Suicide – You Decide

Suicide – You Decide

 

Suicide; Is it a life ending act?

Or is it a life-altering decision?

You decide.

Must I go talk to others?

Or should they come to me?

You decide.

“No one knows the thoughts in my head” I say.

“Some understand the troubles within my bubble” I say.

You decide.

Joy, caring, serving, Suicide.

Depressed, sad, withdrawn. Suicide.

You decide.

A deep void after suicide.

Strengthen, resolve to help more, or hide?

You decide.

There is no right or wrong to fix.

No question I’ll keep doing what I can! Now,

You decide!

David K. Henry dkh0718

The Beginning… Far from the End

May 15

   May 15 has been an important date for me for the last 27 years.

   In 1991 around 5 pm my life changed in a drastic way. At 23 years old I got injured in a farm accident and at the second hospital I was given no chance to be anything more than a vegetable. Working in my favor was that I was very strong, young, and always up for a challenge. Head injuries are complex. Compounded by a health system that as yet, was not very good at providing real meaningful help.

   I went back to work several months later, after my own rehab program of pain killers and pushing consistently beyond my limits. While I did improve somewhat, I was hurting bad for the next 10 years. Physically and mentally. I wasn’t honest with myself. I didn’t need help. I didn’t have mental issues. I looked fine.

   So I won’t let myself forget the mistakes I made in that decade. Not to beat myself up, but to be a help to others who are struggling, thinking they’re fine, but dealing with hidden injuries. I won’t forget my inability to talk about my issues. Stumbling through my wilderness, alone.

   My story doesn’t end there. In 2001 another trucker ran over my truck in a truckstop near Tallahassee Florida. My third major head injury (first was sports related as a teen) but this time the medical system started to help me. I realized I needed help. That phase of life was learning about myself and my injuries. Being painfully honest with myself.

   My interesting journey began 27 years ago today. My goal is to help others, to show that speaking out will free you to make improvements to your quality of life. I will continue to get my message out to anyone who will listen.

   You are worth it.

   #SurviveToDrive

 

New experiences

 

Thirty times I have seen fall change to winter while I hold a steering wheel of some kind. I’ve been in classic rides, oversize, off-road monsters, parades, convoys and your run-of-the-mill working rigs.

I’ve seen a lot, but I haven’t seen or done it all. Every day has something unique.

This week I did something I’ve never done. Not in all those years of grabbing gears.

I’ve thought about doing this. I have talked to others about it. It’s a very common practise, but not for me.

This week I took the plunge.

I had a dog as my navigator. It’s nothing really that warrants a special article, but there were a few things that stood out.

We generally treat dogs (or any pet) better than ourselves. Here’s what I mean. I think nothing of running hard for a few hours, making a really quick stop, and then hammering out more miles. As most drivers, I get paid by the mile, so miles is what matters. Not with a dog though. Stops become a time to walk and play a little. No way I want to keep a dog in a truck and not let it run a little during the stops. Hmmm. Not a bad idea for the human either.

Here’s another example. At night, just before bedtime what do you do with a dog? A short walk and bathroom break is important. Can you guess if I made less miles because I spent a little more time during stops? Nope. I still did all the miles I needed.  

I look after myself better now, than I used to. I need to. It’s the only way I can survive after the injuries and wear and tear of life. Yet, I’m still more concerned about how the dog is looked after than myself.

We can be great at helping others, and making sure our pets are looked after, but not so good with ourselves.

I’ll use this experience to continue along my way towards better health. Stops may involve more smelling the flowers and looking at the beauty around me. I may kick up my heels and be excited to see other people. Maybe there’ll be a short walk before bed to get some fresh air before sleep.

The dog is at home and I doubt if she’ll go for another ride but it was enlightening.  

Thirty times I have seen fall change to winter while I hold a steering wheel of some kind. I’ve been in classic rides, oversize, off-road monsters, parades, convoys and your run-of-the-mill working rigs.

I’ve seen a lot, but I haven’t seen or done it all. Every day has something unique.

This week I did something I’ve never done. Not in all those years of grabbing gears.

I’ve thought about doing this. I have talked to others about it. It’s a very common practise, but not for me.

This week I took the plunge.

I had a dog as my navigator. It’s nothing really that warrants a special article, but there were a few things that stood out.

