Saturday, February 18, 2012

Driving My Car

I have been driving for a whole week now!

I lost my drivers license due to health issues three and a half years ago. It was a horrible feeling to surrender my license. I already felt like I had lost so much freedom, and there was the government taking away one more little bit of my adult independence. I knew I was not fit to drive. No question about it, but that still did not make it feel okay.

Over a year ago my physician gave the okay for me to drive again. He filled in the required paperwork and we sent it off. Then I ran into a nightmare of red tape. I was not allowed to drive at all, no temporary permit or anything. About two months ago I finally got a letter telling me to come in for a "driving assessment".

The long awaited testing date involved even more complications. The driver licensing department lost my files resulting in a 40 minute delay, there was also a winter ice storm going on, and I had to drive our SUV which was different from anything I had ever driven before.  The tester told me that we were doing a road test and that I might leave with my full license, but that if anything at all went wrong I could not  retest later, my file would be sent to a board of review and it might not turn out well for me. He suggested I might want to try later in the week under improved conditions. He was kind enough to book me in five days later and not put me way back at the bottom of the waiting list. I was very upset after we left.

My not so new car.
We bought a second car that very night. It is a cheap, 12 year old beater, but it feels familiar because it is the same kind that I drove 4 years ago and I felt a lot more relaxed and confident about my ability to drive it.

Friday morning my husband took time off work to take me and the "new to us" car to my test. The tester and I went out to the car and he was going to check that the lights and turn signals were all working before we went out on the road. I couldn't start the car and the tester obviously thought I was not "with it" enough to start the car, let alone drive it. We wound up needing to get CAA (same as AAA) to come and tow my new car away to our mechanic. The tester felt sorry for me and offered me one final chance on Monday. My daughter came with our SUV and drove us home.   I was pretty much hysterical on the way home.
Our car's starter was replaced by the end of the day.

Monday morning the tester and I went out to the car and it started!! Twenty minutes later I was getting my picture taken and my license was issued. I felt like a grown-up again.
I am restricted to driving vehicles with automatic transmissions and power steering.

 I love the freedom, but the actual driving is hard. I am having trouble keeping my left arm up to hold the wheel for very long and I am finding shoulder checking to the left really uncomfortable. I have gotten a headache every time I drive and I am sure it is from the combination of weak neck/ shoulder muscles and eye strain.  I plan to restrict myself to daytime driving and I will avoid the busy streets.

Road trip anyone?

17 comments:

oc1dean said...

Congratulations Linda, it does get better with practice, you won't need to expend 100% of your mental abilities. The only way I can even get my left arm on the steering wheel is when I am stopped, pry my fingers open and then only on straight highways.
Dean

Linda said...

Thanks Dean.. thank goodness for those flat, straight prairie roads. Yeah.. all that thinking feels like real work. I really need to pre-think where I am going and where all the turns are.

Elizabeth, John and Jack said...

Congratulations!!! Huge achievement! It will feel more comfortable real soon. I was pretty scared at first, but now feel fine...with shorter distances. It still sucks my energy, but I can get where I need to go. Good for you!!

Grace Carpenter said...

I had my first driving lesson with an adaptive car (left-foot gas) last week. I was exhausted. But it was the first time I felt excited to drive again, rather than just scared.

Glynis said...

Be careful, Linda. I drove for years after my stroke that I had as a teenager. I'm still glad that I did it because driving made me feel that I was part of the outside world. Very therapeutic psychologically. However, recently I have decided to stop driving because I know that my reaction time isn't as good as someone able-bodied. I don't create accidents, mind you but because of slowness, I can't prevent the ones others create.

Diane said...

Congrats Linda! What an achievement!

Marcelle Greene said...

What an ordeal! Ditto on left hand uncomfortable at first but getting better. I even steer with it one-handed now sometimes! Still have to take it off to make turns, though.

Barb Polan said...

Huge congrats!! What perseverance and patience! I don't think I'll ever be relaxed while I drive, but I have stopped being anxious most of the time. I too am restricted to a car with automatic transmission and adaptive equipment (knob and directional control). And I try to pick a route with minimal left turns and no rotaries, but given where I live, it's not always possible.

Congrats again!

Leisa Dreps said...

You are an inspiration, Linda. I am sure you will be able to get through this minor obstacle in no time. Stay strong. Dean is right: driving does get better with practice. You just hang in there and continue believing.

Blue Shoe Farm said...

Linda,
Big, big congratulations! It gets easier the more you drive.

Ellsworth Mciltrot said...

Way to go, Linda! Perhaps a month or two practicing can finally bring back the driving prowess in you. It matters not how young your car is, but how far you can achieve using it.

Driving Schools said...

Well You shoudl drive because you love it so much, but don't drive for too long because your left arm and shoulder hurts.. :)

Mickey Doshi said...

I'd like to offer my congratulations to you for holding the steering wheel once again and acquiring a new license. I am truly happy for you, driving is one of life's simple pleasures that you'd be able to experience. Have fun driving, and be safe!

Irene said...

Congratulations Linda. I started driving again (after 2 years) with the left footed gas pedal. I also plan my short trips before going out. I'm not in a big hurry to try the major highways yet. I'm just thankful I can get to my appointments. I also think I drive better than I walk.

Andrew Martin said...

Sweet! I got a new car last week and now planning to drive it around the town this coming weekend.

San Antonio Payday Loan

Brittanie Holderness said...

I have the same sentiment as you, Linda. I feel like the idea of owning a car and being able to drive it myself gives me a sense of freedom. Well, let’s just all be glad that you have your license again. That’s the most important part! And now, months have passed. I’m sure you’re better at it this time around. Just wanna remind you to be careful. :) Enjoy driving, but be safe! :D

Clint Moore said...

Not bad! This second hand car doesn’t look old school. The designs and details are still up to date. And I bet this car would last for so many years. Used cars require more attention than new cars, and of course depending on how you are going to maintain them. I suggest that you keep track of your car from time to time. Basically, you should change oil or replace spark plugs on a regular basis in order to avoid future accidents.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...