It is 4.45 in the morning, pitch black outside. The alarm clock goes away – the most despised sound at the beginning of the day. He hits it out, half asleep. Trying to escape this oh-so-comfortable slumber, all he could think of is how he’s going to need a little more time to catch up. 5 minutes, tops! A minute later, another alarm goes off, tearing him from his inertia all over again. Sensing it’s going to be futile to keep on fighting his time, he surrenders to his time-keeper & gradually rolls out of bed.
His spouse dozes peacefully, he cried at her a minute – they’ve been married since high school & he’s still in love with her. Through the painful times, when their world appeared to fall, he learned to appreciate her even more. He’s thankful for having her in his life but hardly acknowledges it. A weary smirk grows out of the corner of his mouth as he gets up, goes into the bathroom & gets prepared.
Half an hour after, he fetches his lunch box in the kitchen, grabs his equipment locks the door as he leaves his Property.’ I expect that mad leakage finally gets fixed today!’ He thinks, as he jumps to his truck, springs out that the driveway & heads to get the job done. A pipeline burst at one of those shafts close to the lift, flooding the central place at the very top. Getting in & out of the mine has become a pain. He’s been supervising at an asbestos mine mid-managerial level, just shy of 13 years now. He’s been working inside, overall, for 30 decades.
The time is currently 6.00 am & he is just coming outside. As he puts on his hard hat & walks towards the mine, then his foreman suits him sarcastically jokes about how he did not get any last night again, then briefs him about the afternoon. He takes a look at the roster, sifting through the webpages of this action log. ‘Tunnel 6 approaching 80% conclusion’
‘Whoa! If the guys keep it up at this speed, we’ll finish the project 6 weeks in advance.’ he thinks to himself. ‘Way to go, boys!’
Before he walks up the staircase to his office supporting the main entrance, he appears to his abandoned & notices something he’s not happy about at all. The central area remains flooded up & currently leaking down the lift.
‘Those contractors are in for this !’
Inside his office, he drops his gear in the cupboard, sinks to his office chair & begins collating the final week’s documents on tunnel 5’s output. He has been leading all project management since he was a foreman & regardless of his enormous experience & virtually unblemished track record over his career he gets nervous whenever he’s conducting a job. It is the very same butterflies in his tummy he has not managed to eliminate, over the years. They’ve probably been responsible for his high performance, he reckons, so he’s not particularly bothered.
3 minutes go by & a tiny heap of accounts has already piled up in front of him on his greatly, document-littered desk; he still needs a few more before he meets up with his group, then telephones the agency to violate hell on the pool builders. Pictures of his daughter, when she was a young child, hang behind him on the wall. Portraits of his wife & son present beside him. How time flies! Just yesterday, it seemed, he was projecting his daughter up in the air, as she always loved; today she’s about to graduate from college, with a major in cybernetic engineering & 23,000 debts. Along with his son, a freshman on a full scholarship in a top private university doesn’t quit calling & texting about the woman he’s newly dropped for, whom he is now convinced will be the one.
Got it! The last pair of reports he’d been looking for. In the bottom of the heap as always, when you’re looking for something. Off to brief the guys. He shuts his office door but suddenly feels dizzy & an incredible pain in his torso – like a heavyweight boxing match to the world name, trying to break from it. He feels frantic at the same time & is, inexplicably, getting out of breath. The day has not even started & he generally only feels like this, halfway through. It’s been a month or two now enjoy this, but he has been shrugging off it as a normal thing that accompanies age. At 59, he is entering a new stage in life & kissing his prime years goodbye.
It is at the point, where he gets off the stairs, he notices how light his palms are, after wiping the perspiration from his forehead. Struggling to breathe, he blanks out within a couple of split seconds & drops head-first into the ground, all the way from the past 3 steps of the stairs.
The next thing that he understands is that he’s lying on a bed, without the typical sounds & noise in the atmosphere. ‘The day could not possibly be finished! Where did everybody go?’
Groggy, he opens his eyes, to detect he is not even at work anymore. He’s in a private room that resembles a hospital. It’s filled with medical equipment, a large window behind him on the left… & his wife sitting next to him, holding his right hand. He really is in a hospital… yet has no idea how he got there! Benzene exposure resources in Baton Rouge may also be associated with asbestos exposure illnesses.