Clear the Roads!

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:

I’M DRIVING!!!!!!

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.

Photo of the profile of a woman seated behind the steering wheel of a car. She has brown hair pulled back in a pony tail and is wearing glasses.

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.

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21 thoughts on “Clear the Roads!

  1. There is so much in this post that delights me–especially since I’m hoping to get myself back in the driver’s seat next month. Ah well, that’s next month. Perhaps I should follow your lead and go open my own bottle of wine. It is wonderful to celebrate with you, friend.

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  2. I can empathize. My husband has Alzheimer’s. I was forced to take away his driving privileges 2 1/2 years ago. He was becoming an unsafe driver. He didn’t think so. He still wouldn’t think so if I ever brought it up (which I don’t!). This is a huge, awful battle for dementia caregivers and their loved ones. The majority of dementia patients don’t have enough self-awareness to realize that a problem exists. The fights over driving can become ugly. And I worry about those people who live alone and start to develop dementia. They can quickly become dangerous on the roads and there is no one to help them. For many of the patients, the inability to drive represents the loss of independence after a lifetime of self-sufficiency. They often take it hard and many fight tooth and nail to keep driving.

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  3. Enjoy the chocolate, enjoy the driving.

    Here in Tas (and In Aust) we have Community Transport. a Not for Profit organisaiton that gets funded by the government to provide transport to allow people (aged and disabled) to stay independent in their own home. I know the value of this as I have worked with our Tasmanian Community Transport service for 11 years.

    Surely there must be a similar style organisation in the States?

    Transport is pivotal to good community interaction, which is needed for good mental health and wellbeing.

    Hope your driving days are yours for many years to come.

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    • The only public transportation option here is the paratransit service. This system only operates within a mile of a fixed bus route. There are transportation companies which provide medical transportation but that is limited to getting to and from appointments. Otherwise, the cost of a wheelchair accessible van ride is $100 round trip. Not feasible for most people.

      Liked by 1 person

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