Do Not Surrender Your CDL to a Diabetic Needle

Today, I am medication free (the doctor said it couldn’t happen) and the blogs in this series will explain the steps I took to accomplish this feat. These observations and opinions are my own and do not reflect the opinion of NCI, doctors, or anyone else. Part 2/4

Author after being released from the hospital

Author after being released from the hospital

While at work in 2010 I felt nauseas. I stumbled to the company restroom to splash water on my face where I proceeded to pass out. I awoke and was taken to the hospital where I spent the next seven days recovering. I was at my heaviest weight. After four years of shooting insulin twice a day, my weight continued to climb as did my insulin needs. The more I ate, the more insulin I required. The more insulin I used the more my hunger increased. This vicious circle had built over the previous four years. I was now stabbing a needle into myself twice a day, administering 70 units of medication EACH day. Stress is a huge contributing factor in the escalation of diabetes.

STRESS. We all have it in our life. Some stress is self-imposed, some stress is imposed by outside influences beyond our control. In times of high stress I could feel my diabetes being stimulated. The demand of our fast–paced, jobs seem to automatically lead to stressful situations. Normally, my blood sugar would escalate causing headaches (behind my eyes), blurred vision, and the inability to concentrate. Had I been a driver at this time, I certainly would have had to pull my truck off the road to keep the motoring public and myself safe.

BLOOD SUGAR. While increasing my insulin dosages I felt an increase in hunger. As difficult as the high sugar levels were, low sugar levels were more devastating. High levels caused severe headaches, lethargic feelings, and blurred vision. As miserable as high sugar levels would make me feel, it was still better than the results of low blood sugar. Shakes, blurred vision, upset stomach, and a lack of concentration were the early indicators that I was on my way to passing out. This had happened in my home several times, fortunately my wife had trained herself to react quickly to bring me back to consciousness.

FOOD. In our “drive through” world we live in, diet is always a challenge. Anticipating the drive to work, many of us skip a traditional breakfast. Whether we bring a meal from home to eat at our desk, find ourselves too busy to eat, or leave the office to nourish ourselves at lunch, finding proper nutrition is difficult to achieve. Our evening meal is just as challenging. Worn out from work, many times it is easier to “grab” something on the way home. While driving a  truck  eating at a fast food restaurant or a traditional sit down café allows drivers the social interaction they miss while on the road. Either option challenges the driver to eat healthy.

EXERCISE. When I was diagnosed with diabetes I was healthy and active. One Sunday afternoon I was playing soccer with a group of men who included my doctor. At half time he asked me to ride to his office with him. I did so and at the office he asked to take my blood sugar reading. I agreed. Levels that should have been 80 – 120 were at 639. He immediately ordered me to take medication and did in-depth blood tests the next morning. I’ve always exercised, but as I became older and heavier, I felt less inclined to do so. When I left the hospital after collapsing at work, I began walking my dog daily – whether I felt like it or not. My weight dropped from 246 to 226 within three months. My insulin need dropped from 70 units per day to 50.

Author Ed KentnerHealthy and medication free

Author Ed Kentner
Healthy and medication free

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Do Not Surrender Your CDL – Eat Right

Today, I am medication free (the doctor said it couldn’t happen) and the blogs in this series will explain the steps I took to accomplish this feat. These observations and opinions are my own and do not reflect the opinion of NCI, doctors, or anyone else. Part 3/4

Momma said "eat your veggies" , she was right!

Momma said “eat your veggies” , she was right!

 I left the hospital at my heaviest, 246 lb.  Over the next three months I dropped 20 lbs through moderate exercise. My weight loss stagnated for the next 12 months, up a little, down a little. As my medication needs remained at 50 units of insulin per day, I continued stabbing myself in the stomach each morning and each evening. Blood sugar highs and lows remained a source of concern for me. Frequent trips to the restroom throughout the night along with tingling in my lower legs made an uninterrupted night of rest difficult to achieve. Snoring due to the extra weight made undisturbed sleep nearly impossible for EVERYONE in our household.

My wife encouraged me to study food and micronutrients. At the time, she struggled with gout and an ever increasing  need for medication to offset escalating blood pressures. Together, we decided to change our lifestyles. For me, the hardest part of the change was the first six inches, the space between my left and right ear. Once I made the mental adjustment, the rest seemed easy. Fruit and nuts for breakfast, salad and soup for lunch, and a dinner consisting of grilled veggies, beans, and a fruit for dessert. I ate as much food as I wanted at each meal.

Within the first four days my need for insulin was reduced by 50%. Twelve pounds of weight slipped away in the first week. Excitement and a sense of purpose overcame any apprehension I had concerning my lifestyle change. My energy level grew as my body weight reduced. I imagined myself carrying a 10 pound sack of sugar with me EVERYWHERE. It made sense to me by sitting down the bag I would have more energy. I began extending my exercise as my energy increased.

