When I was a teenager I never would have dreamed that as an adult I’d be unable to drive an automobile. Driving a car was a freedom that I relied on because I could easily escape from any awkward situation when I wanted to. I was in control and I could be alone. When my neurologist told me I would have to surrender my license I already knew the possibility was very real, but the reality was overwhelming.
Transitioning from a licensed driver to an epileptic was bizarre. In the middle of the day I would think about small things like mailing a package and go to pick up my keys, only to remember I couldn’t go anywhere. My trike does give me small bits of freedom around our neighborhood, but I am incredibly sensitive to the temperature, so I cannot be outside riding around unless it’s 65 degrees out. Even then, my range is not very far and our neighborhood may include a lot of stuff, but we live in suburbia so my chances of running into a coffee shop on our street are about negative one million.
The transportation service that I utilize to get to my medical appointments used to be called Care A Van, but now it’s called Metro County Connect and it’s meant for everyone in our city, but it’s a service used mostly by individuals like me who cannot drive. The drivers, for the most part, are friendly and helpful, but there have been occasions where I have run into bad drivers, smoking drivers, drivers who were talking on their cell phones or rude drivers. This bad driver streak coupled with the sometime inefficient scheduling system that Care A Van has on the back end, means I often times miss appointments with my doctors. I ride Care A Van three or four times a month – my neighbor rides every single day and I have no idea how she does it. Care A Van is an amazing service when it works, but when it doesn’t, it fails spectacularly.
When I read an article in the Wall Street Journal that Google would have self driving cars available to the general public by 2020 I almost did a happy dance. I don’t dance. This technology is amazing. Self driving cars are safer, more affordable and faster. Better than all of this, they would allow people like me to go places independently for the first time in years, which would change our family schedule. On a good day, I could go to the supermarket or take myself to a doctor’s appointment. A self driving car would be life changing in our house.
There is an art to being unable to drive and with the Internet it is much simpler. I guarantee you our post man and UPS man think I have a shopping addiction. While Mr. MVP and I do our basic grocery shopping locally on Friday and then run errands on the weekend, I try to do any shopping we need for extras online. I find it’s less expensive because I can shop around, find coupons, and research products all without leaving home. For instance I’ve found that Biokleen is least expensive at Amazon.com and that Zappos always has the most expensive price in shoes, but they ship the fastest (housershoes.com has great prices). The Internet truly is a magical tool for an epileptic.
When I first lost my license, we would talk about how we would adjust when I got it back, but now driving isn’t even discussed. For me to drive I have to be seizure free for six months and there are a couple of medications that have to be eliminated. I have neuro brain and focus and attention are not my strong suits on bad days and on good days they are hazy at best. Mr. MVP is the driver in our family, which I appreciate more than he will ever know because he constantly takes me to appointments that are outside of Care A Van’s travel range. My trike is my neighborhood transportation and until Google comes knocking on our door Mr. MVP is the only licensed driver in our house.