Friday, February 24, 2012

Driving With Chronic Illness

Driving is something many take for granted. It something from about 12 we look forward to do. Then one day we are finally old enough to get our license, and we are the happiest teen on the planet. When I was a teen running errands for my dad fetching auto parts, and paint where cool. To him it was one less thing he had to do. I just wanted to drive I didn't care what? How? When?
You fast forward to the now so many years later. It's not so much different. I don't care what I drive. How I drive it, and when I do it. Why is this? Well when you have had it in front of your face twice that your driving days are limited.....well you just are happy to go. Just as when you where a happy carefree teen.

The first time I fainted behind the wheel, and had an accident. With my then under 2 year old son in the back. Scared the hell out of me. Not to mention quilt. The I could haves? The what ifs? So on, and so on. That time I was ordered not to drive until my spells where resolved. Even after that I was told to not drive more than 15 miles from home. Mind you that is hard. With kids, and things to do. I felt so helpless. So much like a bum. I had lost my will to et better at that point because I had a husband that on the weekends wanted to go go go. Go on these road trips, and "boony cruises". Even more so to remind me what a failure I was. That I had to be given a ride everywhere. To the dr, the store. EVERYWHERE.

This wasn't easy on a husband who drives for a living. He doesn't always want to drive all night when he gets home. So even though he did it, and allot of times he meant well it wasn’t without complaining. Which made me feel even more terrible. I had told my self I needed to get better so I could drive again, but found myself getting more depressed. Having to rely on others. Then finally as the dr said I could drive again, and I was ready to go back to work some I quickly figured ways to cope. Driving was still hard. It would get worse as time went on. Yet I want to keep hanging on....

Most of all it's independence don’t have much of that left these days. No job. Kids getting older. They don't need me as much. No hobbies really to speak of. Nothing really that I do I get to say I accomplished something anymore. Then you mix all this in with the fact of lack of options. Who else will do it? Haul the kids around? Me around?

You fast forward a few more years, and I have a stroke. While driving down the interstate. Couldn't drive a while again. Truthfully dr never told me I could again. He said he would reevaluate me after therapy, and he never would say really. I just do. No one else to, independent thing, and hubby gets sick of doing it all.

So here goes that worthless feeling again. Only this time the worthless monster brings ne challenges. When I pass allot of traffic if it's sunny it looks like a strobe like sort of. Well that freaks my brain out. Causes me to get chest pains, and a migraine. I hear weird noises they scare me cars driving by to fast or to loud. My brain never did recoop from that from the stroke. So in a car with no ac. This is a picnic I tell you what. I'm very sun sensitive. Even if there are clouds out. If I don't have sunglasses on I start to see floaters, and hazzy vision. Sometimes when I get Migraine Aura I smell things that don't really exist. It's usually burnt rubber is most common. Next are ammonia (cat pee), and gas. So think of the fun when you think you smell a burning hose, and gas? Could be real could not be. My brain doesn't know the 2. So that freaks me out.

Then there is my vision problems since childhood only made worse by EDS. I struggle with both distance, and up close vision as I have as astigmatism. At night headlights look like cauliflower buts yet burn. I can't tell if cars are in the left or right lane when it's dark, and they have their headlights on. I can't tell how fast cars are coming up on me at dark. So I don't for sure know how fr they are away. So I get honked at stop lights, and signs allot. "GOOOOOOO". This makes my hubby furious.

Yet I'm scared to wreck. AGAIN. Scared to not be able to drive. My Fu$%ing brain is shorting out. Right now I have terrible ringing in one ear, and whoosing in the other. Then there is the who will take my kids here, and there. Who will take me to, and from where I need to go?

It just sucks! Yet it's so hard. I would be way easier to just forget it, and hang up the keys?

Then what is there to make me worth while? I just want to feel like me again. The women that people want to get to know. I want people to be proud of me. I want me to be proud of me.


  1. Awwww! I really enjoyed reading this. It's awesome. You said so many things that I feel,see, & hear. I am very proud of u. U r one of the strongest people I know. And Definitely the funniest! You have put alot of laughter in my days & many smiles on my face. Please Know many of us share your fears. I sometimes feel I'm in a dark place & it's so unexplainable. Actually, some think I'm a nut. But that's ok. I think you are a very beautiful & wonderful young lady! Love ya much!<3 Cindy

    1. Tank you! That made my day! Sorry I took so long to reply. I'm still new at this blogging thing. I can type, and compose what I want to write, but the ins, and outs of the tech stuff have me lost. Keep your chin up. You inspire me too. You are such a faithful women. You are pretty strong yourself my friend!

  2. Where ever you had PT they can eval you for driving and most of them have driving classes to help deal with the changes in vision, etc. Dara you are actually doing quite well, if you weren't I would tell you. Oh by the way after Aunt Opal had her stroke they said they would re eval after therp. and they tested her in the pt and said she could drive....I know it is a mountain...don't look back the struggle look how far you have come...and live one day at a time. I wanted to show you this blog of some people I met, their son was born a year ago with Downs Syndrome, he started blogging daily about it and it has turned into a huge nation group...each person contributing what they did and how and what worked and what did will post the link on your page....and believe me blogging is a full time job...all those things you post about EDS and POTS help the time is not worthless to a you; Mom

    1. I was reevaluated after stroke. That is how the no driving restriction got lifted. The neurologist told me that he would reevaluated me after PT, and OT was done. He had the PT, OT, and RN all evaluate me. From the home health place. Then he himself evaluate me. This is where he said I could drive again, but with some restrictions. He said he took "pity" on me. His word not mine, as I had "many young children that needed to get to school, and dr appts etc;." That's what he said. So he came up with a plan. Here are my restrictions.

      I can't drive over 30 miles. He figures that gives me enough to go to Springdale, Fayetteville, Rogers, and Bella Vista. I have no NEED to go any further hardly ever. I hardly ever have needs to leave town. I do go to Fayetteville allot. Allot of doctors are there. Even the kids dr. Also my fav sister. LOL. He told me drive as little as possible. One good thing about about 2 teenagers in the house....they love to drive. So if I don't feel good (other than when they are at school) they will drive for me. They think errands are cool cuz they get to drive! LOL
      Also when Scott is here of course he if my driver. He hates my driving anyways. Hehe.

      No driving when BP is low. Period.

      No driving when I'm dizzy. Period.

      Limit night time driving. As the headlights to my brain appear as flashing lights, and can trigger migraines. Flashing lights do trigger migraines. I also have an astigmatism so he noted that night time driving is probably not the best "seeing" wise anyway.