A week ago I shared my success at transferring in and out of the driver’s seat in my van. I hope you’re sitting down for this update because it’s a big one:
The photo below, which has already garnered 241 ‘likes’ on my personal Facebook page, is proof that I have reached another important milestone in my quest to get back to my usual routine. This also proves I am blessed to have many kind friends who are invested in my recovery. Either that, or they are sick of hearing me gripe about not being able to drive.
It’s not all smiles and sunshine, despite what you see in the photo. I still need assistance to get in and out of my van seat, so I am not completely independent with driving. And transferring takes me at least 5 minutes each direction.
But once I get in the driver’s seat, I can drive! Granted, I am not ready to drive for more than 30-45 minutes at a time. My endurance is reduced and my left knee starts complaining about the position after 20 minutes in the driver’s seat.
But I’m driving! Last week Thursday I drove to and from work during the day, and then to and from my Toastmasters meeting in the evening. Saturday I drove to and from a Rotary training. I didn’t crash – I didn’t even need to slam on the brakes.
Driving has been the critical step. Everything I have done so far has been to get me stronger and healthier so I can return to work. I cannot return to work without being able to drive.
While I am grateful for the progress I have made, I am also more aware of how difficult it is for people with disabilities to engage with their communities when they do not live close enough to access public transportation routes. I know I must continue to work with other advocates to increase transportation options for the disabled, as well as consider a different living location so my routine is not disrupted in the future if I lose my driving privileges. I worry about my elderly parents and how they will cope when they are no longer able to drive in their rural community.
Automobiles have changed my life and I am thrilled to be regaining independence. But I know it is fleeting and I have to begin to prepare for the time when I will no longer be able to get in my van and go.
For now, I’m content to just keep bragging about the fact that I have reached another step in recovery.
Current status: Uncorking a bottle of wine; attempting to get a wine glass down from the cabinet without breaking it; savoring the last of my Australian Cadbury chocolate while I crochet.