Assuming my faculties have regained some semblance of functioning, I will drive again. I don’t anticipate the first run will be without incidence – traffic is known to snarl, and accidents are a regular occurrence – but I have faith in my ability to respond appropriately.
I’m reminded of my first car and that one intersection where the road dipped just before the traffic lights to accommodate an overhead rail line. My 1967 slant six Dodge Swinger had a cracked engine block and liked to stall out whenever moisture hit it. It would be okay as long as I was motoring along, but the moment I stopped, it was trouble. Nine times out of ten, it would be in that dip, and with traffic honking angrily around me I would have to restart the engine without flooding it – usually two-footing the pedals, ready to rev the accelerator the second the engine ignited. That car taught me a lot about patience and determination.
I was also driving a car the first time my mind snapped. It was an old Firenza that my then husband had refurbished and souped up. I hated driving it because the brakes could barely contain the torque and it also stalled out easily (is there a theme developing here?) The day in question, I had all three kids aboard and found myself suddenly lost in traffic in a city that I’d dwelt in all my life. I was in the left hand turning lane when I realized that I had no idea where I was nor where I was going. Sensing the tension, the kids started screaming and crying in the back seat, and as traffic grew into an angry hornet’s nest around us, so did I. A baby-faced police officer, who stopped to help, directed me through the intersection to our home, which was embarrassingly on the street I was attempting to turn onto. He waited kindly until a family member showed up.
My brain paralysis lasted only six weeks back then – a product of ‘acute depressive anxiety’ the experts had labelled it. Harnessing that determination I mentioned earlier, and using my children as inspiration, I pulled myself out of that abyss one step at a time, having to relearn many life skills, including driving.
That’s how I know I’ll be able to do it again. The body, the mind, are mendable when the spirit is resilient. I have faith.
Writer, avid reader, former educator, and proud grandmother, currently experiencing life through the lens of ME/CFS. Words are, and always have been, a lifeline. Some of the best adventures, I'm discovering, take place in the imagination.