Sunday, November 15, 2015

Wrecked

June 30th, 2015
     Twenty years after my wreck on Okinawa, it happened again. I had another seizure while driving, lost consciousness and drove into a guardrail  on I-95. I was on my way to Richmond to see Jimi.
     I stopped for gas in Stafford, which is about half an hour from here, depending on traffic. We lived in Stafford twice before because it's close to Quantico, where Marines go to school.
     I thought I was being careful enough, changing the music if my mind started to wander during a song, drinking water on the way so I wouldn't get dehydrated. It wasn't enough, obviously.
     It was the same feeling as always, the aura that gives me a few precious seconds to do whatever I need to do to prepare, depending on the situation. There really isn't time to panic. Once the aura comes, I'm in a different place, trying to think clearly while my mind is slipping away.
     "Pull over!!!!!" the remaining part of my conscious brain ordered. I looked for an exit; I was in the middle lane, surrounded by traffic and trying NOT to have a seizure.
    I was trying soooo hard not to let it happen. That sounds like something a child would say, I know.
    My vision started to go. When I looked at the road, everything began coming apart and "spread away from the center," like in the movie, "Inception." That's the last thing I remember before waking up with a brown arm resting on mine.
     "Are you okay?" asked a woman.
     "Did anyone get hurt?" I asked.
     She said no, that all the cars around me had managed to swerve out of my way and keep going.
     An off-duty state trooper stopped, too. He leaned into my car from the passenger's side, and I told him I had a seizure. At first, he couldn't hear me because of all the traffic going by. That's the first time I ever considered wearing a label.
     An ambulance arrived, but I didn't have to ride in it this time. I called my husband to tell him I screwed up again. And yes, that's how I feel every single time my epilepsy gets in the way. It's a part of me, and makes me do stupid things, such as staring into space until I crash into things.
     The kind woman who stopped to make sure I was okay stayed with me until the tow truck arrived. I got her phone number and noticed the same area code, 919, as my parents. Someone from home had taken care of me:-)))
     The patrolman was nice to me, too. He didn't give me a ticket, but I knew my license would be gone for a while. It didn't matter at that point because I was still feeling so much relief from NOT hurting anyone else and from how little damage there was to my car
     Riding with the tow truck driver was an interesting experience. I was still feeling loopy from the seizure, but he was in a chatty mood.
     First, he brought up the subject of gay people in the military. I listened, staring out the window. He was testing me out, feeling the waters to see how I would respond. When he told me there were gay Marines walking around Quantico holding hands, I said, "Oh really," as if he were discussing the weather.
     He lost interest in the subject. Homophobes make me angry, but I wasn't in the mood for a fight.
     He moved on to the subject of parents not being "allowed" to spank their kids anymore.
     Of all the subjects on earth, why did he choose that one?
     I had been in a better place, where bullies don't exist, but now I was back in the real world.
     People who know me well are going to realize how "out of it" I was that day after reading the next sentence... I didn't argue with the homophobic, child-beating tow truck driver, just listened to his opinion and thanked him for the ride when it was over.
     Then, when I finally got home, I gave my glass top a spin, like "Inception," to make sure it wasn't all a dream.
     The top stopped spinning.
     I had survived.