We generally treat dogs (or any pet) better than ourselves. Here’s what I mean. I think nothing of running hard for a few hours, making a really quick stop, and then hammering out more miles. As most drivers, I get paid by the mile, so miles is what matters. Not with a dog though. Stops become a time to walk and play a little. No way I want to keep a dog in a truck and not let it run a little during the stops. Hmmm. Not a bad idea for the human either.

Here’s another example. At night, just before bedtime what do you do with a dog? A short walk and bathroom break is important. Can you guess if I made less miles because I spent a little more time during stops? Nope. I still did all the miles I needed.  

I look after myself better now, than I used to. I need to. It’s the only way I can survive after the injuries and wear and tear of life. Yet, I’m still more concerned about how the dog is looked after than myself.

We can be great at helping others, and making sure our pets are looked after, but not so good with ourselves.

I’ll use this experience to continue along my way towards better health. Stops may involve more smelling the flowers and looking at the beauty around me. I may kick up my heels and be excited to see other people. Maybe there’ll be a short walk before bed to get some fresh air before sleep.

The dog is at home and I doubt if she’ll go for another ride but it was enlightening.  

Thirty times I have seen fall change to winter while I hold a steering wheel of some kind. I’ve been in classic rides, oversize, off-road monsters, parades, convoys and your run-of-the-mill working rigs.

I’ve seen a lot, but I haven’t seen or done it all. Every day has something unique.

This week I did something I’ve never done. Not in all those years of grabbing gears.

I’ve thought about doing this. I have talked to others about it. It’s a very common practise, but not for me.

This week I took the plunge.

I had a dog as my navigator. It’s nothing really that warrants a special article, but there were a few things that stood out.

We generally treat dogs (or any pet) better than ourselves. Here’s what I mean. I think nothing of running hard for a few hours, making a really quick stop, and then hammering out more miles. As most drivers, I get paid by the mile, so miles is what matters. Not with a dog though. Stops become a time to walk and play a little. No way I want to keep a dog in a truck and not let it run a little during the stops. Hmmm. Not a bad idea for the human either.

Here’s another example. At night, just before bedtime what do you do with a dog? A short walk and bathroom break is important. Can you guess if I made less miles because I spent a little more time during stops? Nope. I still did all the miles I needed.  

I look after myself better now, than I used to. I need to. It’s the only way I can survive after the injuries and wear and tear of life. Yet, I’m still more concerned about how the dog is looked after than myself.

We can be great at helping others, and making sure our pets are looked after, but not so good with ourselves.

I’ll use this experience to continue along my way towards better health. Stops may involve more smelling the flowers and looking at the beauty around me. I may kick up my heels and be excited to see other people. Maybe there’ll be a short walk before bed to get some fresh air before sleep.

The dog is at home and I doubt if she’ll go for another ride but it was enlightening.  

2017 Part 2

Part 2

I’d had my eye on a company for several years. I did some hotshot work for them in the early 90’s and watched them grow in size. I never applied for work there because I loved the coast to coast type of trucking, plus running the Ice Roads in NWT and they were mainly in the upper midwest USA and prairie provinces in Canada. I knew the second generation was now running the business and many of the older drivers were still there, which was a good sign.

I walked in, resume and driving abstract in hand, hoping to talk to someone but not expecting it. I was shown to a board room and to my surprise I spent the next 2 hours talking to the President of the company. I was floored that he would spend that much time interviewing a driver.

Over the next few days I applied at another company as well and prepared to get back to work. My motto is to work where I want to work, not just where I can get hired. Not everyone can do that but I have enough experience and a clean driving record to be able to make that choice.

I did my research and decided to come to work for that first company and I’ve been so thankful for such a great place to work. I was interviewed for that length of time because the owners are really particular on getting people that fit into their company.

It’s been an amazing 8 months. Physically and mentally it’s been very hard but I have put my focus on continuing to recover. Some things have suffered as I continue this journey such as keeping my website updated, some projects at home or visiting friends. If it hasn’t paid my bills, or involved my family, it’s probably been delayed. Learning, and staying within my limits is important for good health.   

I knew between Christmas and New Years I would take time to rest so I just kept turning the miles under my tires. I didn’t look at the numbers, just did what I could and I was surprised in the end.

