Out Of The Hospital (finally) - Heavy Lifting Restrictions?!?!?!

Topic 14410 | Page 1

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Rick S.'s Comment
member avatar

I kinda hinted last week on another discussion, that I was headed into the hospital to get some hernias fixed. Was "supposed to be" a 2 hour outpatient surgery, arthroscopic with the robot. Turned into a 5 hour nightmare - with a 4 day stay in the hospital afterwards

3 hernias turned into 6, with a bunch of adhesions along a previous surgery scar that had to be cleaned up. My surgeon told me "you owe me a massage", when he came up the next day - because he spent so much time hunched over the robot (and had 2 surgeries before and one after mine).

Anyways - no complications during the surgery (except a lot more work involved than was assumed initially).

But here's where the problem comes in.

Doc expects a full recovery - as in, it should all heal nicely. But he told me "no heavy lifting". I was like, "yeah - for 6-8 weeks". His response was "no, like, FOREVER".

Apparently, my groin is held together by 2 large mesh patches, as well as the rest of the repair work that was done.

I "might" be able to lift 30-50 lbs after all is said and done (though he thinks 50 might be pushing it).

How is this going to affect my potentially getting a hire as a company driver? I was NOT PLANNING on doing flatbed. Reefer or dry van.

I know many companies have an "agility test", as part of their physical process - which requires lifting a certain amount of weight, carrying it a certain distance and placing it on a shelf at a certain height.

I didn't get this surgery because the hernias were really bothering me (aches once in awhile), but to get them fixed so I wouldn't show up for a company physical with a double-groin hernia, and a big bulge on my belly. I figured to take care of all my outstanding health issues (while I have good insurance), so I could bail out of here and into driving with no physical issues.

Did I just SCREW MYSELF out of a planned career move?

I mean - I could have NOT gotten the surgery. There was nothing "life threatening" or "emergent" about the hernias (despite them being a lot worse than we initially thought they were). I never planned on getting on a dedicated account (Dollar G or the like) that would require a hand-unload scenario.

I'm back driving a 4-wheeler already (a little sore getting in and out). In a couple of months, I'm sure I'll be able to pull a 5th wheel/tandem release.

Am I really looking at just trashing my plans to retire from computers into trucking?

Needless to say, I'm a little UPSET about that prospect. I've been trying to clean up my personal, business and health stuff so I could bail out and drive.

Thoughts?

Rick

Tandem:

Tandem Axles

A set of axles spaced close together, legally defined as more than 40 and less than 96 inches apart by the USDOT. Drivers tend to refer to the tandem axles on their trailer as just "tandems". You might hear a driver say, "I'm 400 pounds overweight on my tandems", referring to his trailer tandems, not his tractor tandems. Tractor tandems are generally just referred to as "drives" which is short for "drive axles".

Dry Van:

A trailer or truck that that requires no special attention, such as refrigeration, that hauls regular palletted, boxed, or floor-loaded freight. The most common type of trailer in trucking.

Reefer:

A refrigerated trailer.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.
G-Town's Comment
member avatar

Hey Rick...damn dude. That really stinks.

Your question was:

I know many companies have an "agility test", as part of their physical process - which requires lifting a certain amount of weight, carrying it a certain distance and placing it on a shelf at a certain height.

I can only speak for what I know first hand, Swift did not require me to lift anything during any physical. None of what you shared should affect your ability to safely drive. A possible issue though is cranking the landing gear. Some of the older trailers are very stubborn, have required me to crank with both arms and my back,...and yes, in low gear. Although it doesn't happen often, it has happened a couple of times per month. Of equal difficulty can be pulling the tandem pin lock. Some of the springs are really tough, some of the mechanisms are old, requiring some force to pull. I had one break off in my hand once... Driving a tanker could be an option, at least you wouldn't need to worry about sliding the tandems because they are fixed.

I would have no way of accurately measuring torque force required to perform the above tasks, but I would bet it's greater than 50 pounds. My suggestion is once you are healed, discuss it with your Doctor. Maybe there is a way of strengthening the surrounding muscle tissue to support the repair. I don't know. Straight trucks might be an option, but the options I am aware of require some level of physical exertion.

Really sorry to hear of your setback. I sometimes take my health for granted, count my blessings when I hear about this sort of thing. Best wishes for a speedy recovery.

Tandems:

Tandem Axles

A set of axles spaced close together, legally defined as more than 40 and less than 96 inches apart by the USDOT. Drivers tend to refer to the tandem axles on their trailer as just "tandems". You might hear a driver say, "I'm 400 pounds overweight on my tandems", referring to his trailer tandems, not his tractor tandems. Tractor tandems are generally just referred to as "drives" which is short for "drive axles".

Tandem:

Tandem Axles

A set of axles spaced close together, legally defined as more than 40 and less than 96 inches apart by the USDOT. Drivers tend to refer to the tandem axles on their trailer as just "tandems". You might hear a driver say, "I'm 400 pounds overweight on my tandems", referring to his trailer tandems, not his tractor tandems. Tractor tandems are generally just referred to as "drives" which is short for "drive axles".

