Category Archives: Driving

Memory Fail(s)

Funny story (to me, anyway): This morning started out just like the previous few; ease out of bed, pack lunches for the kids, wish them well as they leave with Dad to go to zoo camp… Then I watered the flowers, made some coffee, and sat down on the couch to relax and do some reading. Forty-five minutes later I hear a honk, and the dog started barking. Perplexed, I got up to see what was going on. There was a white Spec-Tran van in my driveway. To pick me up. For the hair appointment I made just two days ago.

Oh, I was frantic. They don’t have to honk, and they certainly don’t have to wait for you to get dressed because you completely forgot they were coming. So I opened the front door, waved to let the driver know I was aware and coming, and rushed back to the bedroom to put on a bra (because I was still in my pajamas). The whole time – a matter of seconds that felt like eternity – I was praying the driver would not leave me. I hurried to put Piper in her crate, slipped on some shoes, grabbed my wallet and purse with a last minute check for my keys, and headed out the door. The sense of relief as I rode in that van was extremely gratifying.

Then as we were nearing our destination, the driver asks me if the address is 4020 (they often do this, which frustrates the crap out of me because they have GPS and I’m deaf, and it’s just hard and usually extremely unnecessary) and I say yes, that I believe it was next to a Quality Dairy, but I wasn’t sure because I’ve only been there once before. But then he pulls in to the salon’s parking lot and it’s there, right where it always has been, and the nearest Quality Dairy is at least 3 blocks away. Another memory fail. But here’s my note to Spec-Tran: don’t take navigation advice from the unlicensed deaf/blind girl. Her memory is like a sieve.

Minor mishaps, really. I was there with plenty of time to spare. I got a real haircut, and afterwards was able to chat with the stylist about cochlear implants. She had seen a video on Facebook showing several people, of all ages, reacting as their implants were activated. She was fascinated by the miracle of it, even though she knows she can’t come close to knowing what it’s like. She showed me the video, smiling the whole time, and her eyes just sparkled as she watched; she seemed to really “get it”. So it was just a good moment, to share in the awe of the CI miracle with a hearing stranger. It really is a miracle.

And then I called Spec-Tran (yes! with my cell phone!) to get picked up (we were done much earlier than I expected). When I got home I changed out of my pajamas (lol), let Piper out of her crate, and poured that cup of coffee that had been waiting for me. It’s good to be alive.

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A glimpse at regaining independence

I received approval today to use the paratransit service, and I am beyond excited. The service provides people like myself with rides to pretty much anywhere in the city. All I have to do is schedule the pickup within 24 hours, pay the fare, and off I go! I can apparently schedule online, which I tried already for two of my upcoming appointments, and I’ll probably call tomorrow to confirm that I did it right.

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No more pulling my husband out of work for doctor’s appointments, dragging him and the kids out at dinner time for my support group meetings, and who knows what else? I can go on shopping trips, get groceries on my own (up to 8 plastic bags), even take the kids to the library or the museum on days off! Just dreaming of the possibilities is more excitement than I have had in a long time.

Be thankful for the independence you have, because it can be taken in a heartbeat. My optic nerves were damaged as they are in a matter of weeks. I used to enjoy taking trips, sometimes just driving for the fun of it. The second to last time I remember driving (and enjoying it) was when I went to the abbey for a weekend getaway with my sister in august 2013. Even then I should not have been driving. A week later I drove my kids to their first day of school, with one eye closed to reduce the cloud in my left eye’s  field of vision, scared out of my mind and feeling reckless and over the top stupid for putting my children’s lives at risk. And that was my last time driving.

So there goes my Nascar dream. Is there a competitive arena for bumper?

Okay I got off track, didn’t I? Here’s the lesson: be thankful for your independence, whatever form of it you have. It is a gift.

Weekly update of sorts

I am in some super slow recovery type mode, so writing (book, blog, Facebook, journal) is not really happening. And that irritates me, but then I get irritated that I am so irritated. Vicious cycle. So today I am just going to bore you with this…

I had a rough walk to the bus stop this morning. I think the dog has gotten too big for me, and with her energy and drive, I can’t hold her back. She throws me off balance constantly. And with my balance issues, that’s a recipe for disaster. So I think we’re done with that program until she gets a little older and can be trained to behave better while walking. That is a thing with dog training, isn’t it?

