Be prepared’ isn’t just a suggestion – it’s a must in today’s world

October 7, 2020

Wendy Parker

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OOIDA senior member Roy Solomon spent the last five weeks off work because of an unexpected illness. He estimates his lost revenue at somewhere around $25,000 and is still waiting for a response other than “no” from unemployment provisions made for the self-employed out there who are still losing huge chunks of work time to being ill with COVID-19.

He and his wife, Janice, began their COVID-19 odyssey back around the end of August, when they both started feeling lethargic.

“It started with my wife,” he told Land Line. “She was really tired-acting, wanting to lay around, and that’s not like her.”

The couple hails from Beaumont, Texas. Janice hauls gravel for a local company. Roy is an owner-operator leased on with a fair-sized tanker operation out of Tennessee. He’s had a dedicated run for a number of years now and reports preventative pandemic measures were put in place within his company by the end of February.

Illness hit

“It’s hard to say where we picked it up,” he said. “My wife has worn a mask religiously since this all started. She’s always got one on outside the house.”

He went on to say that Janice has asthma, but it is well controlled and doesn’t usually bother her.

“I felt run down and tired. I thought I had a urinary tract infection, or something like that,” he said. “I wasn’t having respiratory problems.”

After receiving and taking a round of antibiotics for a urinary tract infection that were prescribed by a remote-access doctor, Roy didn’t feel any better and his wife had developed further symptoms of COVID-19. They were both tested for the virus on Sept. 6.

“We got our positive diagnosis on the 7th of September,” Roy said. “Thankfully neither of us had to go to the hospital, but we were both so tired and weak we couldn’t do much of anything but lay around.”

Solomon continued to experience gastrointestinal tract symptoms for several weeks. He lost 20 pounds but never his sense of taste or smell, and he never had respiratory issues beyond a cough. His wife, on the other hand, lost both her taste and smell and still doesn’t feel like either have returned fully. Her symptoms were mostly breathing-related.

Five weeks off work would be a wallop in the wallet for any driver if they weren’t properly prepared. Mix in the owner-operator status and sprinkle in having your spouse incapacitated at the same time, and you’ve got a recipe for business woes.

More than 20 years of experience on the road taught Solomon (the hard way) to expect the unexpected.

“I got hit by a drunk driver a few years back,” he said. “I was out for a lot longer than five weeks.”

Fortunately, the Solomons were prepared.

“That time off reinforced my belief that you have to insure your business – and yourself – properly. Make sure your notes are covered if you’re out of the game – it’s worth the money you spend on the front side to have that peace of mind.”

Good to be back

Wednesday, Oct. 7, marks Roy’s first day back at it since his diagnosis and recuperation. He’s happy for obvious reasons, but one in particular.

“We were lucky,” he said. “We know a lot of people who haven’t done so well, a lot of friends who have family dead from it.”

He’s got a bit of wisdom to share beyond being ready businesswise.

“I want everyone to survive,” he said. “Wash your hands, wear your masks, and listen to the doctors and scientists telling you what to do.” LL