as I can make it:.

Week 1, Friday; outdoor pre-trip tutorial/demonstration. I took my instructor at his word when he told us that since he had to be out there (wind tunnel conditions, 28F) we had to be out there. Fair enough - I had prepared as best I could; leggings under double jeans, double socks, hoodies, hats, double gloves and fleece. But I got cold, pretty damned cold, to the point where I was feeling a little loopy and had stopped shivering (bad sign, hypothermia). I hung on a little longer, then mumbled an apology and went inside. I did Wilderness First Responder many years ago, and I recalled a condition called 'paradoxical undressing' wherein the victim paradoxically feels hot, and thus starts removing clothes. Which is exactly what I started doing, upon reaching the hallway - I left a trail of clothes until I think I was down to a pair of leggings and a bra when the head of Security glimpsed me ( hard to miss, right?) I was ushered into a back room and EMS was called.

I am not faulting Celadon, they recognised a problem and addressed it by immediately calling 911. EMS, when informed, did not offer warming fluids or blankets. Maybe they thought I was malingering, but I was naked under a ****ing blanket - I didn't want the damned itchy thing, but I retained some sense of propriety. I opted to stay, I don't know why, but people with hypothermia tend not to be sensible.

I really wish that I had told James - a reasonable guy and patient instructor -well before my condition became so damned melodramatic. It would have saved me much embarrassment, though luckily my fellow students were otherwise occupied. But a good story of a woman stripping travels fast, and who could conceive of such a thing as paradoxical undressing?

I was confused, I mumbled and slurred, and was undoubtedly hyper-emotional for the rest of that day. That evening, I discovered that my closest friend died on the table during a colectomy (colon cancer). Add a little hysteria now, too. I hid for most of the weekend, but Security would occasionally peek in on me to make sure of what, I don't know.

On Monday, I was politely told that the Director, along with Security and one of my instructors needed to see me. I steeled myself. They said that perhaps I was unsuited to complete the course due to my delicate constitution ( my words) and that they advised I go home, to return in March. They wanted to give me every chance of success, and I appreciated that. So I left, wishing I had gotten the offer in writing.

Since I've been home (almost 7 wks), I discovered on Driverapp that Celadon changed my application status to 'Declined'. Also, my dear deceased friend's house is off to probate (ongoing divorce) and I am facing a move into my car (at least it's a wagon, right?) I've no savings, and have burned through unemployment benefits. My CLP will expire in about 2 weeks. I've checked with half dozen other companies, along with Drivers Solutions, but no one is interested because of a recently resolved (in October) license suspension/reinstatement (failure to pay a combined $800 fine - mostly parking tickets from DC). Roadmaster wants a co-signer, but well, he's dead. CR England said yes, but not until after the 18th when a minor accident falls off my MVR. I know, boo ****ing hoo.

So finally I get to my question: should I work up the balls to talk to Celadon about my situation? I'm just a bit disturbed by my 'Declined' status. I have a bunch of warmer, hunting-type clothing now that my friend is gone. The only reason CR England is not really a feasible option is that I have to drive to Fletcher, NC and then back and forth to school - guessed it yet? No insurance, and last week I was pulled over (and let go, thank ****) by a very nice policeman who nonetheless scared the **** out of me. I think he got curious about a WDC Volvo that was driving too slowly....

I guess I just don't want to phone them up to ask a question I don't want to hear the answer to. That yes, three grown men colluded and lied to my face and offered a big juicy carrot to expedite the process.

Sorry this post has been so longwinded - I hope at least some of it was a good story - and I would greatly appreciate any advice and counsel from everyone.

Cheers, Anna

Dm:

Dispatcher, Fleet Manager, Driver Manager

The primary person a driver communicates with at his/her company. A dispatcher can play many roles, depending on the company's structure. Dispatchers may assign freight, file requests for home time, relay messages between the driver and management, inform customer service of any delays, change appointment times, and report information to the load planners.

MVR:

Motor Vehicle Record

An MVR is a report of your driving history, as reported from your state Department of Motor Vehicles. Information on this report may include Drivers License information, point history, violations, convictions, and license status on your driving record.

CLP:

Commercial Learner's Permit

Before getting their CDL, commercial drivers will receive their commercial learner's permit (CLP) upon passing the written portion of the CDL exam. They will not have to retake the written exam to get their CDL.

Rick S.'s Comment
member avatar

Sounds like the drivers license issues (accident, suspension) are what's primarily holding you back from getting on with a bunch of the companies.

"paradoxical undressing" - certainly a new one on me. From what google tells me - that's final stage hypothermia. 28 degrees and layered up - can't see that it would get that bad - but metabolism plays a role in our resistance to environmental conditions also.

If you license situation was SO HORRIBLE - how did you get on with Celadon?

"delicate constitution"? They probably considered you a "problem child", and some kind of accident/liability/harassment lawsuit waiting to happen. I think the stripping/babbling thing would kinda throw me off too. Though I have witnessed incidents of "paradoxical drunken undressing" - which were actually quite welcome.

