Convenience, specialization and my Z28 Camaro

In 2005, I snapped my drive shaft and shelled my transmission in my 2001 z28 Camaro, which I had bought new and transformed into a road racing car for Hallett.  (If you haven’t done this, you must before you die. Well, the go-race-at-Hallett part, not the snap-your-drive-shaft part.)

One July weekend morning, I was headed out to Tahlequah to go float the river with my friends, traveling on HWY 82. Being that I was obviously driving a race car, I felt the need to pass a car that was going the speed limit.  I waited for safe passing zone, dropped from sixth gear to third and mashed the gas. Even though this car is long gone (thanks kiddos), it is still to this day one of my favorite things to do.  The sound and feel of a big v8 climbing to redline.  For those of you who are rolling their eyes, just try it before you judge.

What happened next was unexpected and something I had never experienced before: There was a boom and the engine revved freely to redline without any forward progress.   My words for this story will be censored, but they closely mirrored, OOPS I just broke something. I put on the hazard lights, got passed by the car we just flew by and pulled over on a country road in rural (somewhere between Locust Grove and Tahlequah) America. You guessed it: No cell phone reception. So, I got out and looked under the car, and my drive shaft was dangling on the ground.  I thought, “OK, not a big deal, I just need to replace a couple of bolts and I will be running again.”

I walked a couple of miles, and I finally got cell phone reception. I called my friend who got a truck and trailer to come get me.  He pulled up, looking a bit frustrated with me, backs the trailer up in front of the car and gets ready to help me load.  We quickly learned I didn’t just snap my drive shaft, I also shelled my rear end and, in turn, cracked the bell housing and many parts inside the transmission.  To this day the chain of events are unclear, but it went something like this: Rear end came apart and locked up, full power in turn was transferred completely to an aluminum drive shaft which failed, but not before putting all that stress on the transmission.  I destroyed three-fourths of my drive train in under five seconds of fun.

What happens next is why this story can apply to occupational medicine, in fact, any medicine.  I called around to all the shops in Tulsa asking about their experience with T56 transmissions, Camaros in general, and the weak rear end that Chevy decided to put in. The answers were disappointing. They didn’t have an intimate knowledge about the car or the drive train components, and their price was also (in my opinion) high being that it didn’t sound like they knew anything about the car. So, I sought more information on the interweb and called some friends that had fourth generation Camaros.  They all had the same answer: Go to a Camaro shop in Ft-Worth that specialized in my exact disaster.  Their price was the same as everyone in Tulsa, and that price included beefing up everything from the clutch, transmission, drive shaft and rear end.

I made my choice, I drove to FT-Worth on a Friday and dropped off my baby, putting my beloved car in the very capable hands of a Texan. They said give us a couple of weeks, and she will be as good as new.  Boy, were they right! The car survived another 100,000 miles and seven years of torturous driving.  Of the places I researched, there were ten that were close and two that were further away.  I chose the company that specialized in my car and was very happy with the result.

The point is this: Good medicine is seldom convenient, bad medicine is often costlier. And at the end of the day, you only have one body. Unlike a car, you can’t ever upgrade to the newer model.  People drive from all over Oklahoma to consume our medicine at Work Health Solutions. And that is because they trust us, we do consistent fair work and we help injured workers return or stay at work quickly and safely so they can provide for their family.

Medicine is a product and you are a consumer. Do your research and find a team that will take care of you and one that you are prepared to listen to and take their advice.  If you don’t think the person is an expert, or you aren’t prepared to listen to them, find someone who is and someone who you will.  Just like with cars, our body requires maintenance to keep it functioning at optimum levels.  Sleep, nutrition, exercise and moderation are all keys.  Turn to common sense and listen to your body.

We love the work we do and it shows in the results and how we impact Tulsa.


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  • Brenda Brady

    Good article, as always and I have a story just like that only it was before anything close to cell phones and the road was desolate, but that was before people killed you! And I might add there was no interweb to look anything up…..just the feller at the Hudson station to tell me I was sol.

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