My dad used to work in the coal mines of West Virginia. This was before I was born and right around the time my parents got married. His father and uncles were coal miners as well and my grandfather wished for my dad to work anywhere but the mines. My grandfather and his brothers worked in the coal mines since they were young, resulting in black lung for his brothers and a broken back for my grandfather. He was put on permanent disability for his broken back because he got pinned between a wall and a coal cart during work hours. But working in the coal mines was convenient work to get. My dad worked there for 6 years and this resulted in changes to his body as well.
It was only recently that I learned that my dad has scared lung tissue and the beginnings of emphysema from working in the coal mines. From breathing in the dust and soot of the mines. From being stuck underground for hours at a time. It was one of those facts that everyone knew but no one felt the need to inform me off when I was born or old enough to understand (youngest child problems). Safe to say I was a little mad and surprised no one told me. But it was the reason he left the coal mines and went into construction. Another physical demanding job. He’s been working in construction for 30 years. I think it’s interesting that my dad went from one physically demanding job to another.
Maybe it’s because he is used to the work and the affect manual labor has on his body. Now that he’s older I know he feels more aches and pains, especially in his back. But for as long as I can remember he’s always been doing some kind of physically demanding job, even projects around our house. He has built our deck, a new room in our house, our new kitchen, a work shed, and so much more. I think working in job fields that require manual labor has changed the way my dad is active in his life. When he comes home from work he relaxes immediately and doesn’t really move unless it’s time for dinner or the dog needs to go outside. But during the weekend and time off from work he is constantly moving or working on something. His body needs to constantly be working and moving. I think this is a result of working most of his life in jobs that require manual work and a body constantly in motion.