After the stroke my neurologist reported me to the DMV, which resulted in a suspension of my driver’s license. I spent eight months completely dependent on family and friends for transportation.
I have lived in Los Angeles all my life and have ridden public transportation only twice: Once on the new metro system simply for the novelty of it; and once as a teen in a story that ends with the punchline, "Say what?! Youz on da’ wrong bus!” Post stroke, no one, least of all me, thought I should take a bus. One of my regular appointments is a cross-town trek. I was using every ounce of energy I had in therapy sessions. How could I cope with long bus rides, transfers, and walks to and from bus stops?
At the gym where I exercise, the cardio equipment looks out a picture window onto a bus stop. I study its patrons while they wait: Hispanics and African-Americans, students and single parents, the elderly and disabled. I watched last week in wonderment as an oversized woman in an oversized wheelchair made a five-point turn on the sidewalk to back herself onto a platform that the conductor had lowered for her.
The many advantages of my life include having my own transportation and, during that relatively short eight months when I didn’t, knowing so many generous people who were willing to take me a distance along my road to recovery.