If you CLP expires - most states will renew at (at least once). If it expires before you find a new gig - leave it be and don't get another one, until you're ready to ship out.

One of the more interesting stories I've heard here, for sure.

Please keep us posted on your progress...

Rick

CLP:

Commercial Learner's Permit

Before getting their CDL, commercial drivers will receive their commercial learner's permit (CLP) upon passing the written portion of the CDL exam. They will not have to retake the written exam to get their CDL.

Fisherman2280's Comment
member avatar

28F got you? It sounds like you overdressed started sweating and then that zapped your heat and you went bonkers.

Sweat in the cold and you die they say. -2 is nothing really.

Good luck.

Brett Aquila's Comment
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I recalled a condition called 'paradoxical undressing' wherein the victim paradoxically feels hot, and thus starts removing clothes

That's your body's last dying attempt at survival which normally happens minutes before you die. I'm from New York where we've spent our lives out in the cold and I've personally never known of anyone getting anywhere near that cold in my life, other than on television. The chances of you almost dying while standing outside of a warm building wrapped in multiple layers on a 28 degree day seems nearly impossible. In fact, rarely does anyone survive that has gotten hypothermic to that point. But what is most telling is:

EMS, when informed, did not offer warming fluids or blankets. Maybe they thought I was malingering

No, they probably thought it was an anxiety attack which is quite common and can cause all sorts of physical problems including partial paralysis, stroke like symptoms, hot flashes, and extreme confusion. If you had been cold enough to be near the point of death the EMS would have probably blasted you full of medicine and rushed you into the hospital where you would have remained for a day or two recovering. You certainly would not have simply warmed up a short while later and been perfectly fine. The body doesn't recover from being physically near death in a few minutes with a hot cup of tea.

So unfortunately you scared the daylights out of your company. You have to look at it from their perspective. You're about to embark on an extremely difficult endeavor where you'll be stressed out, exhausted, and overwhelmed on a regular basis and still expected to handle an 80,000 pound rig safely. They have no way of knowing for sure what happened to you that day but they probably can't risk putting you behind the wheel not knowing what's going on with you. It may have been nothing but how would they know? It's already super risky teaching anyone to drive a big rig but after that episode they probably decided to play it safe and let you go unfortunately. The 'declined' status is obviously not a good thing.

I would take a little time and reassess your desire to drive a rig. I don't know you so there's no way I could possibly have an opinion on it but you have to ask yourself if you're confident that you're cut out for this and is it really what you want to do? To be clear, most people are not cut out for this line of work. The dropout rate for new drivers is horrifying to be honest.

I know that above all else a truck driver has to be able to handle anything that gets thrown at them - stress, exhaustion, snowstorms, traffic Downtown in the largest cities in the country, and some close calls where maybe only luck kept you from getting killed. You have to handle all that on a constant basis and keep moving forward, steady as a rock. The lives of everyone around you will be in your hands. You really have to make sure you're at the top of your game and that you're willing and able to handle all that. It's obviously life or death out there.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.

OWI:

Operating While Intoxicated

Old School's Comment
member avatar

I totally agree with Brett on this. I think you kind of gave them a reason to pause and have second thoughts about your ability to manage such a high stress job at the level that is going to be expected of you. What you said here shows me that you understood what happened, and how it turned against you...

I really wish that I had told James - a reasonable guy and patient instructor -well before my condition became so damned melodramatic.

It is really hard for new entry level drivers to understand the level of both physical and mental discipline it takes to do this job at the high level of performance it requires to be successful at it. We tell people all the time that when you go to a company orientation it is like a weeks long interview process. One of the major things they are watching you for is your reactions to various situations. A person's reactions often tell you a lot about them. Do they sulk if things aren't going their way? Do they get angry easily? Do they quickly go to screaming and throwing a fit if things don't happen the way they thought they should? Are they timid? Are they brazenly and rash with their responses to circumstances that are beyond their control? All of these types of things indicate something of a person's personality and their reasonable likelihood of success out here on the road.

I have no way of knowing what actually took place for you out there, but it seems a little bizarre that you would have such an extreme reaction to those temperatures. It almost makes me wonder if you might have some sort of a thyroid malfunction going on, but that is only a wild guess. As a flat-bedder I work in extreme weather conditions all the time, and I can assure you that this sort of reaction was over the top, and not really "normal" for the average healthy person. I think you should seek some medical advice from a physician and see if you can get to the bottom of this.

I know you are strapped right now, but I think you have got to re-focus and get yourself on your feet financially by doing some other type of work right now. Don't go into trucking when you are totally broke - it is not a good plan. Every rookie struggles financially at the start, and it is just not a good way to start this career. See if a doctor can help you determine if there is something physically wrong that would cause such and extreme reaction, and if so get that tended to. Make sure you are healthy, put together a little savings, and then try this again if it really is something you want to try.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.