After two weeks, I was able to cut my insulin in half again. Weight loss continued as a result of the lifestyle change. The more weight I lost, the more energy I had. The more energy I had, the more I WANTED to exercise. Fresh fruits, vegetables, legumes, and beans were the staple of these first weeks. If it was processed and sold in a bag or box I did not include it in my food choices, preferring fresh food options. Within 30 days my insulin needs were reduced from fifty units per day to five and 20 lbs. of weight had disappeared. Once I got past the first six inches, it seemed very easy to stay motivated and on the path to a healthier me.

Author Ed KentnerHealthy and medication free

Author Ed Kentner
Healthy and medication free

 

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Keep Your CDL – Do Not Surrender to the Diabetes Needle

The following blog is the first of a four part series devoted to helping professional drivers who  

are in danger of surrendering their CDL due to the onset of Type II Diabetes.

 

Author at his heaviest (246 lb) and insulin dependent.

Author at his heaviest (246 lb) and insulin dependent.

Fourteen years after being diagnosed as a diabetic, I surrendered my CDL. For the first seven years doctors prescribed oral medication along with moderate diet and exercise to keep the disease in check. After seven years of taking pills twice a day and not exercising or eating properly, my diabetes raged out of control. After a thorough examination including an in-depth blood test, my doctor suggested I quadruple by my oral medication or begin taking insulin shots. If I surrendered to the needle, I would no longer be able to drive at National Carriers unless I had a waiver recognized by the federal government.

Drivers take great pride in the accomplishment of a Commercial Driver’s License. I studied and practiced extensively for the test and felt pleased to have passed all endorsements that were available. I never intended to pull tankers, doubles, or triples, however I was licensed to do so. Taking into consideration the work involved in getting Class A CDL (and having a fear of needles) I decided to take four times the normal oral medication. Immediately my stomach was upset constantly. Diarrhea was normal and my blood sugars held at 200 instead of the prescribed 80 – 120 range.

After six months of discomfort, I surrendered to the needle. Reflecting, I believe it was one of the most difficult decisions I have ever made professionally. To admit my body had degenerated to the point I needed daily doses of insulin through a needle was disheartening. Even though I did not make my living driving truck, it was equally disheartening that I would NEVER have that option again. As I began “shooting up” each morning and evening it was an on-going battle to determine what the right dosage would need to be. If I ate too little or over medicated my blood sugar would plummet, causing shakes, blurred vision, upset stomach, and a lack of concentration. If I ate too much or under dosed myself, severe headaches, an overwhelming lethargic feeling, and blurred vision resulted. The first six months of being on insulin was a rollercoaster ride. Trying to determining the correct dosage of insulin along with the correct timing and quantities of food during my meals resulted in months of experimenting.

Today, I am medication free (the doctor said it couldn’t happen) and in the blogs that follow in this series, I will explain the steps I took to accomplish this feat.

Author Ed KentnerHealthy and medication free

Author Ed Kentner
Healthy and medication free

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Travellers – Yesterday and Today – Born on the Road

As the dust kicked up from the trail, the prairie schooner rocked and creaked along. Jumping and bumping across the well-worn trail it lurched forward behind the steady plodding of the team of oxen. The windswept Nebraska territory slowly inched by. Holding a firm hand on his reins, the driver worried the building clouds in the western skies would mean a wet, cold, uncomfortable night. Glancing over his shoulder into the darkened wagon he hoped for a glimpse of his full term pregnant wife who was trying to lay as comfortably as was possible as the schooner swayed forward. Unknown to him she had just delivered their daughter amid the difficulties of this long journey they had begun together and would finish as a family.

150 years later another concerned husband drove across the Nebraska landscape. He steadied his hand upon the wheel as he headed east toward Lincoln. His pregnant wife lay resting in the sleeper berth. An hour earlier she had complained she had a stomach ache. She had taken an aspirin and told her husband she was going to lay down and rest.  There was little for him to do, but to continue to drive on. While listening to the radio he thought he heard the cry of a baby. From behind the pulled curtain of the sleeper berth his wife gently notified him of the birth of their child. Near Milford, Ne on I-80 she self-delivered their daughter, Amanda.

L-R: Amanda, Tammy and Chris Back

L-R: Amanda, Tammy and Chris Back

Chris and Tammy Back had driven truck together for the past seven years. Driving had afforded the Backs an opportunity to work together and allowed them to invest in a farm in their native Colorado. The birth of Amanda was instrumental in the Backs joining National Carriers in June of 2003. The company they were driving for would not allow children to travel with their parents.

