“Free Trade and What It Cost Me”
Someone e-mailed me the other day asking about my disability and how I was injured. Insteadof answering the question in a long e-mail, I am going to write the entire story for everyone toread. I have not written about my injury or the events that followed the day I was first hurt. So,this is the story of my last six years.I was working in the maintenance department for the company I began working for in November of 1972. My first job was running drill presses, moved on to different machines, andfinally transferred to the maintenance department. I had been in maintenance for about twenty-five of my then thirty-two years there.As with many U.S. companies looking to make a profit, my company first built a plant inMexico, calling it our sister plant. We would only out source some small products that were notgiving them a large profit. The company promised that no jobs would be lost in our plant. Thatwas just one of the many lies we were told.On July 8, 2003 while crating some equipment to ship to China, I suffered my first symptomsof trouble. My left hand was swollen and my neck hurt so badly I could barely turn my head.My co-worker and I went to our supervisor, who was also the Safety Director, and told himabout my neck and showed him my left hand. This was about two in the afternoon. Mysupervisor looked at my hand and then looked at the remaining equipment. He then looked atme and said: “This s--- has got to ship!” With that, he turned and walked away. I went homeafter work, took some pain pills and rested. I was able to go to work the next morning and began crating the China bound equipment. I made it two hours into the shift.Suddenly I felt a pain in my left shoulder as if I had been hit with a sledgehammer. I could notstand up or sit down without extreme pain. I made it to the nurses’ station and called for theEmergency Response Team for help. One of the women trained in first aid came to the office.After checking my blood pressure and asking a lot of questions it was clear she had no clue aswhat to do. We tried to call my wife several times but the line was busy. I knew I couldn’t work anymore and I was not going to just lay there so I decided that I was going home.No one tried to stop me or talk me out of leaving. I took some pain pills from the cabinet andleft for home. I don’t know how I drove to Sherman with the pain I was having. I made it homeand Audrey called our family doctor for an emergency appointment. I tried to lay on the beduntil it was time for the appointment. After less than an hour, I couldn’t wait any longer andasked Audrey to take me to the Emergency Room. The pain was getting worse by the minute.My entire left shoulder was hurting and I couldn’t stand the pain any longer.