Friday, October 26, 2012

Free At Last--Sort Of

I've started to tell people my good news: I passed my driving test in September.

"That's fantastic!" people say. "You must feel so free now!"

I'm very proud. It's a big milestone. But it's not as liberating as I wish.

It's partly that I'm still getting my confidence back as a driver. To feel comfortable, I have to plan the route ahead of time, mentally going through busy intersections, rotaries, and tricky parking lots. It's partly that the most simple errands are a lot more physical work now--from getting my coat zipped up to wrangling a shopping cart with my uneven strength. And it's also partly that I tire very easily, so I only drive around my town or the next one, for now.

But the biggest reason is that it's the first time that I've felt the weight of total responsibility since the stroke. Although I have responsibility for my kids when I'm alone with them, they are old enough that I don't have to watch them like a hawk. Driving is different. I've spent a lot of time in a rehab hospital over these years. I've seen the results of serious car accidents, and the wreckage of people's lives.

14 comments:

  1. Fabulous news! It was huge for me to drive and took some time. I would always have someone in the car with me and do a few miles at a time. Keep up the hard work of rehabbing!

    ReplyDelete
  2. Congratulations, Grace! That IS a huge accomplishment!!!

    I certainly understand it must be scary at first, I'm sure with your fortitude you will soon gain the confidence you need.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Congratulations! New freedom seems to always come with the weight of responsibility but you are up to it, and if I see you I won't drive the other way!

    ReplyDelete
  4. I'm trying to think of an encouraging way to address the last sentence of your post, but can't. So instead I'll cite some statistics I just heard on the radio: of people surveyed in this particular report about driver safety, 95% said they considered themselves safe drivers. Of that 95% who said they were safe drivers, an average of 60% also admitted to eating, texting, and searching contacts in their phones while driving. I do two of those things while driving. Upshot: you're no scarier than the rest of us.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Maybe I'll drive the next time you visit ;)

      Delete
  5. Congratulations!! It is huge to be able to drive. I don't drive much either, but it took me about a year to feel pretty confident again. I live in LA though and everyone here drives crazy ...and tries to mulitask, I just drive. I used to be a sales rep, and drive all day. Times have changed. ;)

    ReplyDelete
  6. Great, Grace. Driving and the resulting errands helped me build my stamina. I had to limit myself at first to two errands every other day. Now I can do about three a day!

    ReplyDelete
  7. You have such a high level of safety awareness that you are probably a safer driver than most. Congratulations on this new milestone.

    ReplyDelete
  8. Oh to drive again. I'm still at the learning to walk again stage.

    ReplyDelete
  9. I just got my license re-issued this week, but won't be trying at all for a while!

    Guarded congratulations to you (within your comfort limits)! Really, this is such a HUGE accomplishment!

    jenni
    http://strokeofgrace.blogspot.com

    ReplyDelete
  10. Congratulations, Grace!

    I got my learner's permit back in February, but haven't driven yet...I need to get an adapted steering wheel for my father's car and, like you, I'm feeling anxious.

    But you'll get there...I'm sure of it. :)

    ReplyDelete
  11. Congratulations again!

    I got my license back nearly a year ago and go out every day, weather-dependent, but I'm still not relaxed while driving. Driving used to be second nature, but no longer. My husband insists that my supposed left-side neglect makes me hug the center line, so I have to think about that constantly. Plus I have to manage two rotaries to get out of GLO.

    I don't mean to be discouraging, but - just like every last thing in the rest of our lives - it takes longer to regain a skill than we expect.

    ReplyDelete