When it came time to pile into the company van and drive over to the "wellness center" I was happier than most. I could care less about the drug test -- I don't drink, smoke or do drugs so the likelihood of mine coming back positive isn't much of a concern. The lobby of the place was packed with the nine of us and a handful of others that arrived before us. Shortly, someone had commandeered the TV remote and placed it on the "Spike" channel where we watched a series of gory "America's most appalling video" type material. Hey it took my mind off of my bladder, mostly.
My time came and I fairly rushed to the lab area where the "specimen" would be collected. Wash hands, take everything out of pockets, take cup into adjacent bathroom. DO NOT flush. Fill cup to such-and-such a line, if possible. No problemo!
Then, like the steer you are at that point, you get weighed, measured, poked and prodded. I'm still 6'4" tall and 301 pounds. Blood pressure 130 over 80. Heart rate 55. Uncorrected color vision and normal hearing.
I was handed a pair of blue disposable shorts and told to strip down for the doctor who would be in shortly. I would like to heap much praise on the person who invented this novel device: they are so much better than the old hospital gowns!
The doctor cruises in and we get down to business. Poked here, prodded there. Listens to heart, listens to lungs, tests reflexes, palpates abdomen. And of course, the highlight of his day and mine: the hernia check. The doctor cruises back out as I change back into my regular clothes and go wait for the agility and strength test.
I'm asked if I have a host of problems related to back pain, strains and the like. Eventually, I'm given a device that tests the pressure your hands exert when you close them and I register 150 foot pounds with my right hand and 145 with my left. I didn't really try all that hard with my right hand and went all out with my (weaker) left just to see if I could get a rise out of him. No dice.
Next I did a series of arm and torso movements, touch your toes, twist from side to side, bend backwards, etc. Then I was led over to a box on the floor that I had to lift to my waist three times. Just 25 pounds, so no big deal. Then the same thing with the weight increased to 50 pounds. Not much of a big deal, though I was breathing a bit heavy. Then the weight was increased to 75 pounds and I had to pick it up and put it on a shelf about shoulder height three times. By now I was puffing a bit, though I could still manage the tasks easily enough.
Then I was made to go from a standing position to a crouching position and touch the ground twenty times which wasn't a problem, though my breathing was getting ragged. Next up was a test where I pulled a 200 pound cart about five feet towards me with one hand, then pushed it back into place with both hands. This was easy.
Finally, the tester lead me over to a standard aluminum ladder and had me hold on to it and stand up on the second step, without touching the first step. Five times, using both legs. I was huffing and sweating after this, though I completed it with no trouble. Thankfully, that was enough pain and suffering for now and I was allowed to leave.
When we had all finished, we were given a package with the various reports to give to our newfound masters and we drove back over to the company yard.
Here we suffered the first casualty of orientation: the lone female managed to not pass several parts of the physical and was let go. She sat next to me and I had even
The mind-numbing routine of signing, dating, reading this-and-that and the like continued until just after 1700. We were given the option to stay later today or come in early tomorrow and by default we chose to come in early. When I mentioned in the van on the way back to the hotel that we will need to leave at 0645 it raised some grumbling, though those that grumbled never brought this up during orientation.
Typical group of truckers.