“I feel like I just woke up from a fever dream” my friend said last night at dinner with Dani. We had Stone Crabs and Challah bread to celebrate Shabbat. A fever dream. I felt the same way.
I had my two hour driving session with Jose the instructor yesterday afternoon. He picked me up at my house. I pulled off my street onto Main Highway in Coconut Grove and went down Douglas Road to Ingram Highway to Riviera Drive. Then we went around all of the traffic circles on Riviera, Granada, Maynada and Hardee. Then I took US1 to the I95 and exited 8th Street to Brickell Ave. I followed Brickell back through the Grove and returned home. The whole trip took almost two full hours, and we had encountered every whacky driving situation Miami could throw at me. “You have NO PROBLEM”. Jose was adamant that it had been a serious injustice to suggest I not drive. “Trust me,” he said, “You have no problem driving. You are fine.”
I thought that might not be a bad thing to have a record of, and so I asked him to confirm that in a text, and that’s the explanation for the photo at the top of this post.
I figure that Jose knows a lot about Miami driving. He does, after all, spend all day in a car with student drivers. I think this like taking a slow path to PTSD. Jose was a talker but also a very nice guy. He came over a year and a half ago from Cuba and had a green card ready upon his arrival here. He was a tour guide in Cuba with a green 1952 Ford.
He was so adamant. “Trust me” he exclaimed repeatedly. I think the the previous occupants of Jose’s driver seat have set a low bar. And now Stephanie is on the plane on her way home from Brazil, and I am here at home, making pinto beans for her and feeling as though I have just woken up from a fever dream.
It was 24 days ago that I woke up with a headache. On the 7th we celebrated the Day of Kings and I played half of the hinario of Mestre Irineu (search “Mestre Irineu” if you want to go down a rabbit hole) with my eyes closed. Then I went to the doctor, had an MRI, discovered I’d had an infarction, then I had all of those tests including 5 MRI/MRA scans and an echo cardiogram, and about five doctors appointments. I went from thinking I’d had a stroke caused by a blood clot that had passed through a hole in my heart and the regrettable, and now proven completely false, prediction that I’d not improve or drive again. And then that I would need heart surgery. Then Stephanie left for two weeks and I was home along without being able to drive. I was in a fever dream. Charlie, Simone, Noah and Wylie left half way through.
I was home alone almost every evening by 5:00 or so. This may have been self isolation, but it was eerie feeling being alone at home like this. I really had to do a lot of work, and am continuing to do so right now, to stay in the right frame of mind and to let this condition run its course.
I can drive again. I am stable. I do not need heart surgery. I have a medication that will prevent this from happening again. I am getting better.
I realized yesterday that there are many gifts of this gift, and once I embrace them all, the gift itself will no longer be required, and it will simply disappear. And so it is happening.
And now I am here typing on the dining room table. Stephanie is due to land in Ft. Lauderdale in about fifteen minutes. I have pinto beans in the pressure cooker. Everything is fine. But life has this new shine on it. I’m different. Life is different. Both are better. I am so grateful.
Schmarya Space Shalom