I recently worked at a frightening worksite.
Proof that I am not very smart can be entirely summed up in one sentence. See the sign that reads “Poison Gas”? I drove towards the poison gas plant.
The poison gas is H2S. It is a byproduct of oil and natural gas refining. It is a gas that smells slightly of sulphur, just before it kills you. This site had so many deaths due to leaks, everyone has to carry around an emergency oxygen tank. Oh, I am sorry, “We performed a safety audit and determined that these escape breathers were necessary”. That is the official sentence from the company. That is more than likely a lie. No company voluntarily purchases $40,000 in emergency breathers because of “a voluntary audit”.
This plant was near a town that I thought was abandoned. I called it ‘American Horror Story: Scary Town”. Now, I have never seen the show ‘American Horror Story”, but the commercials were disturbing.
This town looked like the end of every Stephen King novel. We drove in and I said, “Wow, it is always strange to drive through these old abandoned towns”. At that moment, an elderly woman in (of course) an antique nightgown walked out of her house with a broom to dust…the other dust, I assume. I was blown away. A person actually lives in this hellhole. Then her (I assume) husband walked out the door and waved to us. he was wearing the standard “Nature says do not touch” outfit of boxers, stained white tank top, one cowboy boot and one slipper, and a bathrobe (tied to his head, as per the norm). There is no store in the town, so I assume they just eat foolish contractors who did not get enough gas in their trucks before driving through.
I hated the site. It was hot, it was loud and my gas detector kept going off at random intervals. Halfway through the project, I developed an illness. The next part of this blog can be a little gross. Ok, you have been warned.
A couple days into the project, my eyes were irritated. I had a stuffed up nose and a sore throat. Then, on a Sunday, I started having blurry vision in one eye and kept having to wipe “sleep” out of my eye. Then, I blew my nose. Well, I tried to blow my nose. A stream of snot blew out of my tear duct. Yes, I screamed like a little girl and then made disgusting noises. Suddenly my vision got way worse. I went to a mirror to look and I saw that I had inflated my eyelids as well. I looked like this:
I told my supervisor that I needed to leave the site. The nearest urgent care/doctor’s office was in Cheyenne. I had to drive 150 miles with one working eye and one tear duct that may as well have been a loaded shotgun, excuse me, snotgun. It was difficult to drive that way because I felt so crappy, sorry, snotty. I eventually made it to an urgent care at 5 pm. The nearest pharmacy closed at 6. I was finally seen by a doctor. This man was a short, gray haired man with tiny glasses on his nose. I immediately thought of the movie “Doc Hollywood” and expected him to say,” Well, did you rub some Coke on it to fix it?” He asked if I could have any foreign particles in my eye. I wasn’t sure. He prodded with his abnormally large fingers and flipped eyelids this way and that. I told him about my new “snot fountain” ability. He said, “Well, they are all connected inside your head, son”. He told me I had an eye infection and wrote me a prescription for antibiotics. I raced across the street to the pharmacy. it was 6:01 pm on a Sunday as I rushed up to the counter. The people were closing up and I begged them to stay 5 minutes more and fill my prescription. I guess I used my “begging eye” (it was the left one and it looked like this: )
They filled my prescription and then I started the 200 mile drive back to the hotel with antibiotics and a still loaded snotgun.
The drive was strangely uneventful. At least I assume it was. There may have been a bunch of things that happened on the left side. More than likely, there was a Swedish Bikini team who loved to play video games and read comics , but they only needed a few gallons of gas (or my dirty clothes) to get to the next town. Oh well, guess I missed them.
The next day, my eye looked better. The picture I have shown here is the next day. That horrific sight that makes children scream and milk curdle was when it started to look better.
As a crew, we meet in the lobby of the hotel to start our safety meeting. I walked up to my site supervisor with an eye that looked like I had been punched by a fist made of snot and said, “I think I am too sick to come in, but if you need me to, I will come in”. The way the entire crew jumped back and could look me in the eye (well, not that I could tell. They may have been looking in the left one) pretty much sealed the deal. I had a day off. What joy! Nothing says “nice day off” like being able to watch snot drain from various orifices. I don’t know why people don’t pay for the experience. Oh wait, I did. Apparently, my insurance does not cover “snot geyser” so I had to pay $300 to keep an eye. I guess it was a good trade, but I would look dashing in an eyepatch. Ha ha, just kidding. I don’t dash anywhere.