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Your Driving MY Car?

October 7, 2013

Dad’s driving was becoming a real concern.  He was getting lost on his way to familiar locations, forgetting to check for cars when changing lanes, and not always noticing stop signs. It was getting really scary to ride with him.  I knew something needed to be done but, when I expressed concern he would get angry.

I realized that someone with more authority would need to be brought into the issue.  I called the doctor and told her what I was seeing. She agreed to address the problem with Dad at his next appointment.  Dad was furious when the doctor told him he couldn’t drive any more.  He said that she asked him a few questions and just because he got one wrong she was going to report him to the state and have his license revoked.  He was NEVER going to see her again!  In fact, he never did.

We got him a state identification card which he was convinced was a driver’s license. Driving continued to be a serious battle for more than a year.  He would get out his license and prove that he could still drive.  The whole driving discussion invariably led to hostile comments about THAT doctor.

It has been six years now. Most days Dad willingly gets into the passenger seat. But there are still days when he will ask “You’re driving MY car?”  We may again end up in a conversation about that doctor or with him pulling out his license to show me that he can still drive.  Sometimes Dad remembers that he can’t drive and becomes very upset about how he can’t live at his house without being able to drive the 15 miles into town.

It was easier with Mom. Dad simply “broke” her car and never got around to fixing it.  She didn’t seem to suffer the loss. It has been a great loss for Dad.

For many people a driver’s license is the key to independence. That was certainly true for Dad.  He recognized that losing his license meant he couldn’t live alone.  Taking it away was really difficult because it was the first step we took in controlling his life and restricting his freedom but waiting would have been a dangerous risk.

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One Comment leave one →
  1. October 7, 2013 10:45 am

    I sent this to members of my poetry writing support group for caregivers. Thank you.
    Am including a poem from one of my books:

    A Thief By Another Name

    It was the most exhilarating feeling
    When at age 16 I got the key
    To the family car and drove solo
    All over town through traffic lights,
    To country roads and back to home
    Where trust was given with license.

    Since then, each time I fit that key
    Into the ignition and turn it right,
    And hear the hum of the engine,
    I get to relive that same golden moment
    Of 70 years ago.

    A moment of complete freedom
    As I take complete control of a vehicle,
    Freedom to turn right or to left,
    Freedom to exceed the speed limit or otherwise.
    So many decisions, decisions I am able to make
    Because with this key, I am also given
    My own dignity! My own capability!
    My own manhood! My independence!
    With no one telling me
    What to do, where to go, how to go.

    What exhilaration!
    To be the owner of that one key.

    The wonder of this freedom
    Is one needs to be alone.
    One passenger, just one passenger
    Takes half of this freedom away.
    The AC, speed limit, routes to different places,
    They all become half of yours.
    When there is but one passenger.
    Ah yes, one needs to be alone
    Alone behind the wheel.
    With a tank full of gas
    And somewhere to go.

    Today my key was taken from me.
    From Mosaic Moon

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