So after the rough walk I put the pup back in her crate and went back to bed. The sleep probably helped, but I can’t tell. I’m still struggling with fatigue. However, I have managed to do the dishes and make dinner. Chili in the crockpot, and it smells delicious so far. Ground venison, onion, diced tomatoes, black beans, and chili powder. A simple recipe I don’t remember ever trying before, so I hope it turns out ok. We will have cheddar cheese, sour cream, and Fritos to top it off, so that can help with flavor. I thought about adding the can of spicy chili beans that has been in our cupboard forever, but the kids really don’t like spicy, and neither do I. We’ll see how the chili tastes in a couple hours, and I may still decide to add some.

I mailed an application today for the local public transportation service for disabled people. They drive the van right to your door and take you where you need to go. I’m excited about it. As my husband put it, it will give me a level of freedom back. I wouldn’t need to rely on him to take me grocery shopping, or to my umpteen doctor visits. It’s hard to describe how helpless it makes me feel, not being able to drive. I don’t miss the driving so much as I miss being able to go where I want to go. I am an introvert, so one of my favorite things is to go do things alone. Sit at the coffee shop and read or crochet, walk around a bookstore or mall just to browse the merchandise. But if you always need a driver, someone is always waiting for you, and that’s pressure I don’t handle so well. I HATE feeling rushed.

But this Spec-Tran, you plan each ride one-way, so no one is waiting. You tell them when you need a ride back, and they’ll send another driver. At least that’s my understanding. We’ll see how it actually works, but regardless there is no cause for guilt because this is their job, and they aren’t just doing it out of the kindness of their heart. Why is it that we feel guilt when someone does something for us out of the “kindness of their heart”? I mean, by definition they are doing it because they want to, not because they feel obligated. I know it’s not just me. But that still doesn’t make it rational or right.

Oh well. I declare that today is not a day for solving things. It’s a day for reflecting briefly and moving on! Coffee is waiting!

Range Date

Grandpa agreed to come and watch the kids (and the puppy) after church so Mike and I could go on a date. Where do we go for fun? The shooting range! Mike shoots competitively (and does quite well for someone who doesn’t get a lot of time to practice), so when he gives me a fist bump after I’ve shot a few rounds, I feel pretty proud of myself. See for yourself in the picture below, that hole right in the middle, dead center? That was my first shot. I thought at the time I should have stopped right there, but I’m glad I didn’t.

I was shooting my Sig Sauer P238 (with new paisley decorated grips… I really ought to have a picture), my Glock .380, and Mike’s Glock .45. We had a blast, and it is such a great way for both of us to relieve stress. We were wrapping things up when Mike started chatting with an acquaintance from a couple lanes over. I think Mike must have shared how much I was enjoying shooting the .45 (cuz I was, you know?), so the man offered to let me shoot his gun: a Desert Eagle .44 magnum. This gun was a monster. Not too heavy to hold, but it was almost too big for my finger to reach the trigger. I had a hard time managing the recoil, so I was pretty surprised when I saw I hit the bullseye. I told the guy after I shot three rounds – with his super expensive and impressive gun – that I didn’t do so bad for having low vision! Maybe I should have mentioned that first? Oh well, I shot well and he seemed mostly humored that I was having so much fun with it. (He even accepted my friend request on Facebook!)

We didn’t get a picture of the target I shot with the magnum, but the one below is from the rounds I shot with the Sig P238.  I think. Maybe it was the Glock. Anyway, not too shabby for someone who only gets to the range a handful of times throughout the year. I can’t drive a car, but I can shoot a gun! 🙂

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Here comes the bus

I will start off this post by assuring everyone that #1 – my husband found my driver’s license, and it is still valid, so I was within my rights, and #2 – no one was harmed during the events of this story.

So. I walked the kids to the bus stop the last two days, and it has gone very smoothly. I was sharing this fact with my husband and I guess in the matter of sharing, I told him I would like to continue the daily procedure. But my crappy memory told me this morning that he had said, or the kids had said, that he would continue to drive them. So at 7:50 this morning I was freaking (I do that, it’s not pretty) because he was still in the shower and oh my gosh, they need to be at the stop in TWO minutes! No way, no how is he going to be out and dressed in time to drive them, and only Superman could get us there that fast on foot (or cape?).

What was a frantic Momma to do? Thinking fast, I grabbed my coat, keys, and purse, and the kids and I got in the car. And I drove the three blocks to the bus stop. We pulled up just as the bus rounded the corner from the other direction, making it JUST. IN. TIME.

I didn’t run over anyone, I didn’t hit any cars, I didn’t even run into any curbs. No harm, no foul. Daytona is not in my future, but maybe bumper cars??