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Simply put, I love to drive and at one time I considered myself adventurous. Not bungee jumping or mountain climbing adventurous but if I wanted to go somewhere there wasn’t much that could stop me. I had no fear about going somewhere by myself and was ready for a road trip any time.
To me, driving equals freedom. The freedom to go to the store when I want, make appointments without feeling like a bother…the freedom to go places.
Things are a lot different now. I stopped driving in November 2016 and other than a few short trips last August, I have not driven since.
For starters, the Hemiplegic Migraines (to find out more click here) cause a sudden and drastic impact on my vision. I do not trust that I could get off the road without endangering the lives of others. This is the main reason I decided to stop getting behind the wheel.
Yes, I decided to stop driving months before my Doctor even mentioned it to me. I realized it wasn’t safe and I also knew that I could never handle it if I injured or killed someone while driving.
(My husband would probably say that it is the only time I wasn’t stubborn about something.)
What has this meant for my life?
The most obvious is less freedom. I have to admit that this has been the hardest for me. I can’t just decide to go somewhere just because I want to go. No more errand days or deciding to go eat lunch with my husband.
Now, my husband will take me anywhere I want to go whenever I want to go there. Even though the decision not to drive did change some things, most of the frustration is in my head.
It is kind of like putting a piece of candy on the counter and telling a child he can’t have it. I CAN’T drive so I want to go somewhere. The keys are in my purse…the car is in the driveway…but I can’t.
The least obvious is that not driving has also meant that I am never in public alone. While this is a good thing since I can’t talk during Hemiplegic Migraine episodes, a negative has come of this as well. I have become too accustomed to not being alone. The idea of walking alone in public scares me now.
Why does it matter?
In the grand scheme of things it really doesn’t. Is it hard sometimes, absolutely! Is it frustrating at times? Of course! Does it make getting things done more complicated? Some times! But none of that comes close to equalling the value of the life that might be lost if I drive.
Making the decision not to drive was not easy. I knew that it would be a definite lifestyle change but there are positives that have come from it as well. I do not use up precious energy doing things alone. If I feel like getting out it has become precious time to spend with my husband.
Has your Chronic Illness made you change your driving habits?