Tammy called several companies searching for one that would allow a baby to be a passenger in the truck. The company would also need to provide the income Backs required for their newly enlarged family. After analyzing the options available to them, Chris, Tammy, and Amanda arrived at National Carriers orientation six weeks later. Amanda attended in her pumpkin seat as her parents became qualified to drive for NCI. The Backs felt bonding with both parents was a priority for Amanda. They wanted her to know who her parents were and what they did for a living. She remained on the truck until she began public school.

Today, Tammy and Amanda spend the school year at their Colorado farm as Chris continues to drive. During the summer they hit the road in the families’ 2003 Peterbilt 379. Operating on the 48 state lease Chris is dispatched my Michael Ritchie, who insures Chris gets home when needed. Just as importantly, Michael gets Chris a load when he is ready to head back out on the road.

“NCI provides well for us and we enjoy the family atmosphere”, Chris shared.

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Old Hands Feel Neglect

Several years ago I read and studied a book entitled The Five Love Languages by author Gary D. Chapman. Designed to strengthen marriages, I believe that it can be applied to most interpersonal relationships. This prompted my thoughts concerning the least appreciated people at most transportation companies.

When a trucking firm begins a new orientation class, the company and employees are optimistic and excited to have the “new blood” on board. Each driver has a clean slate with seemingly unlimited potential. At times, special considerations are afforded the new hire that normally would not apply. The buzz and enthusiasm seems to stimulate the workplace. Ah, the honeymoon! We all remember those times in our life.

If new drivers get the most enthusiasm and encouragement – who gets the least?  In the transportation industry our veteran drivers tend to be taken for granted. They have “been there and done that” and know the drill. They once had their honeymoon period, but it has long since passed. We expect nothing short of perfection of our experienced company drivers. Many times we are quick to be critical and hold a higher standard for our long-term operators. Holding veteran drivers to this standard is fair, but until recently, what was not fair is the fact a two year or even five year seasoned NCI driver received the same pay as the honeymooning new hire.

1  In a recent announcement NCI began rewarding company drivers with six months continuous driving experience at NCI an additional cent per mile. Those with two years of continuous service received an extra two cents per mile and our long-serving continuous five year plus drivers received a three cents per mile pay increase. If you fall into the latter group and drive 110,000 miles a year the increase will equate to a $3,300 per year raise. What a fantastic way for a company to show appreciation to the unsung heroes who have “been there and done that”. Additional income is a Love Language we can all understand.

Ed Kentner:  Social Media Director

Ed Kentner: Social Media Director

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I Am Here to Help Others

Accommodating, benevolent, cooperative, friendly, kind, invaluable, neighborly, pragmatic, and supportive are adjectives that have been used to describe NCI truck fleet owner, Curtis Rabb. Anyone who has met and worked with Rabb is usually quick to share what an upstanding person he is. Most will have a story that exemplifies one of the aforementioned attributes.

The NCI portion of the Curtis Rabb story begins on July 24, 2000. Living in Arlington, TX, owner operator Curtis joined NCI driving on the 48 state lease. Over the next 6-7 years, he learned National Carrier’s freight base and operating structure. He began to consider buying an additional truck.

Currently, long-time owner operator, David Long, is operating Rabb’s second truck. David said, “Curtis needed a driver and my truck had been involved in an accident. I told him I would drive his truck while I tried to figure out what direction I was going to go.” David is still driving for Rabb and shares, “Long story short – I am still driving his truck. I think Curtis is one of the finest individuals I know.”

A year later, Rabb added an additional truck that former owner operator Mack Anderson now drives. Six months later, he followed with the purchase of the truck that his brother, Nathan, operates. The latest truck Curtis has added to his fleet is driven by Keith Smith. Earlier it was operated by Luis Vera, who joined the NCI Truck Leasing program with Rabb’s approval. “It delights me to see my drivers better themselves, whether it is using my equipment to make a living or moving on to better themselves,” Curtis said, “After all, it is my reliable drivers that make my fleet successful,” he concluded.     CurtisRabb_1

In addition to overseeing his fleet trucks, Rabb drives his truck within Texas, focused on hauling Taylor Farms and Nestle freight. Curtis is featured on the National Carriers YouTube channel. His video has become one of the most popular, probably because he really is all of the positive adjectives folks use to describe him.

Call 800 835 2097 x 3 to join NCI

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Our Favorite Short Short Short Halloween Stories

Happy Halloween. Here are a few of our favorite short, short, short Halloween stories.

