The High Cost of Earning a Living

Reblogged from

The High Cost of Earning a Living


 My brain is still chewing on this word. The sound…the feeling…the taste of it. I lie awake at night and twist the word around and around…slowly bending it, watching it spiral around and down and down into the darkness where it fades away…only to rise up again in a flashing neon image I cannot erase from my mind.

“Danger, Will Robinson…Danger..!”

Note the line on the sign about respirators being required…that one really makes me laugh…in that snarky, assholish kind of way, that is. We just found out that the respirators Dad used on all of his industrial painting jobs were full of…mesothelioma-causing asbestos. It’d be a real hoot if it weren’t so damned infuriating.

For years my dad sacrificed any kind of normal home life in order to take on huge industrial jobs -often out of town – to pay the bills. He spent his life painting water treatment and sewage plants, copper-smelting stacks…sometimes he would lay on a skateboard inside of huge sections of pipe, just wide enough for a man’s shoulders to fit through…all geared up in his “safety respirator”, he’d spray industrial paints and coat the insides of the pipes…with toxic paints, of course.

When I was about 10 years old, Dad, his dad and my older brother worked a job painting at the Kennecott Mining operation up in Hurley, NM. They had a little travel-trailer parked between the train tracks that carried the mining cars and a little stream that bled off from the mines. The stream was yellowish and sometimes smelled funny but on weekend visits, we kids would splash and play in it anyways…and the fumes from the smelting process would drift down the canyon and get locked-in…they caused the most bizarre of hallucinogenic dreams at night. Parts of the smoke stacks our menfolk worked on were made from heat-resistant asbestos brick…but not to worry because they were safe and wore their masks…


English: The Chino open-pit copper mine locate...The Chino open-pit copper mine located just out of Silver City, New Mexico. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Kennecott Chino Mines Division  ”The Chino mine and processing facilities are located at Hurley, New Mexico, near the historic mining community of Silver City. It is one of the largest open-pit copper mines in the world. The Chino mine covers over 9,000 acres. The pit is 1.75 miles across. Chino is a porphyry open-pit copper mine and was one of the first low-grade, open-pit copper mines in the world. (Freeport-McMoRan Copper & Gold Inc.)


But…the money was good. Yes indeed…the money was good some years…lucky us. 

Stage IV Pleural Mesothelioma…quite a mouthful, isn’t it? Quite a brainful, too, believe me.

From Wiki – “Mesothelioma (or, more precisely, malignant mesothelioma) is a rare form of cancer that develops from cells of the mesothelium, the protective lining that covers many of the internal organs of the body. Mesothelioma is most commonly caused by exposure to asbestos. The most common anatomical site for mesothelioma is the pleura (the outer lining of the lungs and internal chest wall), but it can also arise in the peritoneum (the lining of the abdominal cavity), the pericardium (the sac that surrounds the heart), or the tunica vaginalis (a sac that surrounds the testis).

Most people who develop mesothelioma have worked in jobs where they inhaled or ingested asbestos fibers, or were exposed to airborne asbestos dust and fibers in other ways. Washing clothes of a family member who worked with asbestos also creates a risk for developing mesothelioma…”

70-85% of all cases of Meso are not diagnosed until Stages III or IV…and there are no treatment options available once the disease progresses past Stage I. Well, there is always chemo and radiation but there is zero percent chance of success so why put a human being through that hell? Even the surgery option available to Stage I patients sounds so horrific I’m not sure it should be legal and I don’t think it would matter in this instance as Dad is intent on not being “butchered” before his death. We went through that with Mom’s breast cancer so none of us blame him a damn bit for refusing treatment.

~ Quality over Quantity ~

From here on in through til the end of whatever short time we may have left, it’s all about the Quality of his life. He wants to go fishing one last time so even if we have to stock a kiddie pool with carp and set him out in the front yard, he will get his wish. Chocolate ice cream for breakfast? Yessir, coming right up and would you like some whipped cream on top? Jokes, family, more jokes…some laughter and lots of family-history stories to commit to memory.  I have a special tattoo to get…I won’t have many more chances to razz the ol’ man, I have to aggravate him with love while I can…and nothing would tickle and annoy him more than me getting a reproduction of the Cupid Doll tattoo he had inked on his arm at the ripe old age of…SEVEN. Mwahahahahaha! He flicks my nose ring, I tug his ponytail…it’s all about the harassment of loving gestures, isn’t it?

I’m not sure exactly how to properly honor the man who literally gave his life in providing for us but I do know that I am damn sure going to try my best…after everything he’s done for his family and for what it has cost him, the man deserves every ounce of happiness that can possibly be squeezed from the last few drops of a very rich life…



One thought on “The High Cost of Earning a Living

  1. Thank you again for helping carry on the story and legacy of working men like my dad. Means more than you can probably imagine. ~Rebecca

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s