QUINN PLAYS GOD (Guest Post by Paul Curran)

We can never get enough Paul Curran stories!

Paul Curran, we want to hear from you again.

QUINN PLAYS GOD

By Paul Curran

The phone rang at 1:32 am. I rolled over and fumbled for the cell and then flipped it open:

“’lo?”

Paul, were you asleep?”

Ummm, yeah but’s OK. What’s up Quinn?”

I was slowly surfacing from the grasping fingers of slumber. Sitting up in bed, I picked up my cigarettes and lighter from the night table in the dark and sparked a smoke into flame. Drawing deeply on the filter, I felt my brain slowly shrug off sleep and move to problem-solving mode.

Quinn was my sort of boss. It was a complex relationship – far, far too complex, but in reality invigorating on some not good but seriously emotional level. I would like nothing more than a roll in the sack with her- she turned me on seriously – but she was married to a man that I respected as much as I respected anyone. He was a funny, dedicated, deep and devoted man – how I could lust after his wife, my boss, was beyond me. So, we are back to “Hello”.

Night Calls

Paul I just got back from the vet’s. When I came home tonight Rowena [one of her two Shiatzus] was lying on the floor on her side and breathing heavy. She wouldn’t move so I called the vet and he said to bring her in. I’ve had her for 13 years Paul and it hurt so, so much to see her like that. The vet said we could give her medication but she was in pain and that pain would never go away.”

Sobs now down the phone line. And I’m not sure how to respond.

Quinn, you did what you could …

Now wailing:

But Paul, I DON’T WANT TO PLAY GOD!!”

More sobs.

“I-I-I had to have her p-p-put down.”

Her pain was so in my face that tears were now coursing down my cheeks. I took another drag on the cigarette and tried to stabilize my emotions.

Oh Quinn, it was her time. You saved her from further pain. She had a loving, caring home for so many years. She couldn’t have asked for more.”

Vet Clinic

Quinn was not unfamiliar with this argument – she was a registered nurse who had worked in palliative care for years. She had gently cradled untold numbers of frail human forms as their souls had crossed over. During her time, although there was no official euthanasia, sometimes increasing loads of pain killers in the bloodstream would become fatal. The staff was aware when a patient had suffered enough and when their pain increased yet again, the painkiller would increase accordingly and when necessary, fatally with tenderness and love. Every single involved health care worker would deny this to even their colleagues but the sad look told it all. We played God – that was our job as God’s children and Quinn wasn’t saying otherwise, she was lamenting how hard that part of life was.

Quinn was our corporate safety director and as such was my direct boss in my position as regional safety director. She was less than 5 feet tall (and she would never say how much less) with mid-back length real blonde hair and bangs which she was constantly blowing out of her eyes when her hands were full. She was cute as a pixie and as tough as a stevedore. She was a registered nurse and she and her husband co-owned a tractor-trailer which he drove coast to coast for another company. Quinn was a licensed transport driver with considerable experience even on B-trains (two trailers). If you wanted a good laugh, you could watch bystanders’ reaction when an 80 foot, 140,000 pound double tanker pulled into a customer’s yard, backed into a tight spot and a petite 4 foot something, 85 pound, long-haired blonde jumped out – it was surreal. Quinn worked out of our head office about 300 miles from my terminal. Her office was about 15 feet down the hall from one owner and directly opposite from the other. She took care of all the hard jobs and exacting jobs and messy jobs and secret jobs for the owner. If he needed someone to stop birds from pooping on his Corvette or if he needed someone to go into a house that had just had gas put into a furnace tank and would explode if the furnace started – she was the one. From million dollar equipment purchases to the floor cleaners – she was also the one consulted.

Stress Relievers

Quinn and I both drank and smoked too much at the time – it was a job hazard when you were always on call and always waiting for the next big one – and would call each other at all hours to talk. A driver once confided in me that he was uncomfortable calling her after hours because she was usually drunk, and I pointed out that he would always get the attention he needed from a service truck (her contact list was second to none and I swear she had every person’s number within a 500 mile radius) to emergency vehicles and my concern wouldn’t be a lack of response, it would be that she would call out the National Guard.

The above makes Quinn sound like a lush but when she was at work, she was sharp, sharp, sharp and nothing got past her. She would take on anything at any time and would always accomplish her goals. I wanted a “Quinn” moment to illustrate this and as hard as I thought I came up with lists of tasks she accomplished against all odds but no giant triumphant moment. I realized that was because Quinn never wanted recognition, she worked behind the scenes to make it perfect for others – never herself.

