I often find myself bursting at the seams to talk to someone. It is an occupational hazard, a fact of life. I am a writer, so I need to spend time alone. I am an epileptic, so I am confined to my home in ways that you can never understand unless you have been ill for a very, very, long time.
Losing my ability to drive has been one of the worst things in my life. I am at home and there’s no one to talk to. When I do go out and run into the people I used to see, the people I used to know, they ask me, “When will you get your license back?” It always seems like a polite question… They don’t mean to be rude, but I want to scream the answer back at them, “NEVER!!” Never. I will never drive again and if you want to see me you will have to come over here. I am here alone with my family.
The next question I get is, “When was the last time you had a seizure?” My answer always shocks them, “Last week, two weeks ago, I can’t remember.” It was hopefully not sooner. I try to stay home in the days after a seizure. They cluster together. I hate for people to see me seize. It’s not a pretty thing. And I hate to end up in the ER. Strangers do that. My family knows better. I need to take my meds and go to bed. It’s just my life. And I will never drive again. I gave up that hope years ago.
Occasionally my husband wants me to move the car from one side of the street to the other. It was a Monday morning and if we didn’t move the car we would get ticketed. I couldn’t. I can’t. It’s all or nothing: nothing is the only answer. My husband agrees but every now and then he doesn’t want to get out of bed. We both wish I could move the car. I can physcally drive. I was an excellent driver. But I can’t. There are no rules to seizures. It only takes one second and then I’ve crashed my car into the tree in front of my house. Or a kid walking past the park…. No. I do not want to take that risk. I cut that part out of me and burnt it when I turned in my driver’s license, the second time.
I don’t drive not because it’s the law, but because I love my family too much. I don’t want to lose time and lose control of a ton of metal and flammable liquids. I can’t. I can’t. I want to. Some days I want it so badly I can feel the wind in my hair and the smell of grapes in the air in September. I tell myself it’s not the full moon, I’m not tired, I’m not whatever it is that might trigger a seizure today. I see myself walking to the car, turning the key and driving away into the sunset. It’s such a pretty dream. It will never be.
I’m never going to stop having seizures and even if I do, there is no amount of time that will pass that will guarantee that I will not have another one, at any given moment. I know that in my bones, in my synapses that like to burst with energy and electricity. Driving isn’t safe for me and it’s not safe for you either. You should thank me that I value *your* life enough not to drive.
I beg you, please don’t text and drive. I gave up driving for safety’s sake. You can give up your phone for safety’s sake. You don’t even have to give up your phone. Please, just put it down when you are in the car. It only takes one second to crash a car. My epilepsy is genetic, yours could be because of a traumatic brain injury you receive when you crash your car because you were texting while driving.