Wednesday, September 19, 2007

My bicycle and me...

The California DMV requires that anyone who suffers a seizure must take a 3 month break from driving a car. Your driver's license is officially suspended once they learn that you have had a seizure. Once you have been "clean" for 3 months, then you can take a driving test and if you pass get your license back...

I am actually not sure if the DMV has officially been notified of the date of my seizure, since I have not heard from them. But in any case, I have promised my medical team to voluntarily comply with the DMV rules, and so I will. So I will not drive an automobile until at least November 4, and only then if my doctors concur that it is safe to do so.

It must be admitted that if a driver of an automobile were to have a gran mal seizure while driving down the road, the consequences could be tragic, not only for him, but for his passengers, for the occupants of other vehicles, and/or pedestrians. So it is clearly a good thing to minimize the risk of that happening, which is the motivation behind the DMV rules.

My new status as a non-driver has introduced lots of complications into our lives, since I can't help out with transporting the kids to/from school, soccer, friends, etc. Frankly, at this time I feel perfectly competent to drive and in no danger whatsoever of another seizure (the tumor is out of there, and just to be safe I take Keppra every day...). But I also know that I am not a medical professional, and can't make this sort of decision. For all I know, there may have been lots of people who have felt the same way, but then did have another seizure. So I'll trust the judgment of my medical team over my own feelings.

I also do recognize there are also some benefits to not being allowed to drive. Chief among them is that I have renewed my relationship with my bicycle. I have an older (~1993) Trek 15-speed mountain bike. I actually never take it up to the mountains, but it works pretty well for day-to-day use on city streets too.

A couple of days ago, I had to take my camera lens over to Samy's Camera to get it fixed. (It doesn't autofocus in low-light conditions.) After I dropped it off, I decided to ride around town a bit before heading home. It was only about 2 or 2:30 pm, Frances and the kids wouldn't be home until about 4 pm, and my next scheduled task (accompanying Frank to take Tim to soccer practice, to act as navigator since Frank didn't know where the soccer field was, and it can be tricky to find) was not until 8 pm.

So instead of heading west down Walnut to go home, I struck out in an easterly direction... I first went north one block to Corson, which borders the 210 freeway, but has very little traffic itself and - most importantly - has a dedicated bike lane! Riding on Corson was very nice, but somewhere (around Sierra Madre Villa, I think), the bike lane stopped. So I went over to Foothill, and rode the short remaining distance to Rosemead. When I got to Rosemead, the traffic was fairly dense, and I was getting tired, so I got off my bike and walked it on the sidewalk. I walked down to Colorado Blvd., and then turned right (west) onto Colorado for a long walk/ride home. I walked past Cost Plus, past the many inexpensive motels from the 1950's (my vintage too...) that line this part of Colorado, and past the many various automotive repair shops, etc. Eventually I reached PCC (Pasadena City College), but instead of taking a left at Hill to go to south the few blocks to Caltech, I kept heading straight until Los Robles, at which point I began shifting southward toward California Blvd. I first took a left turn over to Cordova Street, and walked/rode by the fancy hotels there (the Hilton, the Doubletree), then shifted over to Del Mar for a block or so, then down Marengo to California. (By the way, the block of Marengo between California and Del Mar contains many beautiful, restored Craftsman houses, most of which now seem to be offices for lawyers or accountants.)

At California, I turned right and was now in familiar West Pasadena territory (in contrast to the exotic motels, auto repair shops, etc. of East Pasadena)-- the Chevron station on the corner, Dona Rosa, the Gold Line light rail tracks, etc. And just beyond those lay even more familiar landmarks --Vons, Huntington Hospital, then Singer Park, then Orange Grove Blvd, then ... at long last ... La Loma. I arrived home just about dinner time, after a long afternoon adventure. All in all, I was very pleased with how this very long bike ride / walk went.

1 comment:

DAK said...

Hi Dave,
Congrats on the progress and getting back on your bike after such a long hiatus. I try to ride the 16 miles RT to my office once a week and don't miss many except when the snow piles up in Boulder. I've enjoyed reading your blog and cheering on your recovery. Keep it up.

Dave Kaufman