I couldn’t have been as successful as I have been without the company, family and friends behind me .

Now I’ve had several days of just R&R and it’s been wonderful.

I don’t know if it’s a very compelling story, but I’m proud to be here. I’m thankful. It’s been another year of gritty determination.

Never give up. Maybe it’s easier to quit but I don’t know about that. What I do know is that in my 50 years I should’ve died a couple times. I’ve had serious injuries and severe depression that has threatened my life. I’ll deal with issues as long as I live.

I have learned many things in my journey. I’m a better man because of the hardships.

Thank you for reading.

2017 Part 1

Hard to believe we’re almost ready to turn the page on 2017!

I think I can safely say that almost every year, especially the last 30 or so, have been … interesting. Injuries, rehab programs, return to work, all while raising a large family

2017 started off with me in a Return to Work rehab program at the Wellness Institute in Winnipeg, MB. I was to spend the first three months of the year trying, and ultimately succeeding, in rehabbing from my latest head, neck and back injury. 2016 had closed out with me thinking I would never be able to work again so graduating from the program was exciting, and nerve-wracking. I feel better, but will I be able to sustain the gains I made while I go back to work in a tough environment? The last part of rehab is re-entering the workforce. You can get to match the physical requirements of the job in a return to work program but there’s nothing like the real life test of working day in and day out.

 

Driving a truck with oversize loads isn’t an easy job physically or mentally. Long periods of sitting, eating properly is a challenge (and expensive), times of intense action when loading or unloading, plus the stress of maneuvering a larger load through traffic and under bridges. I’ll write more on this at a later date.

What got me through life to this point is my ability to focus on the task at hand. Overlaying everything is the responsibility I feel to provide for my family and to be an example of perseverance in the face of hardship.

The joy I felt at the completion of my work rehab program was tested when I returned to my employer, only to be told that I was no longer wanted. For the 11 months post accident I was told by employer that “get to 100% and I’ll welcome you back”. What became apparent later was that he didn’t like me going on Workers Compensation. I don’t think he ever thought he would have to face that I would recover and want to work again. Every obstacle he threw at me to “prove” I wasn’t 100% was shown to be incorrect.

April 3rd, my first day ready to work was crazy. The boss had left town after refusing to meet me, or talk to me, and texted me my dismissal. I walked away, spent some time composing myself, and then started my quest for a new job. I loved doing heavy haul, and working for that boss, but that door was now closed.

To be continued…

Unwrapped

A tribute to Sylvia!

Living can appear to be a chore

Struggles. Hardships. Health issues.

Heart broken.

Time passes by. We battle within. A choice needs to be made.

Do we want life? Do we wish to die?

Before we make the decision

We wrap ourselves

Getting hurt isn’t fun.

We wrap a layer around our heart.

Afraid of more pain.

Withdrawing. Secluding. Sensitive to any perceived change.

Then comes a miracle. Walks on two legs.

Someone who finds a crack in your armour.

Peers inside. Recognizes danger. Takes action.

“Hello!” echoes inside through the chink.

How did you let this happen? Scary.

Can’t let anyone in! But…

The “Hello!” is like a refreshing drink in the desert.

Feels nice. Soothing. Maybe we won’t die.

Words follow the “Hello!” No idea what they were. Caring. Motivating.

Still awed by the “Hello!”. Drinking in the calming effect.

Slowly the growth of that goodness keeps cracking the wrap.

You emerge a little at a time.

Blinking in the sunshine. Tentative. Are you sure you won’t be hurt?

Life begins to happen again.

You see beauty once more. Happiness regains the upper hand.

How do you thank the unwrapper?

Unwrap others yourself.

Look for the crack in a person.

You be the “Hello” into their dark, deep chaos.

Maybe you can be a help.

One more brought back from the brink.

All because one saw the tight wrap, the hurt in you,

And drew you out. Saved your life.

David K. Henry June 2017

Special Olympics and Injury

photo_2016-08-30_21-43-15

 

Another week is coming to a close and I have some time to reflect on a couple different topics.