Daniel B.'s Comment
member avatar

This worries me. I like you a lot Rick but I'll be honest with you bud. I agree with G on the above except the tanker part (tanker work is physical work for the most part, scratch that one off).

What also gets me is that you'll have to climb into the trailer for whatever reason (sweep trailer, get load locks, etc) and those load locks can be on there real tight. Also, when you brace the load locks it could sometimes be a struggle to get them braced tightly enough to secure the load.

Not to mention that dang landing gear. Thats by far the most physical part of OTR but it sure is a giant pain and extremely physical.

I think you can do it, but you'll have plenty of struggles along the way and will definitely find yourself using more force than the doctor would ever allow.

OTR:

Over The Road

OTR driving normally means you'll be hauling freight to various customers throughout your company's hauling region. It often entails being gone from home for two to three weeks at a time.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.
Brett Aquila's Comment
member avatar

Yeah, I think you'll be able to do it. You'll just have to be careful and once in a while you might have to throw someone $10 or $20 to help you out with something quick.

But the trucking industry is loaded with people that make me wonder how they're even still alive. There are plenty of people who couldn't even see a 50 pound box at their feet let alone actually pick it up. There will be plenty of jobs with no-touch freight and I'm sure you can get creative once in a great while if you need a hand with something.

Rick S.'s Comment
member avatar

Yeah. I figure, tanker work, with dragging hoses, and climbing, etc., is the second most physical type of trucking, next to flatbed.

For that reason, it was pretty much a segment of the industry that I also had not considered, for that reason. Not really looking to do physical work, even if my health situation wasn't an issue.

The doctor had specifically mentioned lifting, so I am assuming that that would be the only restriction at this point, that he was considering.

Rick

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.
Old School's Comment
member avatar

I think you'll be fine.

I've got to tell you though, whenever I hear people's sad stories about all the obstacles they ran into when trying to get into this career, I kind of smile because I had all kinds of troubles getting this thing started. I secretly say to myself, "they just don't have a clue how little they have actually gone through compared to how hard I tried to do this, and all the obstacles I ran into."

Rick, I don't think I've ever seen anyone with as much bad mojo going on as you have endured while trying to get started in this career. Keep at it, you're gonna make it. You remind me of Mountain Girl's favorite quote from "Finding Nemo." "Keep swimming"

20160512_123022_zps1kb9rhdm.jpg

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.
Rick S.'s Comment
member avatar

Thanks everyone for your replies, and words of encouragement.

It's more, procrastination, then "bad mojo" necessarily. Doing the surgery, which part of the game plan to get everything taken care of, so I could finally make the jump into the industry.

Right now, being less than a week post surgery, I guess it's more important to worry about healing and getting off the pain medication, than is worrying about passing a company physical.

I just developed a big concern, regarding whether or not my newfound inability, to lift heavy stuff, is going to keep me out

Rick

Old School's Comment
member avatar

I was thinking about that dude that "accidentally" stepped in the path of your car a while back - now that's some bad mojo right there!

Guzinta's Comment
member avatar

Hey Rick. I feel your pain...literally. I just had a similar triple hernia operation last week as well. My hernias were all located in the lower left and center abdominal area. They stem from emergency diverticulitis surgeries that I had in 2009. I have been living with them since, but the hernias became quite aggravated after a year in the trucking industry. I have a mostly local gig that gets me home every night, all no-touch freight, but the downside is that I do a ton of drop/hooks every day. Old crappy landing gear will be your worst enemy. Trailers left too high or too low are your next worst. There are some simple tricks of the trade that can be used, that beat the "bull and jam" methods. I carry variety different sized wood blocks. Whether a low or a high trailer, using the wood blocks and the 5th wheel air drop system, you can take most or all of the weight off the landing gear long enough to crank it to the proper position. If you go OTR with no-touch freight, I believe you will be fine. I plan on being back to work in another 3 weeks and have no worries. I'm 62 and am just coming up on my one year anniversary of driving these big beast and I love it. If you persevere through the first few months your will be golden. Early on, you WILL have days where you wonder if you are capable of doing this. Just DON'T give up! Find a decent company with up to date equipment and that will help a lot. Most of the time, at least in warmer weather, you can spin the landing gear with one finger. Let your body heal and then listen to it. Exercise is your friend. I'm sorry for rambling so much but want you offer some encouragement. Our stories are similar. I came from 34 yrs of IT before getting into this crazy industry. You've gotten some great advise here. I remember a quote but can't remember the source. Might have been Mark Twain. Goes something like this: "Whether you think you can or you think to can't, you are probably right". That's all! Good luck to you.

OTR:

Over The Road

OTR driving normally means you'll be hauling freight to various customers throughout your company's hauling region. It often entails being gone from home for two to three weeks at a time.

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