Monday, August 12, 2013

Playing Catch Up

I've neglected this blog for some time.  I'm not really sure if it's something I should be continuing with or not...but as I do enjoy writing and rambling, I've decided to give it a bit more time to decide it's fate.
In the meantime, an update on my doings.
Alley, Zac and I, along with the 2 dogs, 1 cat and also Trev, the husband, headed north in May to start my 3rd year as cook in a tree planting camp.  Trev took the truck after dropping us and the trailer off at our first camp location and headed for the trapline with a buddy to do some work on trails and start a new cabin.  We settled in and got to work.  
Things were going well, apart from being informed that Alley, who was hired as the kitchen helper for 6 hours a day, was not going to be able to do her job right away, as we were missing several planters at start up and her job depended on there being a certain number of planters to feed in camp.  This did not go over well with any of us.  If any other person was hired to do the job, traveled 2 days to get there to the job and was then informed they weren't going to be able to do the job, I'm pretty sure they would have had some flack.  But, because Alley is my daughter, the company seemed to think this was ok. She would have to wait for more planters to show up before she could do her job.  To explain...there is a ratio of kitchen staff to planters, and we were not quite at the number of planters to meet the extra person in the kitchen.  Regardless, this was not cool.  We worked one shift (4 days) and were just finishing up in the kitchen when our baker found out that her ex-boyfriend of 4 years, with whom she was still very close, with had been killed.  He was only 19.  We were all in shock as we had gotten to know him as well the previous year.  The baker went home to Smithers where she remained for the rest of our time at that location.  The immediate problem was who would do the baking?  I knew Alley was more than capable of doing the job, but the owner's wife had issues.  Yes, she is only 14, but she is not your average teeny bopper.  It was decided that Alley would fill in for a couple of days, and then they hoped the baker would be back.  She wasn't, so they had a replacement all set to come out.  Thankfully, our supervisor was not keen on that idea either and went to bat for Alley.  She had been doing an awesome job and he saw no reason to bring in anyone else when she was more than capable of doing the job.  Alley, was in fact, doing a better job than the regular baker. Her baking was not only better, but she was faster.  I was so impressed with her!
But, all good things come to an end, and the regular baker returned after a couple of weeks.
The summer went on with lots of laughs and fun, plus all the hard work and long hours that go into running a camp kitchen.
Then, one day, in the middle of June, after having gone for a break in my trailer where I was catching up on some reading, I experienced something that I hope never to experience again.  I became very agitated, feeling like I had drunk a gallon of coffee.  I couldn't concentrate on my book, didn't feel like I could just be still.  I decided to go back to the kitchen and try to work it out of my system.  I ended up in the kitchen shaking, hyperventilating and completely freaked out by what was happening to me.  Lucky for me, one of the first aid people had stayed in camp that day with a sore knee and was able to help me.  I lost track of time after that.  Due to a lot of screw ups on the company's part, there was no oxygen in the first aid tent, and the only transportation out of camp was my car. The first aider attempted to drive me to town, 50km away, but I got extremely nauseous when we tried, so an ambulance was called.  One of the crew foreman came back to camp and I was driven then in one of the trucks by him with the first aider to help me to meet the ambulance.  To make a long story ended up that I had been breathing in propane and had been poisoned.  That was the end of the job for me.  I am now in the process of trying to get some kind of worker's insurance, but of course the company is claiming it was propane from my own trailer that caused it and then trying to come up with other reasons this happened to me. Deny, deny, deny. What jerks!  It's pretty tough when you have given your all to your job and then when something happens to you due to that job, they basically turn their back on you.  It's changed my whole opinion of this company and the people who own it.  Needless to say, I won't be going back next year.
So, after all of this, Trev ended up having to leave the trapline early so he could get our trailer out of camp, where we had had to leave it, along with the dogs and cat, and then we had to wait for my in laws who were travelling through Smithers on their way home to arrive so they could drive my car for me.  I suffered from dizziness, nausea, headaches and was unable to eat anything more than toast for almost 2 weeks. thankfully, we have wonderful friends in Telkwa, a small community just outside of Smithers, who let us stay with them while we did all this waiting.  
Since then, I've slowly gotten back to normal and have just had an EEG done which showed no permanent damage.  It's been an interesting summer, one that I could have done with a lot less interest!  But, it's been nice to be home and tend to my garden, go visit the kids on the Island and just relax.  Now to just settle this worker's claim and I'll be happy.
Our camp location where the poisoning occurred.

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