Once upon a time – 20 years ago it was – I forsook my right to drive a car. In a moment of most egregious irresponsibility I drove drunk.
I didn’t think I was drunk. Drunks never do. But, I was pissed to the gills, sozzled, snookered, and whatever other term you might have wanted to throw at me. And so I got me a DUI. And so I lost the right to drive a car. And they were tough in those days. That right was taken away for a full year.
It was the best thing to ever happen to me.
One, I got sober and have remained steadfastly so ever since, so mortified and ashamed was I. And the other good thing was I got healthier than I had ever been. No booze was part if that. The other healthful part was I had to fucking walk everywhere. I mean yeah, I rode the bus sometimes, though I hate buses with an unparalleled loathing. And sometimes I cadged rides. But otherwise I walked. I walked and I walked and I walked. And surprisingly I got to like it, and then I got to love it. And love of walking has never left me.
Of course I did have my lovely little sports car sitting in the drive. And I decided that in some moment of weakness I might be tempted to take it out in hopes I wouldn’t get caught driving sans licence (for which the penalties are really stiff). So, thought I, out of sight, out of mind and out of temptation. I had a lovely friend who had gone through a divorce and whose ex had taken the family car. So, I gave my car to her for the year. Aren’t I a nice guy? And I didn’t even have salacious designs on her. OK, I had had the odd one but wasn’t prepared to pursue the matter. I had just come out of my own bad marriage so I thwarted temptation.
Back to walking. I have walked and hiked many miles over the years, When Wendy and I go on vacation there is a lot of walking involved. We have trudged streets and avenues in Europe, have scaled hills in Hawaii and explored the lakes in Paradise Meadows,
But then something happened. About a year ago I ‘came down’ with some sort of affliction that made walking not only painful but it impacted my gait and especially my balance. I was intensely afraid i would faw down and go boom. That is a very insecure sensation. And then Max got sick. And then Max died. So I had less motivation to walk when there wasn’t to be a lovely doggy in tow.
So I went through innumerable clinical tests; inner ear scrutiny, CT Scan, MRI etc. Etc. What it was ultimately determined to be was residuals from a small stroke I had experienced in 2008. The best cure was physiotherapy. And the best thing I ever did was sign up for the brilliant balance program offered by the Comox Recreation Association. I have been doing that twice a week for two months and can only say that I now walk with a relatively normal gait, no more Frankenstein walk, and while my walking endurance is not yet back to what it was once, it is getting there. It’s all about creating new brain pathways.
And that seems to be happening, so bless you Jill Nelson (my coach) in what you have given me. I can kinda walk again. That is a good thing. Oh, and also since we got Nelson, ‘walkies’ became once again the order of the day.