As I’ve just turned 17, learning to drive had very quickly moved up to the top of my priority list the coming weeks before my birthday. There isn’t much difference from the casual 17 year old that wants to wiz about the place in a flashy new car and me. Apart from the small problem of being chronically ill and having the attention span of a damn gnat. Small problem I said, small. Very, very, not so very, small problem.
So this very small, not so small problem, is something I’ve decided I can overcome, if I listen to what this hot mess of a body has to say.
I’ve recently had two driving lessons, the first of which started on my birthday, and I was surprised with an actual car. Yes, you heard me, read me, correctly. I’m incredibly grateful for such a wonderful surprise and I truly am so thankful for that along with everything else my parents do for me.
So far, so good. My lessons are going very well, and I haven’t had to cancel one yet. It’s early days and I have a way to go, but so far the excitement of driving has distracted me from any symptoms I’m feeling, right until I get home. I don’t know if it’s because I have to concentrate on keeping myself safe or not, or because I’m so excited every time the lesson comes around. Either way, I’m not complaining.
Of course there will be days I feel like I’ve been running that much I could actually star on Scooby Doo, but I’ll face those days wisely. I don’t run by the way, like ever. If I ever run, it’s either away from something scary or towards a fridge. Either way, you’d better come with.
Brain fog is as much as a problem for me as fatigue and pain is, so not screwing up massively and plummeting into the nearest lorry is a good sign so far. I haven’t found listening and understanding what Lee (my driving instructor) is saying too hard. In fact, I would very easily say that your instructor is the most important part of this process. If I had someone who didn’t break it down for me, wasn’t aware of my disabilities and had little to no patience with me, I’d be in a completely different state of mind right now. My mum made sure that he was suitable before we even welcomed the idea of booking with him.
As far as actual lessons and my fatigue go, if I wake up and I have that gut feeling I’m not going to be able to even talk normally today, the lesson will be cancelled. I’m not about to risk anyone’s life. Actually passing will be similar. On days I really feel like I can’t, I will ask someone else to drive me. I may not like it, and I may very well have to have a good old talk to my body, a good telling off, but its better than anyone getting hurt. I could never live with myself if I hurt someone, so I will just have to suck up my pride and ask for help. Shouldn’t be too hard, right?
I haven’t just thought about driving, and how I will have to achieve my goals using alternative routes if push comes to shove, but also what I should carry in my car. Now the obvious stuff like a spare tyre and a first aid kit isn’t what I’m talking about. I’m thinking more, ice-cream backup spoon, well spoons, medication, heart rate monitor and a million pair of sunglasses. Maybe a million and one if I’m feeling extra sassy that day. The spoons for well, duh ice-cream, medication for surprise headaches and back/joint pain, a heart monitor just in case my POTS wants to come out and play, and the sunglasses to prevent any headaches in the first place. I’ll add to the list as we go, but for now I think that’s a good start.
I’ve been looking forward to being able to drive for a long time, as many new doors are opened and a little bit of independence is given. It’s early days though, and I have much to experience.