The topic of mobility and independence has come up a lot in my family since my grandma’s fall a week and a half ago and her subsequent recovery. Tonight, we came together to tell them that it may be time to consider assisted living. It’s a hard conversation to have, to tell someone that for their safety they need to give up their home and independence. It’s a theme that I’m personally familiar with.
I know I’ve blogged about it enough, so you know exactly what I’m talking about: my vision. If I had perhaps done the research, or asked the right questions, I would have been prepared for this side effect. I could have even brushed up on my old House episodes! Yesterday, I watched one where Dr. House kidnapped the lead male star in his favorite medical soap opera because he was convinced the actor had a tumor on his occipital lobe simply by studying the way he read he teleprompter. Hello! Of course, it ended up being much more complicated, but the symptoms were all there. That was slightly off the subject, but you get the point. If I had done my homework, maybe I would have expected to wake up with holes in my vision.
When I learned that my doctors were not willing to sign a letter saying I could safely operate a vehicle, I was devastated. And get this: I hate driving. Hate it! I got my license a year behind my classmates because the responsibility overwhelmed me. Traffic still drives me nuts. Merging makes me paranoid. Orienting myself on a new road brings out my neurotic side. So really, I could do without the driving. But, it’s what getting behind the wheel symbolizes for me that’s the hardest to part with: independence, mobility, freedom.
The kicker? The neurophtalmologist who deciphered my field vision test in September determined that my “injuries” were to the extent that I would never be able to safely drive a car. Really? That’s funny because I drove myself to the appointment and drove myself back home. And it’s not like the tech came running out screaming after me in the name of public safety.
If I don’t pass my test on Tuesday then it’s bye-bye license, and so long freedom (at least in the short-term). But that’s okay. I’ve had many friends over the past few months gently suggest to me that maybe, just maybe, I shouldn’t be driving. To which I would say, “What!? My vision is fine! I see great…when it’s not too dark, too light, when there aren’t too many people, when no one comes out of my left side, if no one moves too quickly, if everything is not the same color…I mean really I see just fine.” Wait… There might be something to their argument…
So it’s time to admit it to myself, just like my grandparents did in our family conference. There are certain things that I can’t do and I need to figure out a plan (you know how I love me a good plan). Somehow I lived in Chile for almost three years total and never once had the desire to drive. Obviously part of that was because I regarded drivers in Santiago as projectile nutcases, but it was also because the country (and capital city) was better designed for the carless than, say, the suburbs where I am currently.
That’s what I need. That’s the solution: a more permanent change of scenery to a city with better public transportation. I’m taking suggestions. Feel free to vouch for your city here. International destinations are accepted