Tuesday, 8 April 2014

"I'm going to take some driving lessons

and get my licence back."
I heard someone saying this while I was waiting to pick up a prescription for an elderly friend.
I don't know the person who said this but I do know enough about medication to know that they won't be getting a licence again any time soon - if ever. He obviously had severe diabetes. He was grossly overweight. His feet (in sandals) were indicative of serious circulatory problems.
The chemist, ever patient, was explaining how he had to take another lot of medication. Was he keeping to the prescribed diet? "Yeah, yeah...doing all the right things. F.... doctors worrying about nothing...I'm fine. Cops just said I had to get some lessons and get me licence back."
I rather doubt that. My guess is that he was involved in an accident and lost his licence because of his medical condition.
The sister of my friend who has arthritis has had to stop driving because of her diabetes. It is, as she puts it, "a wretched nuisance" but she can still walk to most places she needs to go and the money she saves by not running car she can put towards a taxi when she needs one. She would not consider getting behind the wheel of a car again - although she would dearly love to have the freedom.
I took the prescription, paid for it and prowled off to the greengrocer and then home via my elderly friend. I told him of the incident. His response was a sympathetic nod.
"Hardest decision I made at the time. You give up your licence and you give up your freedom. Doctor.... said I could go on for a bit if I wanted to but I could see he wasn't really happy about it. Your Dad's lucky his eyesight is still good enough to ride that gopher of his."
Yes, I know the Senior Cat is lucky in that respect. It doesn't stop me worrying. He says he is careful He believes he is careful. Being a male he likes to go at top speed (about 20kmh) along the street even while watching for the traffic. He does slow down to a crawl in the shopping centre. Will he know when it is really no longer safe to ride his gopher? I hope so.
I wonder what it is with driving though?
 I once knew a man who kept riding his motor bike after he was declared legally blind. He insisted he was fine and, even more appalling, his licence was not taken away from him. It was not renewed four years later but, in those four years, he rode and somehow avoided having an accident but it must have been heart stopping for other people.
And I need to go out today. It is likely to be raining. Someone has offered me a ride but I have declined with a polite excuse. This person should not have a licence either. The doctor did not have the courage to say "no" but her family know she should not be driving. They have warned me not to accept a ride.
My paternal grandfather wanted to go on driving too long and, much as I loved him dearly, he was not a good driver. My father eventually removed a vital part from under the bonnet. The car would not start. The garage owner told my grandfather it was not worth repairing. My grandfather gave in. Did he know? Possibly - but it was a way of saving face.
My maternal grandfather might well have died at the wheel. He drove a lot.  He died in his sleep after a long drive to his childhood home.
My grandmothers did not drive. My mother did - and had, in her 70's, reached the point where she should not have been driving. I wonder how we would have stopped her.
So, although I worry about the Senior Cat on his gopher, I am grateful that he had the good sense and thoughtfulness to give up driving his car.
As for me, I have no idea how to drive and I have no intention of trying to learn.


Miriam Drori said...

It's a problem. My father was involved in two accidents, probably due to his cataracts. Fortunately no one was injured. My mother was glad, after they retired to a seaside town with parking problems, when they decided they no longer needed the car. Will I know when I shouldn't drive? I don't know.

Hey, I get to type my date of birth in the robot check!

catdownunder said...

Mine never had an accident apart from the time when a taxi ran into the back of him when he was stationery at a stop light (unusually ruled 100% taxi driver's fault as well) but he was over-cautious and would hesitate which might well have caused an accident. Am so thankful he gave it up when he did!

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