Right before Christmas, I got the exciting news that doing a lot of driving was not to be in my future.
The news came from the cardiologist (that cute Italian guy with the Christmas socks his wife picked out for him) and suddenly, my future looked a bit bleak.
All I heard was that I was grounded.
So have I ever told you that I love to drive?
Well, I love to drive.
I have always loved to drive.
Ever since I got my first car when I was 17.
That wonderful 1963 baby blue VW bug that I wish I still had today.
Back then, I lived in Monrovia, California, just a few miles outside Los Angeles, and I used to drive to Bakersfield for tacos. That’s right. Tacos. The best tacos in the world were made in a little shack on the south end outskirts of Bakersfield, California. And I would drive all the way there to get them. They were totally worth the two-hundred-mile round trip. If that little shack was still there, I’d do it again in a heartbeat. Mmmm. Tacos.
I guess taking off on last-minute, unplanned, unscheduled, crazy drives must be in my blood.
I remember a road trip I took one year when my son was about three. I worked in the hardware department of the local K-Mart, and one of my coworkers, Marie, and I decided to drive to her home-town of Colorado Springs, just because we could. The next morning, we put our little boys in the back of my 1965 VW Squareback and set off east-bound for whatever adventures we could drum up. (I’m not even sure we called in to our supervisors; we just got new jobs when we returned two weeks later.)
That VW had to be pushed to get it started in every single place we stopped – the gas stations, the local markets where we stopped for food, even the Grand Canyon. That is, except for Taos, New Mexico. For some reason, the two times we stayed there, on the way to Colorado and on the way back to LA, it started right up. I blamed it on my Aunt Esther whose house we stayed in while we were there – she had good juju 😀
Yup, I love to drive.
And now I was being told by the doctor that I shouldn’t be driving.
Ok, I thought. Now what.
I was staying with my friends, Mackenzie and Debbie, about an hour and a half (without traffic) south of where all my doctors were located, and about once a week (sometimes more), I was making what would turn out to be an all-day round-trip trek north to Vancouver and back – I’d schedule as many doctors, therapy sessions, lab work and procedures as possible on any given day so I could minimize the number of times I was making that round trip. Trying to avoid the Portland afternoon-rush-hour traffic by having dinner before heading back south, the round trip easily turned into a 10+ hour day, sometimes more.
And now I was being told I shouldn’t be driving.
So I called my friend, Susan in Vancouver. She lives in a two-bedroom apartment and I asked her if she’d rent the extra bedroom to me for a few months while I worked on getting this body back in order. She agreed (thanks, Susan!), and I moved in that weekend, Mark and Nick helping me tote bags up the stairs and into the bedroom. Nick also gifted me a bed and carried it up the stairs, too; his mom and dad gifted me the frame for the bed and the little desk table and chair. (Thanks, Mark, Nick, Rick and Darlene!)
I was all set.
That was sure quick, wasn’t it?
Now I have a place to be that’s close to the doctors. No more long drives, and days recovering from said long drives. (Of course, it also means no more Stewie and Remi, Mackenzie and Debbie’s dogs. I miss those pooches. No more texts telling me food was ready; that meant dinner was on the table. I miss you guys… ) I haven’t lived in an apartment for a very long time, so that’s taking some getting used to, but so far so good. I think.
I do enjoy being back near Portland with its theaters, restaurants and events, and I’m especially excited about being near my favorite coffee place in the whole world, Compass Coffee, the home of awesome macchiatos, tasty cortados, and cool baristas. And I’m really lovin’ being about a ten-minute drive from wherever I need to be next.
So I have new digs. And I’m calling them a balance between the things I’m missing and the things I’m appreciating about being back near the city. It’s all about the balance, right?
I’m about one month into my self-imposed three-month healing timeline and I’ve noticed that not making that long drive has allowed my body to relax and recuperate, hopefully making recovery for things other than from that exhausting drive a little easier and with more probability. I actually had a couple of days last week where I didn’t have anything to do besides get healthy, meaning I had time to do nothing – no scheduling, no driving, no figuring out what to do next. It felt odd, until I realized what it was – I had nothing to do, except do nothing. It was great!
So. Here we are. Let the healing continue! Onward and upward!