Open Topped Chip Trailers Being Unloaded – Not an Option in Yard

(Note the sliding hatch in silver just above the rear wheels)

I rolled into the Head Office yard one cold, dark, day with sleet pelting the trucks, and there was Quinn dressed in an insulated coverall with steel toed boots and her hair tied back, high up on top of a load of wood chips in an open top trailer. She was shoveling wood chips over the side onto the ground. Directly under her was an open chute in the side of the trailer but the load was too wet to slide out. As I watched, a mechanic climbed up on top with her and stood close by. Another stood beside the trailer with a rope that went up the side and was tied around Quinn’s waist. I looked at all this and inquired as to what was going on. He explained that a new driver had loaded too much weight in wood chips and it couldn’t cross the scale for delivery. Wood chips only had value by the ton so they were unloading a few thousand pounds by hand. They had tried the chute but the load wouldn’t slide. Quinn had been on top earlier shoveling and the load had shifted burying her up to her chest in chips. They had dug her out but decided to have a spotter and a rope around her in case it happened again. She was fearless.

Unloading a B-Train Fuel Tanker

Another time, a large customer of ours – a pressboard plant north of head office – went on strike. Our owner’s brother owned the plant, and he intended to run it with management. They used a huge amount of furnace oil heating the wood product before pressing, and they also had diesel refueling facilities for the fleet of trucks that hauled in pulpwood. As a consequence, we hauled a few trailer loads a day of furnace and diesel into the plant. The strikers threatened our drivers, who decided they would not cross the picket lines. We had a court order allowing us through, but the strikers were threatening the drivers’ families and it was getting nasty. It was decided, with her buy-on, that our drivers would bring the loads to HO and Quinn would deliver them. She did this for two weeks while the labour issue was debated. This tiny, skinny, less than 5 foot blond with aviator sunglasses, steel toed boots and leather work gloves, crossed that picket line at least twice a day in and out unloading 50 tons of petroleum each trip. They threatened her and stood in the way, and she just pushed them with the front bumper of the huge tanker until they backed off. When they realized that she would run over them if necessary, they weren’t quite so brave and came to respect her. Towards the end when she rolled up with that 80 foot rig with two tanks behind it and weighing 140,000 pounds, the picket lines parted like the Red Sea and then closed behind her. She was the only vendor that the strikers ever let through. (Plant management took the pulp trucks through.)

Sudbury – called the Big Nickel by Truckers because of Mines

Then there was the time she had a government audit and discovered that activities her employees had been doing for years now required a government approved training course. There were no less than 5 areas including enclosed spaces, fall arrest, etc, in which we now had to have certification. She called me one day and told me the problem and then said she would meet me in Sudbury the next morning (about 300 miles from Ottawa and 150 miles from HO) so we could both get the required “train the trainer” training with a certified consultant she employed upon occasion. I met her after a 6 hour drive starting at 2 AM and we sat in a classroom all day. She was smart and competitive, and we ended up in a contest of who would finish the tests first and get the most right. Of the 5 courses, we each won 2 and we tied on one. I was a little bit faster and she was a bit more accurate. And she was pissed that she gave up two wins to me –I could see her clamping her teeth together. Ha! That was fun.

And so it went day in and day out – if you needed help on the road, call Quinn; if there was a legal problem, call Quinn; if there was a customer problem, call Quinn; if there was a management problem, call Quinn; and so on. She got more people out of trouble and saved the company more money and customers than any other employee. I often said that when I got into trouble I liked to hide behind a little 5 foot blonde. And she was a joy to work with, never ceasing to amaze and always willing to settle any issues collaboratively but never afraid of confrontation. She had one huge 6 foot 5 inch trucker who was drunk and interrupting a safety meeting of hers and she took a moment and grabbed him by the ear and escorted him out while chastising him loudly. He behaved himself after that.

***

Are you going to be OK Quinn?”

Sniffles.

Yeah, you know I’ll be fine. And I have my sister’s Shiatzu, Benjy, coming next week – I’m dog sitting while they are out of the country. He’ll keep me busy.”

It will be fine Quinn; you know Rowena wouldn’t want you to be sad. She loved it when you were happy and dancing.

