I never had allergies before in my life, until the last four years in Dickinson, North Dakota. In my first two years in Dickinson, I didn’t have allergies either.
I wouldn’t care very much if I just had a runny nose, and red, itchy, watery eyes. But, one or both of my eyes swell nearly completely shut, my eyes become blinded by sunlight, and I can barely see. This happens about three to four times each year, for the past four years.
No one is going to like this, what I am going to write next. In order to not lose my job, and go to work, I have had to wear two pairs of sunglasses, one over top of the other, and open my eyes for 1/2 second, and close them for 1 second, while I am driving. On some days, even wearing two pairs of sunglasses, I can’t hold my eyes open for more than one second.
Why don’t I go to the doctor? Because this is Dickinson, and North Dakota, that’s why. I have lived with a life-long Dickinson resident for over three years. I have seen him try to make appointments with the St. Alexius Hospital and Sanford Health, many times. When he needs medical attention fairly urgently, describing his intense agonizing pain, the staff reads to him the appointment dates they have available, five to six weeks out.
Then, what I have seen them do to my room mate, is to schedule him for test after test after test, running up a bill of $7,000 for tests, and offer no treatment! So fuck the corrupt and incompetent medical professionals in Dickinson! They would probably try to put you on the medical helicopter to Bismarck for a bad case of hemorrhoids.
I am getting off my topic here, but what the medical facilities here in Dickinson are trying to do is bill, bill, bill, in order to pay for their personnel and facilities. In treating someone, even if they could quickly diagnose someone and treat them, they aren’t going to, because there is no money in that. And, they probably perceive there being some legal liability in trying to quickly diagnose someone and offer a simple treatment, foregoing extensive testing.
Back to my allergies. It happens three to four times a year in Dickinson, where my eyes swell up, become sensitive to light, and I can’t see. I have tried just about every over the counter allergy medication, like Benadryl, Claritin, Allegra, and Flonase. Benadryl seems to make my eyes more sensitive to light, Flonase Sensimist nasal spray seems to help the most. But nothing helps very much. Visine and Opticon allergy eye drops do not help very much.
If you have read my recent previous blog posts, you will know that I started a new job four weeks ago at an oil field company. I have to drive and operate a crane truck. If I don’t come to work, the work can not be done, my co-worker/supervisor can not get paid, and my company can not get paid. My co-worker/supervisor gets paid about $300 per day, his truck gets billed at about $200 per day at least, and my crane truck gets billed at about $500 per day at least, and the company loses about $3,000 per day in billing. If I tried to not come to work for even one day, they would try to replace me as soon as possible, permanently. Especially, if my co-worker/supervisor and the company thought that this was something that could happen again.
I could not say, “I have a bad allergy attack about three to four times a year, I am having a bad allergy attack this morning, it would not be safe for me to drive or work today.” I may as well say, “I quit.” The company would not understand. The part that they would understand, is that I needed to be replaced. Once my position has been filled, what do they need me for, so that I can call in sick again in the future?
I had to drive two hours to work on Monday in my personal truck with a bad allergy attack, and very much difficulty with my eyes. I then had to drive 1/2 hour in the crane truck to some place that I had never been. When I got to where my co-worker/supervisor was, I explained to him about my allergy problem that I was currently having, but that I wanted to try to work.
I know, and my co-worker/supervisor knows, that if I don’t work, neither of us get paid. This was my co-worker/supervisor’s main concern. I don’t think that most people will understand how dangerous it was for me and for others, for me to work and drive all day with having only about 30% of my eyesight. At the end of the day, I did not think that I could drive the crane truck back for thirty minutes in traffic. I tried to discuss this with my co-worker/supervisor, but he did not want to drive thirty minutes in the opposite direction from his home.
I made it to where I was going at the end of the day Monday, barely. My eyesight was slightly better on Tuesday and Wednesday. I managed to keep my job. This job pays me in one week, what I would earn in one month in Idaho. Jobs in the oil field are very scarce and hard to get now. It would have been the end of me working in the oil field if I would have lost this job after one month, especially for having allergies.