About six weeks ago, I had what is known as a TIA, which is a Transient Ischemic Attack, which translates to a mini stroke. Some call it a tiny stroke, then emphasize that it causes no damage.

Of course, I was taken to EAMC, my home away from home. They ran some tests, then later my doctor ran some more tests. My tiny stroke met the requirements of its definition: it caused no damage.

So now a major question surfaced. Should I be allowed to drive?

Many patients wait about a month then return to driving as if everything is OK to do so, but the catch is that there are some insurance companies that will not be responsible. Why is that?

Because there is a possibility that a big stroke might follow the tiny stroke.

I did not put the burden of this decision on my doctor, not because I didn’t want to, but because my wife made the decision for all of us: You will not drive. That was it. Final and simple: I will not drive.

In a sense the decision was presidential, and it did not need congressional approval.

It wasn’t all that easy for my wife to make this rule. She decided to quit driving years ago because of migraine headaches. This meant that we would be driverless.

Being without a car is a bit more serious than being without your constitutional rights. One is stuck at home. I mean really stuck. You can’t join your buddies for lunch … without a lift from one of your buddies, and there is just so long you can do that.

There was, however, a significant factor in my ability to adjust to being without a car. I knew I should not drive, and I realized it some time ago. It scared me to have to back out of a parking place, and often I would drive at length to avoid making a left turn without the comfort of a traffic light.

But what about groceries, doctor appointments and errands?

Now this is when this column turns commercial. I had found this place called Freedom Home. You can plan your appointments and your errands, then call them. They will send a caregiver, usually a student at Southern Union working on a nursing degree. She will drive you — in your car — to where you need to go.

We have found it to be a comfortable arrangement. It ain’t cheap, but neither is moving to assisted living.

My wife just recently went to a family funeral in Greenville via Freedom Home.

There are adjustments, however, particularly for someone who tries to write a weekly column.

For a long time now I have wanted to interview the people who edit and write Lee Magazine. I just wanted to meet someone who had the gumption and audacity to start a magazine when the market is so shaky. I like Lee. It’s “snappy and with it,” and it has been great to read while waiting (and waiting) at the doctor’s office.

So I did the unthinkable. I wrote them an e-mail asking for the material I would need for my column.

This is how someone without a car does interviews, but I have hopes it will draw a response.


Gillis Morgan is an associate professor emeritus of journalism at Auburn University and an award-winning columnist. He can be reached at morgarg7@aol.com