Yeah, I know. Thanks for letting me bend your ear Paul. Goodnight.”

’nite Quinn. Talk to you tomorrow.”

Good Night

__________

Paul Curran and I love to hear from our readers.  You may comment on this post, comment on my Facebook or Twitter pages, or email me at cordeliasmom2012@yahoo.com

_________

Images are linked back to original source (source identified below image).

This entry was posted in Guest Posters, Paul Curran, Pets, That's Life and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

47 Responses to QUINN PLAYS GOD (Guest Post by Paul Curran)

  1. Paul says:

    Thanks so much for the opportunity to guest post CM. And thanks for the excellent editing – it really improves the readability.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. The Hook says:

    Both the reading and the editing were excellent and unforgettable, Paul.
    Well done, you two.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Hi Paul, I’m very pleased to meet your ‘aQUINNtance’! ヘ(= ̄∇ ̄)ノ

    Liked by 3 people

  4. Great story, Paul. That was really well done.

    I did not put our dog down, when perhaps I should have. I just couldn’t play God. My husband was no help either, so we fed him beer and pain meds and tried to comfort him while he suffered. I don’t know if we did the right thing. Who does hospice with a dying dog? But that’s exactly what we did.

    In the people world some do eventually pass on from a whole lot of meds, but often, those really aren’t for pain at all. Morphine for example, in small doses, has a side effect that tends to just make your breathing easier and more relaxed. I say this because we always assume that dying involves great pain, but not necessarily, not unless you’ve gone and impaled yourself on something. 🙂 In hospice the idea is to make dying as gentle and comfortable as possible and I’d say that is exactly what happens about 95% of the time.

    Liked by 3 people

    • Paul says:

      Hi IB! So glad you dropped by and enjoyed the post. I forgot that you had worked in that environment. Quinn spent quite a few years there and she had to get out because of her back, This was true eventually for many health care workers in her specialty- or so she said. She loved her patients dearly – and I once asked how she could be surrounded by so much death. She said that it was an honor for her to bring dignity to the patients as they progressed. Amazing soul.

      Thanks so much for the read IB. Please come again.

      Liked by 2 people

  5. For all practical and philosophical purposes, we ARE god to our dogs. It is not necessarily fun, being god.

    Liked by 3 people

    • Paul says:

      No, indeed t is not always fun. Many seek power in their lives and yet do not comprehend the implications of that power – not always fun. Thanks so much for dropping by and reading Marilyn. i am honored. Please come again.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. barbtaub says:

    What a terrific post! Another jewel of a Paul character sketch.

    Liked by 3 people

  7. socialbridge says:

    Really enjoyed this, Paul. Your ability to describe Quinn’s personality is amazing.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Paul says:

      Thank you so very much Jean. She is an amazing character and I was honored to have known her. I’m pleased that you enjoyed the post – thank you for dropping by for a read. Please come again.

      Like

      • socialbridge says:

        My pleasure as always. Hope Monday is being kind to you thus far.

        Liked by 2 people

        • Paul says:

          Not bad.

          Liked by 1 person

          • socialbridge says:

            Well, hope Tuesday is even better!

            Liked by 1 person

            • Paul says:

              Too early to tell yet. But the sun is just coming up and it it 22 C – perfect room temp. So far so good.

              Like

            • Paul says:

              Well,there’s one big worry off my chest. I used to get my disability by cheque because it came 2 days earlier. I sent in the paperwork to have it direct deposited last month and today was to be the very first time – and that never goes right in my experience (it took 3 months to straighten it out the last time I had an employer do it.) I just checked (4 am) and it is all in there perfect for the first time. I am relieved. I wanted it done before i moved so I did not have to redirect cheques, so I could access the money as I traveled next month,so my rent in Vancouver can come out on autopay, and because the Canadian Post Office is rumored to be going on strike. Big relief. 😀

              Like

  8. List of X says:

    It sounds like if there’s one person qualified to play God, it would be Quinn. 🙂

    Liked by 4 people

    • Paul says:

      HI X! Great to have you visit.I’m glad you enjoyed the post. You know I never thought of it but you are right – she was very open and giving. That said, it could have been my subjective opinion that made her seem that way, but many others thought the same of her. She has actually since quit smoking and drinking and had a baby. Thanks for the visit and I hope you drop by again X.

      Liked by 1 person

  9. willowdot21 says:

    What a woman and what a friend, and what a friend you were too!

