Sleep disorder in the headlight
ONE of the most talked-about subjects among truckies at roadhouses Spy has frequented in recent weeks has been sleep disorders.
Sleep apnoea gained plenty of publicity nationally after it was spoken about on the program for TruckWeek 2012 in August.
It was revealed that more than 40% of Australian long- distance truck drivers suffer from Obstructive Sleep Apnoea.
However, the Epworth sleepiness scale currently used in driver medicals only picks up 12.2%, leaving the majority of these apnoea sufferers undiagnosed and untreated. Sleep apnoea is a condition where the soft tissues of the throat close or partially obstruct the airway while a person is asleep, preventing them from getting proper rest. This can then lead to daytime sleepiness, fatigue and poor reaction times, and can more than double their accident risk.
That information has provided awareness for many truckies around Oz.
Some of the truckies Spy yarned to reckon they have genuine symptoms, but like many Aussie males in all walks of life, won't go to a doctor.
The good news is that sleep apnoea can be treated, and once that occurs, life is so much better.
You generally spend a night in the sleep disorders unit of a hospital where wires are attached to the body and that diagnoses how bad your condition is.
After that, a specialist will advise you to buy a machine which pumps air into the nose at night, and generally you get a great night's sleep.
Another bonus is that your wife or partner, who had in the past evacuated the marital bed for another room because of the loud snoring, can get a decent sleep next to you.
So any truckie who reckons they may have sleep apnoea should go to his or her GP as a first step to treatment.
THERE is a truckie who often delivers sex aids, among other general freight, to small outback towns.
Often he drops off such things as Big John Rubber Dolls for women who work on stations or in other jobs.
"Every month I deliver these things to jillaroos and I guess they must get lonely working at such remote locations," he said.
There is a very amusing side to such deliveries, according to our mate.
"Every time a woman takes delivery of one, she always says it is for somebody else - either a friend or a sister, and they reckon they are merely picking it up," he quipped.
But our truckie reckons he knows better.
A NSW truckie who had just got out of his light rig and was delivering soft drink to a shopping centre was less than impressed at the reaction by onlookers when he had a minor mishap.
Spy was sitting nearby and the driver had some product on a trolley when he was about to enter a lift to take it to a second-storey business.
As the lift doors opened he accidentally dropped several cartons off the trolley and three people nearby laughed loudly.
He responded with a series of unrepeatable expletives.
Rubbish rub out
PICKING up rubbish used to be a nice earner for numerous owner drivers around the country.
But not any more, it seems, as a couple of truckies who are in the business told Spy.
These fellows usually have light rigs, and in these tough times even rubbish-collecting is on a downer.
One driver told Spy that people just don't seem to be getting their rubbish picked up and taken to the dump.
"Things are very tight out there and having rubbish or old items collected is something that has slowed down. It costs me $100 a tonne fees at the local council dump.
"I used to pick up lots of beds, old fridges, washing machines and other stuff but now they leave it at home or get a family member to take it," he said.