Posted by: docdenbow | June 9, 2012

7 Weeks To Go


I’m now less than 7 weeks to go until I get my driving license back. Before you even think it, I didn’t get banned for drink driving or speeding or any charge of dangerous driving or indeed anything remotely like that. No, I returned my license to the DVLA (UK driving license centre) of my own volition. I had an epileptic seizure (they used to be called fits but we’re now more politically correct) last year and the law states that you must surrender your license and go seizure free for a year before you will be permitted to drive once more. My emotions regarding this are very mixed at this time. The excitement I feel is almost palpable yet I seem to find myself looking out for a bad news letter to arrive telling me that after considering my case that they (the DVLA) have decided not to allow me to drive again.

Last year I wrote a lengthy piece on this blog about my life with epilepsy and how it’s affected me. I certainly think now that some of my seizures were almost entirely self inflicted due largely to my lifestyle. True, I do have JME (Juvenile Myoclonic Epilepsy) True when I do (I’d rather say did here) have a seizure it would be of the Grand Mal variety. Nothing less. Ever. Now in my view I have never had epilepsy “badly.” By that I mean even at my worst the seizures have been pretty much spread out. Months, even years have elapsed between episodes. What did I do was after being a good boy for a few days, weeks or even months slid back into my bad old ways. My bad old ways involved drinking far too many pints of beer. Far too many. I was out virtually every night swigging pints after pint of beer. I reckon that in an average week I’d down 30 odd pints. Now some of out there would think of me as a lightweight for drinking that amount in a week, think what you like – but I bet you don’t have epilepsy and are not on a regular and pretty high whack of medication.

Looking back I seem to have spent a lot of my time being lethargic, tired and moody. I only ever seemed to liven up at the thought of zooming into a bar at about 9:30 to 10:00 and banging down 5 pints or so before I ended up going back home more often than not pissed and staying up half the night watching very crap telly or back in the old days videos. Occasionally I would toddle off to bed and sleep the sleep of the dead. Regardless of what I did I awoke feeling the same the following day – shit. Of course reading that you can plainly see that the seizure was just hiding in a dark corner ready to pounce. I was as you can see a selfish and irresponsible bastard. On my days off I frequently slept til noon and when I did finally surface I was tetchy to say the least. Given my track record and my moods my kids grew up frightened of the fact that their Dad could hit the deck twitching at any moment, and all potential days out were on hold until I was up and about.

Was all of this a manifestation of “Classic epileptic personality?”  Bollocks, don’t believe a word of it. Drinking too much ticked all of the boxes below,

Emotionality
Mania
Depression
Guilt
Humorlessness
Altered sexual interest
Aggression
Anger and hostility
Hypergraphia (excessive writing)
Religiosity
Philosophical interest
Sense of personal destiny
Hypermoralism
Dependency
Paranoia
Obsessionalism
Circumstantiality
Viscosity

All bar one, hypergraphia. I always wanted to write but never did. Now I want to write and I do.  Altered sexual interest? Not sure about that one. So I’ll leave that one as a “No Comment” or “I’ll take the 5th amendment.” Religiosity and Philosophical interest? Well having a clear head now lets me think – it’s not because I have epilepsy. All in all that little list is crap.

So in the last 45 weeks what has changed? Alcohol, beer, lager, anything has largely disappeared from my life. I drink 2 pints of beer a week when I go to the local pub to do the Pub Quiz on my only night out. Do I miss it? Hand on heart? No! Am I tempted to “get a few down me?” Absolutely not! Am I tempted to stop drinking those 2 pints? I certainly am! Why? Well, it’s largely pointless. I used to think that I was discerning beer drinker. A connoisseur of ale. You can only con yourself for so long can’t you? I now know I just liked the buzz that 4 or 5 pints was giving me and to hell with the consequences. I had 2 pint of Brains bitter off the old hand pull the other night. It tasted like the contents of a drain to me – vile! I think I have finally lost the taste for beer that I spent so much time and money acquiring. Sad in a way but makes me happy that I have turned my back on the beer and the way of life associated with it as I never want to be a “pub type,” you know the sort – mates in a pub but would never, ever, think of them as your mates and visit their houses and stuff like that. I now regret the time I wasted as I could have done so much more.

So looking ahead in less than 7 weeks my little black VW Polo FSI will be back out in the sun happily adding to its’ 14,000 miles as both me and it make up for lost time and in a way at 53 years old my life is about to begin again. I’m older, certainly wiser, more balanced and definitely more tolerant and I think nicer to know that at any time in my life. I have had a kind of spiritual awakening, I wouldn’t say I’ve suddenly got “got religion” or anything like that, but I am aware of peoples’ foibles and their feeling to a far greater extent than I ever have been. Apologies if I’ve I’ve posted this before but this is now more than ever my mantra……………..

“Go placidly amidst the noise and haste, and remember what peace there may be in silence. As far as possible without surrender be on good terms with all persons. Speak your truth quietly and clearly; and listen to others, even the dull and the ignorant; they too have their story.

Avoid loud and aggressive persons, they are vexatious to the spirit. If you compare yourself with others, you may become vain or bitter; for always there will be greater and lesser persons than yourself.

Enjoy your achievements as well as your plans. Keep interested in your own career, however humble; it is a real possession in the changing fortunes of time.

“Exercise caution in your business affairs; for the world is full of trickery. But let this not blind you to what virtue there is; many persons strive for high ideals; and everywhere life is full of heroism.
Be yourself. Especially, do not feign affection. Neither be cynical about love; for in the face of all aridity and disenchantment it is as perennial as the grass.

Take kindly the counsel of the years, gracefully surrendering the things of youth. Nurture strength of spirit to shield you in sudden misfortune. But do not distress yourself with dark imaginings. Many fears are born of fatigue and loneliness.

Beyond a wholesome discipline, be gentle with yourself. You are a child of the universe, no less than the trees and the stars; you have a right to be here.

And whether or not it is clear to you, no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should. Therefore be at peace with God, whatever you conceive Him to be, and whatever your labours and aspirations, in the noisy confusion of life keep peace with your soul. With all its shams, drudgery, and broken dreams, it is still a beautiful world.

Be cheerful.

Strive to be happy.”

Max Ehrmann (1872–1945)

Ciao For Now

Denbow

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