Friday, October 21, 2011

One Step Towards Driving Again

I really miss driving. I  checked off the box that said "stroke" on my drivers license renewal and not long after I got a letter telling me to surrender my license. In a somewhat confused way I knew I wasn't well enough to be driving but it was such a blow to actually hand my license over.  Being a driver was part of my identity. There I was dealing with yet another type of loss to my mobility.  I hate always asking my daughters or husband to drive me places. Bob comes home tired  after a work day and I am waiting like a puppy at the window waiting to be taken for a ride somewhere. I am really not steady enough to take the bus easily or safely,  and I can only walk so far but I want to go places by myself. I want to be able to run to the store to pick up milk!  

I have had no end of paperwork snags trying to get my license back.  Months after I had handed in my license I received a letter that was a final warning to hand in my license or else.  That was an indicator of how things were going to go between me and MPI, the  insurance and licensing board.

Eventually I felt well enough to try and get my license and freedom back.  I got a health report form to be filled in by my doctor.  My Family Practice doctor filled it in and had no problem with me driving, but he did note in the letter that I had seen a neurologist. The next letter from MPI was informing me that the Licensing  Board would now be requiring the report from my neurologist to be forwarded by my doctor.  Okay -- done.

The following letter indicated that the report from my neurologist was insufficient and they sent me a form for a full report to be filled out by my neurologist.  The only problem was that neurologist, who had only seen me the one time, was now living in another country so it required another set of letters to get MPI to let me be seen by a different neurologist.

We have a huge shortage of specialists in the province. I am basically stable and not medically considered in need of a Neurologist, so my doctor tried and tried to find one that would see me for the sole purpose of filling out a form.

I finally had my appointment with a new neurologist this past week.  He checked me out carefully and seriously questioned if I drove a standard, how I would do with shoulder checking, how dizzy I got with turning my head and so on.  It went reasonably well and the nice man said he didn't see any reason why I shouldn't drive now.  He promised to send the forms in immediately and he said that if I did not hear from MPI in the next week I should call them and inquire about the status of my file.

 I will probably need to do an "in car test" with their occupational therapist before they will consider giving me a license. It is possible that they will require me to start right back at a beginners license because it has been such a long time.

I have been waiting 13 months to see the new neurologist.
I have been waiting a very long time for the opportunity to try and prove my fitness. 

I sure hope the rest of this process goes better.


Rebecca Dutton said...

Driver evaluation and training by an OT is usually not covered by insurance. My OT went with me to the DMV and successfully argued with the employee who didn't want to renew my license even though I had just passed an on-the-road test. After driving safely for 6 years I don't regret one penny I took out of my savings to pay for driver training.

Blue Shoe Farm said...

They told me in the hospital to notify the DMV about my stroke. And then I couldn't drive without a doctors letter of approval - that I had to take in person and only then would DMV removed the restriction. Good Luck! I'll be thinking good thoughts for you.

barbpolan said...

Good luck with all of it. I hate not driving. I don't mind asking friends/family members for rides, I've got the train to take to go to Boston, and there are plenty of cabs. What I miss is the knowledge that I can drive anywhere (not too far, though - or in the dark, or in bad traffic, etc.) any time I want - Ever since I got my license at 16, I have felt that driving makes me both independent and FREE. It's been nearly 2 years since I have felt remotely that way. And I want it back again. Just this morning, my husband - who has been dragging his feet all along about my driving wish - said that he does not want me to get my license because he's sure I will get in an accident. Another step backward.

oc1dean said...

I had the driving test with the OT and it was a little disconcerting because you get criticized for lapses in attention. Mainly because you come into this with absolutely no practice. 3 years now and feel pretty good about driving, although I don't back up if I can help it.

Elizabeth, John and Jack said...

WOW!! Great news. Driving is such freedom. I was really nervous to drive again...but did great with the eval. and now I feel really comfortable again. You will do great!! Congratulations...I hope u can get on the road soon.

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2d to 3d photo said...

Congratulation. I hope you will enjoy driving again. I guess you must be excited very much right now.

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