Saturday, April 5, 2014

I love cars!

L loves cars- always has.  He has undoubtedly held a car in his hand for more (waking) hours of his life than not.  When he was barely talking, he used to wake up in the morning and ask for a car with his very first breath, and he has taken a matchbox car to bed with him in each hand every night for at least 2 years.

I can only compare him to M (aka Mr. I love Toy Story! No wait, dinosaurs! No space! No, I love presidents! I mean superheros! No, space again! No, actually sign language!) so maybe I don't have a good perspective, but L's unwavering love for cars seems unique.

We laugh that when when he was little, he wanted to grow up to be a car.  Now that he's older, he says he wants to be a racecar driver, or "an actor with a car." 

About a week ago, when he was talking for the tenth time that morning about the car he'd have when he grew up,  I was hit with a sudden, gut-sinking realization.  Some countries' laws prohibit people with epilepsy and people who suffer seizures from driving.  I had no clue what kind of laws Thailand has in place, but the general misunderstanding of the condition and the pervasive cultural stigma didn't leave me feeling very hopeful.

The doctor who diagnosed L with RAS described it as a condition that affects children under six.  We took that to mean that he would outgrow them by age six, but we came to learn later that when adults or teenagers suffer from the same condition, it is given a different name. So we don't know if L's seizures will ever completely disappear.  They might!  Or they might always be a small part of his life.

But cars... cars are no small part!  I couldn't even bring myself to search Thailand's law.  It was like a musician being struck deaf or a runner losing his leg.  I couldn't stand it. Cars are his joy.  I learned that in the US, the law varies from state to state but generally one can drive after a period of no seizures (normally 6 months, 9 months, a year.)

I learned that some countries forbid people who have ever had a seizure from driving. Ever.  Full stop. After a week of worrying, I started thinking that maybe those people who hide their children's conditions aren't ashamed, but they just don't want doors closing on them all their lives.  I even considered whether I should keep this blog, or whether I should take the boys' names and pictures down, so L could decide for himself who he would share the information with in the future.  But of course, I knew I couldn't teach him to withhold it, or allow him to get a license illegally, no matter how much he wanted one.

I finally broke down and looked it up, reassuring myself while I resolutely hit the keystrokes: L might grow out of them and it could all be moot, he could make the decision to get a pacemaker as an adult if it was important to him, he might decide to live in the states anyway...

No regulation.

What?! Thai law has no mandate.  It is entirely up to the individual to decide whether they should be on the road.  How wonderfully reasonable! Since L's seizures have triggers and build up over a period of several seconds before they start, he could safely pull over.

All that anguish for no reason!  How silly of me.

L, just please promise me you won't want to be an astronaut like your brother!


  1. Ohhh Robin! This gave me chills until I read that he could drive! Do you remember (I'm assuming you've seen it, not sure why) that scene in Little Miss Sunshine? I don't want to give it away in case you haven't seen it, but oh my god. I'm so relieved Miles can drive!! That would be so horrible.

    PS that text from him is the SWEETEST THING EVER. I love all those hearts!

    1. I've seen it but I should watch it again. I see them differently now that I'm a parent. I bet I'd feel differently about that scene now.