Tuesday, October 26, 2021

Getting Under My Skin| Medical Mystery

Between being at the shop a lot and not loving my dispatchers, I was having a great time at work. When you live full time in your truck, you live in the office. There’s no escaping your management. They run your ass! One time, they have me another older truck while mine was in the shop. This was a Freightliner. I didn’t hate it. It drive quite well! Also! It had curtains! It was also cleaner in looks than how my Volvo was when I got it. Granted, you can never tell what’s lurking in the background! I’m out for 6 days, then back to the yard for 2 off. While out there on day 4, I get a call from manager.

Ugh! Now what?

Me:  Hello? 

She: ‘How are you, Brook? Your truck’s ready. When you’re done with this load, you can come back to the yard and take your 2 days off!’

Me: but I’m not done with this cycle. I have 2 more days to go

She: that’s fine. You can come back. Your truck’s ready

I was so frustrated. I’m doing this job for money not for the joy of switching from one truck to another! For the love of Pete, can I please do my six days in peace?  She was so confused as to why I was confused about her ridiculous instruction. We settled on her giving me one more load. She told me she was going to need me to hurry back when I was done with that load. I don’t know why, all of a sudden, it was so important to them that I got back into my truck. Like, the job’s getting done, why aren’t you happy about that? 

When I returned to the yard, I immediately switched back to my truck. The truck I had been temporarily using is a random that they give to drivers whose trucks aren’t available for some reason. I switched my busted curtains with the news ones that were in the loaner truck and dared anybody to say a thing about it. 

The loaner truck’s fifth wheel lever was very hard to pull from under trailer. I did two pulls per day from shopper to receiver. I felt it in my shoulder, neck, chest area. When I got back to the yard, I did a post office run for myself. I remember being parked in the street and placing my hand on the collarbone area. Lo and beFreaking hold, I was swollen right there! It felt like a pillow, right under the whole of my hand! I freaked out! I grabbed a mirror and checked! 

What on earth is this? Immediately, my mind went to the fifth wheel pressure around that area whenever I did a pull. I ran out the truck to pick up my mail. When I was inside, I saw an older lady and approached her. I was hoping that some of her wisdom included something about the situation at hand…. Or should I say, at collarbone? She took a few steps away. I understood. 6 ft apart but I also felt rejected. I wasn’t standing that close. I think she just didn’t wanna be bothered. I understand that too. It’s her right. I was just so overwhelmed. I apologized for having bothered her and told her I wanted to ask about something I just discovered on me. Of course, I now have to pull down the collar of my shirt, like a weirdo who’s stripping for strangers. Nothing about this seemed inviting for this poor lady. At this point, the tears had started running down my cheeks and were soaking in the almighty mask. I suspect seeing me cry may have softened her a bit. But I’m sure, it wasn’t enough to make her risk herself to Covid exposure. She told me she had never seen such a thing before. I thanked her very much. She wished me well and went on her merry way. I was touched by her kindness. It was clear she wasn’t interested but sacrificed her own feelings to help a vulnerable strangers. She could’ve kept walking.

I went for a short drive to a Mexican Grocery store down the road and bought myself food for my two days off. At this point, I had drawn a line around the swelling to mark wherher it was going to get bigger or smaller. My ex husband, Calvin and I were friendly at this point. I told him about this. He was concerned and told me to go to the doctor right away. He even offered to take me. I declined. I’d had a long week. The last thing I needed  was to spend my off day at the hospital or somewhere similar. I drank more water than I normally do. If you know me, You know I drink no less than a gallon per day (4 liters). I had my Mexican food for dinner, some animal head, I think it was cow, and refried beans. Positive thoughts, bed. When I woke up, the swelling had subsided. By day 2 off, the swelling was gone.

I kept notes of my conversations about it and pictures in case it was work related (I really believe it was). In case it came back and I needed to report it etc. Not long thereafter, my truck’s fifth wheel release button stopped working. It would only work a day or two after repair and then stop. I had to pull with hand again. My truck wasn’t as hard to pull as the loaner truck but still! The swelling came back. I was starting to get heart palpitations from the anxiety of what this was about. I really didn’t want to have to talk to the folks in the office. They didn’t like me, I could tell. For that reason, I didn’t want to have to ask for help of any sort from them.

I became obsessed with this thing that was happening to me. Let me explain it to you. If feels like I’ve a balloon right behind my chest. After pulling the fifth wheel lever, which is what you do to unhook a trailer to a truck, so, hard pulling; the deflated balloon will get inflated and stick out from behind the collarbone, covering the collarbone and up the neck a bit. It’s the size of my entire hand including fingers. If it’s out there long enough, my neck and chin will go numb on the right side; which is where the swelling is. See below. I really would like to hear your thoughts on this as I never did figure out what it was. Google wasn't of much help.

Clavicle Swelling?

The swelling would  come and go every fee weeks. Then it went away for good. Whew! 

Just kidding! It came back when I least expected it! It was around 2am, I was turning in my truck bed. I turned to my left side and as I did, I felt the movement of something around my collarbone. I put my hand there and felt it getting bigger and harder, just like gum when you’re blowing a bubble. It wasn’t as big as in the picture. I pushed it back! Hard! And felt it pop and what felt like air, escape right around my neck, under my skin! It creeped me the fck out! Almost every other morning around that time when I turned in bed, the ballooning would occur. I would push it as hard as I could to pop it. I was scared that that could end up in undesired results, so I tried to be gentle at the same time. 

How it starts off in the morning

Sometimes, It wouldn’t pop. Those are the times I would end up swollen. I realized that the swelling was to cover up the hard, marble like thing underneath. 

4 hours later, swelling getting bigger and bigger

Any doctors out there who happen to be reading this? Message me please! 

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