OWI:

Operating While Intoxicated

Vendingdude's Comment
member avatar

How long were you out there? 15 minutes or two hours? Big difference.

If this was in Indianapolis, and seven weeks ago, the temps were in the thirties with 10mph winds. Of course, that was the day after Thanksgiving, so maybe you meant December 2, when it was 20mph winds (you called it wind tunnel after all) and temps in the teens. If all you were doing was standing/talking/listening and not moving, I'm not sure I'd last either. That brings it down to almost zero with wind chill factored in.

Dockwench's Comment
member avatar

Thank you, Vending Dude, for some validation; but thanks too to Brett and Old School for their sage if hard-nosed advice. It was the second week of December, temp about 28F, and we were standing around doing pre-trip and the wind was funneling through a structure I cannot describe. Anyway, very prescient of you, Old School, to pick up on thyroid - no problems there - but I was (juice) fasting, foolish I know, for about two weeks. What can I say 'cept I like a certain fit in my jeans and running in Indianapolis wasn't achieving my goal quickly enough.

I acknowledge and accept Celadon's purely business decision regarding me; hell, I've read stories on this forum of people sent packing during orientation for other offenses. What I find worrisome is what Rick said, being labeled a 'problem child,' and having this moniker follow me elsewhere - if such a blacklist exists. I have carefully considered this career/lifestyle change for over a year now, and whilst I was in school for that week I approached my training with utter seriousness and calm determination. Yep, I did lose my **** and was ill-prepared in my Salvation Army pickings; not to sound callous, but now that I have my dead friend's Carhartt gear, my hope is that the next time I should do just fine.

Patrick R.'s Comment
member avatar

That has to defiantly be the most interesting story I have read on these forums yet. Smart thinking though on what you did I likely would have just kept standing out there like a fool lol. But to be fair here in NC when its 28F I still wear a t-shirt or a light longsleeve. While I don't have much great advice to offer in this situation I would say apply for all the companies you can, Hopefully you can get in soon but worst case its not to far from the 18th so you may not have to wait to long.

Brett Aquila's Comment
member avatar
my hope is that the next time I should do just fine

Our obvious concern for your situation has nothing to do with the weather outside. What we're saying is if you're going to embark on something that is very risky and you're going to take the lives of the people around you into your own hands then you have to be super rock solid in extreme circumstances.

The stories any veteran driver can tell of the countless close calls they've had and the times where they were only lucky to make it out alive would shake most people to the core. In fact, many a driver has walked away immediately and permanently from trucking after their first real close call. Come within fractions of a second of being sent off a bridge or running over top of someone's family and your character will be revealed. You're either going to roll on strong or come unglued. If you come unglued instead of making a calm, logical decision with only fractions of a second to spare then people die. I know you know that already.

So again, we don't know you well enough to know if you're cut out for this or not. Maybe you'll be amazing and your diet was too extreme - simple as that. I don't know, I'm not pretending to. What I'm saying is that you have to really take a hard look in the mirror and make sure you're able to handle the extreme responsibility you're about to take on. If so, fantastic! We'll support you all the way. But once you get out there it gets real immediately. There's no faking it in trucking. You came unglued at school and to this moment you're not entirely sure why. No one is. So it's a super tough situation. Just take an honest look in the mirror for as long as it takes to be confident in your decision and then do what you feel is the right move for your career.

Rick S.'s Comment
member avatar
What I find worrisome is what Rick said, being labeled a 'problem child,' and having this moniker follow me elsewhere - if such a blacklist exists.
I was confused, I mumbled and slurred, and was undoubtedly hyper-emotional for the rest of that day. That evening, I discovered that my closest friend died on the table during a colectomy (colon cancer). Add a little hysteria now, too. I hid for most of the weekend, but Security would occasionally peek in on me to make sure of what, I don't know.

You kinda have to look at it from their point of view. Runs off the pad babbling & stipping clothes off. EMS finds no health issues. Gets the bad news about her BFF, does the fetal ball thing for the weekend.

I'm not trying to be callous here - just - take an objective look at this, as if you were running a trucking company and one of your new recruits displayed this kind of behavior.

They (CELADON) might have done you a FAVOR by marking you APPLICATION DECLINED. I'd contact them - depending on how long you were there - as in - attended orientation, but was NEVER HIRED - you might not even have to list them as an "employer" - if you weren't ACTUALLY AN EMPLOYEE.

If CRE is willing to take you on after the 18th, that might be your NEXT MOVE.

OR - as Brett and OS noted - you REALLY NEED TO DO SOME SOUL SEARCHING AND DECIDE IF YOU ARE READY FOR THIS. Emotionally, physically and otherwise. Sounds like you need to take A STEP BACK - gather your wits, get a little more stable financially (like, as in, not living in your car and dumpster diving for meals). That's NO WAY to start a new career - especially one as stressful and potentially dangerous as trucking.

Best of luck...

Rick

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