    Liked by 1 person

  10. When my best friend died of a brain tumor, all the hospice nurses could say to his sisters was; “If he accidentally took too many of the pain killers… wink wink, nudge nudge”…

    Liked by 1 person

    • Paul says:

      True story. My understanding is that many pain killers have a solid limit on what the body will tolerate. if the pain goes up, naturally the amount prescribed goes up. There will come a point at which if the pain killers are increased the same as every other time – it is all over. That point is different for each person – and who knows why they died.

      Thanks so much for dropping by Art – a pleasure as always. I’m glad you enjoyed the story.

      Like

  11. Elyse says:

    A dying dog story will get me every time, Paul. When I am first grieving these losses, it’s only my closest friends, who get that call … So obviously she had as much affection and trust as you did.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Paul says:

      Thanks so much Elyse. I’m pleased that you enjoyed the story and that it evoked emotions. You my very well be right. Interestingly enough, she could rarely reach her husband who was traveling, she had no equals at HO and I think she saw me as safe partly because of our jobs and partly because of the distance. I did recognize the trust in the relationship and strove to keep it safe.

      Liked by 2 people

  12. Karen J says:

    Beautiful story, Paul! I wish I could’ve met her! I’ll bet her kids turn out to be amazing, too!
    ~ Karen J

    Liked by 2 people

    • Paul says:

      Hi Karen! Great to have you here for a read and a comment. You would have liked her – she was very understated. And yet she could accomplish amazing things. I really appreciate your visit. Thank You.

      Liked by 1 person

  13. I like Quinn. Her character. Her strengths. Her heart. Her. This story is full of the feels Paul. And of course I want to know more. What happened to Quinn?

    Liked by 2 people

    • Paul says:

      Hey Colleen! Awesome to have you visit and comment. Thank You! Quinn had accomplished a lot in her life – she got her nursing degree in her early twenties. When last I heard she had quit her job, quit smoking and drinking and had a baby – she would have been about 37. Her husband was seriously looking for a job with the truck that was local so he could be a part of her and the baby’s life. Prior to writing this, I checked and found that she was back at our employer again – they would have given her the world to stay with them. The company is in a small northern town and Quinn was born there. With her skills she could have commanded three times her wages in the city – but she wouldn’t move.I sent her a number of opportunities that fit her skills perfect in the city and she wasn’t interested. She had a whole lot of perks where she was – great perks. Anything or anyone she wanted for personal use, she was free to use. They sent the company plow (a honking huge loader) to clear her driveway after every snow. Any problems with her jeep and they sent the company wrecker and fixed it for just their parts cost. If she needed to move something heavy,they sent a truck with a tailgate and a crew to move it. They let her set her own schedule – if she wanted to do a surprise inspection on a terminal, all her expenses were paid and she could go anywhere am time with no questions asked. Whatever courses or training she wanted was hers for the asking. Some courses like teaching defensive driving were week long and cost thousands of dollars per person. She wasn’t shy about using that either. But the pressure for her in the job was huge.She dealt with all insurance and licencing, the special heating system in the garage that used waste oil, all spills and incidents and accidents – fleet wide – all legal activities including law suits and government audits and regulatory concerns, specing new equipment, taking the concerns of the fleet manager, and on and on. She even managed the blood pressure of one owner who had issues in that area, including taking the pressure a number of times a day, managing his medication, sending him home when necessary, etc..He duties wer so many that it would be impossible to list them all. And we had about 500 employees, every one of which she knew and encouraged to come to her with problems. oh, she also did all the hiring and disciplinary actions as well.

      Like I said – she was invaluable and I’m sure they were happy to have her back,but she must have cut her hours as she was working 90 hours a week and she could not do that with a baby.

      Thanks so much for visiting Coleen – you’d have liked her.

      Liked by 1 person

  14. Bun Karyudo says:

    At first, I thought this was fiction, but it seems from your comments that Quinn was a real person. That being the case, I’m even more impressed. She sounds like an amazing individual to have known.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Paul says:

      Thanks so much Bun for dropping by for a read and comment. I’m glad you enjoyed the post. Yes,it is real and true and she is amazing (her name is changed). I would say one of the most amazing people I’ve met. Most of my tales are a recounting of someone I’ve met – although I have done fiction and I make it clear when a piece is fiction,

      It is a pleasure to have you visit Bun – please come again.

      Liked by 1 person

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