That licking of your toes — usually it’s softer, warmer. You see the dog, standing in the other room, staring at you, silent.                                                                                    written by Eric Sasson

The Murder House Tour is bullshit: the House of the Crazed Chiropractor, the House of the Fallen Weatherman, the House of the Ill-Informed Doomsday Cult. The last stop is a prefab, modern and  obviously brand -new, and I ask, “Who was murdered here?” right before the  screams.                                                                                                                   written by Mat Johnson

It wasn’t what you’d expect, how she knew she was never truly alone. It was the damp trail of moisture she sometimes found–along the arch of her spine, across her shoulders, between her breasts — that let her know he was there.                                             written by Roxane Gay

When I was 9, the birds stopped still in the sky and I saw the men that move between moments. They sang silently as they prepared the lake where my little sister was about to drown.                                                                                                     written by Saladin Ahmed

Carving by Ray Villafane

Carving by Ray Villafane

Working as a truck driver does not have to be scary. National Carriers offers new equipment, good pay, and good miles to keep our drivers busy and profitable. Regional and national driving opportunities are currently available. 2014 model Kenworth trucks and 2014 Utility trailers highlight our recent investment in current technology and equipment for our professional drivers.

National Carriers recruiting department can assist drivers in the application process by calling 800 835 2097 x3 or by visiting www.drivernci.com or www.nationalcarriers.com.

 

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Keep Our Customers – Deliver on Time

Transportation companies have one thing to sell: service. How long would a carrier be in business if their drivers were always late with pick- ups and deliveries? Picking up and delivering each load is critical to the success of our company and insures each driver keeps his/her job.

If a driver makes a late pickup or delivery usually poor time management and lack of communication are to blame.. Here are three rules I live by:

1. Don’t take the load if you cannot deliver on time.

2. Once you’ve accepted the load and find that you are going to be delayed – communicate to those involved. A late delivery or pickup may be avoided by communicating with your driver manager.

3. When possible check into the shipper or receiver early. Most locations allow you in the gate an hour early. Drivers need to be there within the one hour window. If a driver waits to check in at the appointed time, he/she may be late getting to the check-in window itself. When that happens, the driver is labeled as late and normally has to wait. Feeling punished, the driver then has to resist getting a bad attitude.

A domino affect then begins: The driver arrives late – the driver waits to be rescheduled – the driver misses getting the next load or can’t be scheduled on another load until the shipper works them into their dock. The driver loses revenue, the company loses utilization of the driver’s truck and both get a black eye.

Why deliver on time? Your job and the company you work for depends on it to maintain customers. Each day drivers and driver managers need to try their hardest to satisfy our customer with our best service.

Happy Trails,

Steve Danielson

NCI Owner Operator Steve Danielson

NCI Owner Operator Steve Danielson

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Criteria for NCI Driver of the Month

Driver of the Month compete for Driver of the Year

Driver of the Month compete for Driver of the Year

Each month, drivers are nominated for National Carriers, Inc Driver of the Month. Anyone affiliated with NCI can nominate an outstanding driver. Nominees are measured against pre-set criteria including, but not limited to:

 

 

MUST HAVE A CLEAN AND NEAT APPEARANCE

MUST HAVE A POSITIVE ATTITUDE

MUST NOT HAVE A PREVENTABLE ACCIDENT OR CARGO CLAIM IN THE PAST 365 DAYS

NO PREVENTABLE SERVICE FAILURES IN THE PAST 365 DAYS

CSA SCORE MUST BE POSITIVE, NO FAILED DOT INSPECTIONS

MUST HAVE COMPLETED ONE YEAR SERVICE TO BE ELIGIBLE

Ed Kentner: NCI Social Media Director

Ed Kentner: NCI Social Media Director

 

 

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Driver Training Program

NCI offers a limited  driver training program.

All candidates must possess a valid Class A-CDL and be at least 23 years of age.The examples listed below are typical types of candidates we can consider bringing into the program:

Any Ex-Military veteran having previous experience with tractor trailer combinations.

Current student drivers working for a carrier with a known student training program – must have certificate of completion from CDL-school plus a minimum of 3 months OTR.

  • An individual who has previous experience, but has been out of trucking for an extended period – (Example – has 10 years previous experience as OTR driver but has been working in warehouse setting for last 5 years and now wants to get back into driving).
  •  Driver has at least six months to one year experience in a non-OTR driving position (Example – Individual has been running for the last year in Oil or Gas fields or working a local position operating a tractor trailer combination).

Candidates should possess all of the following:

  • Positive, motivated, can-do attitude. (If the trainee applicant has a negative or sour attitude during the recruiting process they should not be considered for participation in the program).
  • Acceptable safety record
  • Acceptable job history

NCI Safety Manager Micky Boyce

Call Mickey at 800 835 2097 x 6431 for details.

 

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