Beginning at the End
It was my usual Monday morning in Montauk.The alarm woke me at 4:30 am although I needed no alarm. I never could sleep well the night before I made my trek back into the city. I’d been commuting every Friday night from my office on Madison Avenue to my home in Montauk for almost 10 years.The home we built in 2003 was meant to be our retirement home.Montauk was an obvious choice for us.Our family had been coming out for over 40 years.Montauk has that kind of pull.The idea was to build a house,rent it out in the summer then when the time came retire. But we found once the house was finished we just didn’t have the heart to rent it so we sold our house in Westchester my husband moved to Montauk and I rented an apartment and became a weekend warrior. I didn’t mind I enjoyed my job and certainly wasn’t ready for retirement.I was lucky I loved what I did…designing licensed sleepwear for the largest retailers in the country was both fun and financially rewarding.The early Monday morning routine wasn’t much of an inconvenience. It was part of the plan. But you know what happens to plans. So on that March morning my husband drove me to the Hampton Jitney stop in Montauk by the police station.It was still cold and the bus hadn’t heated up yet so I was bundled head to toe and promptly fell asleep. I always loved the bus ride.I guess I’m a mass transportation type in fact I didn’t get my drivers license until I was in my thirties.The Jitney is quite popular and even during the off season you must make a reservation. I wasn’t surprised the bus was full when I awoke around exit 40 on the Long Island
Expressway but this time I was terribly overheated. Also I was the most nauseous I’d ever been in my life. I was dehydrated and should have taken a drink of water but figured I was close to the city and could wait.I took off my coat,hat and gloves and fell back asleep…or so I thought.Because the next thing I remember is being asked if I was ok. The bus was pulled over on the shoulder somewhere in Queens.An ambulance was outside waiting to take me to the hospital. What!!! I was told it looked like I had a seizure.What!!! I never had a seizure ,fainted or even been dizzy …ever.I managed to walk off the bus and into the waiting ambulance was given oxygen which by the way I recommend highly and taken to some god forsaken hospital in Flushing.After being checked out in the emergency room I was told all looked well and I probably just fainted and was discharged. By this time my family drove in from Montauk and wanted to take me to a “real” hospital in the city. I was admitted to Lenox Hill .Tests were performed over the next few days. An EEG showed a neurological pattern that indicated a seizure. It’s unknown why this happened.My neurologist called it the “perfect storm” I was sleep deprived,dehydrated and stressed. What to do ? Would it happen again?Would I be alone the next time?I traveled to Europe and the Far East for work.That would have to be altered.I lived alone during the week.A scary scenario.I was prescribed Keppra ,a seizure medication ,to be taken twice a day.I was told yes it could happen again but I was lucky this time sitting on a bus not crossing 34th Street or jumping on the number 6 subway or a million other places I tended to be.It was a life changing experience.Suddenly Montauk became my refuge.My haven.In the end I retired a few years earlier then planned but that’s ok . I get to spend all my days in Montauk with my family. I actually found I don’t miss work or even the city. And the times I do need to go back I find I can’t wait to get out of town. I know I wouldn’t feel the same if it wasn’t Montauk.All those years with crammed in weekends I never got to truly know Montauk.There is something almost mystical here.It’s a special place.It’s called The End but to me it’s just the beginning.It’s especially wonderful in the fall. The beaches are empty and so serene.The town is quiet yet not desolate .I can’t imagine anywhere else I’d rather be.If anyone needs a Jitney ticket let me know I’ve got plenty to spare.