Saturday Sept. 10th is the annual World’s Largest Truck Convoy benefitting Special Olympics. Truckers across North America get together for the Convoy in their own jurisdictions on the same day. Manitoba is usually one of the largest in North America with over 200 trucks. The spectacle of them lined up and then parading around the Winnipeg Perimeter is amazing. Police and Law Enforcement block off the route so we can travel without interference. As a long time driver, this is lots of fun! There’s lots of air horns blowing, shiny chrome, cool paint jobs and kids of all ages watching.

The connections we make with the athletes is what it’s all about. One of them who I took on the Convoy a few years ago, texts me almost every day. She’s amazing and I love helping support her and her fellow competitors. They love what they do and really appreciate our help.

I have many T-shirts from different functions and the Convoy shirts and hoodies are ones that get many comments and interest from people who see it. They’re also the ones I have the most pride in wearing.

Contact me if you want to help with any size of donation to a worthy cause.   

 

Summer is almost over! Seems like only yesterday I was planting corn and hoping for good weather. Kids are back in school, nights are getting cooler and it’s time to prepare the ground for next year’s crop. Wait, I have no kids in high school this year! Crazy, it’s not just the summer flying by I guess.

Every year we lose more of our older generation, but this year I’ve seen more people I know, who are younger, or close in age to me, who are no longer with us.

I haven’t said much about this, but I thought May 10th was going to be my last day. I fell off a load in the rain and landed on the back of my head. I don’t recommend it. It was my 4th major concussion and I had no idea why I survived. I’ve had some injuries in my lifetime and the worst by far is a head injury. Head injuries aren’t easy to talk about and here I am 4 months later just going public now. I still won’t say much though, except this; There’s never a time to give up. We get stronger, more resilient, caring and empathetic when we battle through what we’ve been handed. Life isn’t easy. Some deal with injuries, others with sickness, whatever the case, don’t give up. Train yourself to keep moving forward so when bad situations arise you only know how to keep forging ahead.

I don’t know any other way but forward. It’s what I’ve been taught and learned in my life. I’m thankful for my family and friends and for my boss at LCG Equipment who care that I heal properly. Week by week the fogginess in my brain is clearing. I’ll also give a special shout out to John G, Editor at Today’s Trucking for being patient as I continue to try to write coherent sentences for him.

I’m alive. I’ve avoided death once more. Here’s why I’m still alive; To give hope to others in tough places. To be here for my family who need me, warts and all. To prove that giving up is no way to live.
Off like a herd of turtles…

Dream BIG or lay low!

I have some big ideas and plans for this new blog. I hope that someday I’ll look back and be amazed at where it all began.

I believe in mentorship as the direction that we need to go to make our industry better. It doesn’t matter which industry. It works in all aspects of life.

 

Some years ago I really started paying attention to this. I started small. Little things like waving to kids as they passed by. Helping someone who doesn’t seem to know the rules of the road via CB radio, chatting at a truck stop or business that I find them in. Doing it all in such a way that leaves a pleasant memory for them. I participate in Truck Driving Championships where I meet very good, upbeat drivers who I learn a lot from by watching and competing against.

That works, but it’s limited to the few people I meet everyday. So I started a website. www.crazycanuckdave.com . I started writing a few articles for Today’s Trucking. Under the handle of Crazycanuckdave I participate in Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

 

This blog is the latest evolution in my desire to continue mentoring not just drivers, but all people who can benefit from my experiences. While I have experienced many things, I also realize that there’s far more out there.

 

My exciting new idea for this blog is to reach out to people I know that can also participate in this journey! I’ll be featuring different people who have unique ideas, challenges that I haven’t faced and followers who I don’t normally reach.

My goal for the blog is to be fresh, readable and relatable to many people.

 

In the trucking Industry I have been everything from a company driver to owning my own company with authority in 5 Provinces and 48 States. I have hauled virtually anything there is, except for bulk tankers. I have driven in the hot South and crawled along the Ice Roads in the Arctic. Challenging times and great times.

In my personal life I have survived severe head trauma, near death, and illness which all pales in comparison to the joy I have gotten from raising and providing for a wonderful family. I have been blessed beyond what I deserve.

 

If you need advice, a speaker on a topic such as Surviving Brain Injury in the workplace, Driving on the Real Ice Roads, or even a specific article for your needs please let me know.

 

As always, comments and suggestions are welcome!
Off like a herd of turtles …