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Rated: ASR · Short Story · Other · #1871416
Phoenix gets some bad news from his neurologist...
The neurologist called Phoenix back to his examination room and introduced himself while rubbing that strange sanitizer gel all over his hands.  He looked up the notes that the other doctor had made on the incident in question and discovered that they were very vague.  "Well, it says here that you had an episode.  Tell me more about that."

Phoenix told him in as much detail as he could remember about what the other doctors thus far had thought was probably a complex partial seizure.  "I stepped out of my truck and felt a tickle in my throat and it was hard to breath, so I took my inhaler.  Then I felt something short-circuit in my head here on the right side in the middle and everything was dark and quiet.  The only thing I was aware of was my left leg doing this rhythmic jerking motion.  It was like no other part of my body existed.  This lasted about 10 minutes.  When I started to come out of it or come back or however you want to say it, I realized that the only reason I was not on the ground was because I was leaned over my truck seat.  I was confused and exhausted.  I had dropped my inhaler.  I made it into the coffee shop where I was supposed to meet my friend.  I could not remember that I had ordered something on the way in, nor did I really know who I was.  I could not remember or figure out how to make a phone call and my friend had to call my doctor for me.  He is thinking it is either a really weird panic attack or a complex partial seizure."

The neurologist asked Phoenix a series of questions, some of which Phoenix had to answer yes to, such as an incident in which one moment he was at the bathroom sink and the next thing he knew was that he was lying on the floor by the door and did not know how he got there.  He was quite confused and exhausted over the incident.  The neurologist told Phoenix that he wanted to get an MRI and an EEG, both of which Phoenix would have to travel long distances to have done.  "I think these are seizures."  Great, Phoenix thought.  Just what I need.  On top of everything else I deal with in my life, here is a seizure disorder to top it off.  The neurologist told Phoenix that never again in his entire life could he be in or near water over three inches deep without someone with him that could pull him out, nor could he drive until they decided to treat for seizures, which would be at least a month and a half.  For Phoenix, that was the epitome of a bad day.  "I mean it about the water.  Don't get lazy."  No ladders, roofs, or anything else that Phoenix could get maimed or killed doing, either.  "It's not the seizure that it dangerous.  It is what you are doing when you have the seizure that is dangerous."  The neurologist put in the orders for the MRI and the EEG and then told Phoenix that after the test results were in, they would talk some more.  Phoenix thanked him and walked out.

Phoenix was devastated.  No driving?  No swimming?  No baths?  No, no, no...  The story of his life.  NO.  That was a word Phoenix was all too familiar with, and he hated it.  He knew it was for his and others' safety.  That made sense to Phoenix.  Phoenix, however, found himself immediately and deeply depressed by this news.  He was glad that the neurologist was straightforward.  Phoenix had been hoping, though, that the news would be different or better or...something....  He stopped at the pharmacy on the way home and asked about medical alert bracelets.  The pharmacist gave him a mail-in order form that also had a website address on it.  Phoenix looked it up when he got home and ordered a medical alert bracelet that told of his seizure disorder and his sulfa allergy.  He did not want to take any chances.  His spouse reminded Phoenix of yet another incident when he got home and this prompted Phoenix to pay for rush delivery of his bracelet.  Now Phoenix had to wait for his bracelet, but what else could he do?  Nothing.  Phoenix had no control over this condition.  Not being able to do anything about it was maddening and depressing.  Phoenix spent the next several days in bed, not playing his guitar, not practicing his Spanish, no doing his graduate school homework...  Phoenix was definitely deeply depressed.

Phoenix wondered to himself if this was punishment.  What was he supposed to learn from this?  What was he supposed to do about it?  What would his life be like with this new diagnosis?  A wave of anger came over Phoenix.  But could he complain?  To God?  To anybody?  He was frustrated.  There was nothing he could do about it.  There was no control over it, no way to improve it himself, no way to get rid of it completely, totally, and forever as if he had never had it.  A seizure disorder.  No warning.  Just seizures.  And what if he embarrassed himself?  What if he died from a seizure?  What would people around him think?  Would his friends still want to be around him with that medical alert bracelet that read "SEIZURE DISORDER"?  Phoenix would have to explain what to do in case he had a seizure.  He would have to inform people that he had a seizure disorder.  How was he going to tell his parents, even?  Phoenix was planning on waiting until the tests had been done to confirm the disorder or until he started treatment on an anti-seizure medication before he told his parents.  They would see the medical alert bracelet soon enough and ask about it.  It was a natural introduction to the problem as far as Phoenix was concerned.  This was so complicated.  Phoenix's life was so complicated.  But, Phoenix thought, it could be much worse.  Much worse.  There were a lot of things that could be a lot worse.  Phoenix did not have it bad at all.  PTSD, Depression, seizure disorder, chronic ankle injury...  He did not have cancer, he did not have AIDS, he did not have any deadly disease...  Phoenix's biggest problem was that he was not that committed to living.  He had a suicidal streak that ran deep and strong.  And it was creeping up on him.
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