When You're No Longer in the Driver's Seat Because of Illness
I have excruciating pain due to erythromelalgia, and I feel like I complain a lot too.
Maybe those are partially the outcomes of my depression and anxiety.The burning, stinging,and tingling of my rare disease drives me to the point of exasperation. Sometimes I think I have become a stereotypical character in the “Grumpy Old Men” movies, but I never have a pain-free minute.
Along with my moaning and groaning, I have become unable to perform certain activities that I have always considered “simple” until recently. Driving is one of those things. Between the chronic pain in my legs and feet, the brain fog due to my medicines, and my decreased reaction time, I rarely get behind the wheel.
My family and friends have been particularly gracious and helpful. They assure me my complaints do not upset them, and they offer to take me to wherever I need to go. I do not get out often, but when I do, I am blessed to have people who are willing to chauffer me.
I recently qualified for disability insurance, but my wife and daughter drove me to and from my school when I was working as a teacher.
My daughters give me a ride to church when I am up to physically going.
Two friends took me to the emergency room and sat with me when my wife was out of town on business.
My wife drives me to countless doctor appointments, and she drove me to the
dentist office this morning.
It is emotionally difficult to give up driving. In fact, it feels like a defeat. However, I am coming to terms with my limitations.
Several years ago, I had to approach my elderly grandfather to tell him it was unsafe for him to drive. He was not thrilled with giving me his keys, but he handed them over anyway with grace. It was almost like he felt relieved that someone cared enough to tell him what he needed to hear. My grandfather taught me a valuable lesson.
I have not yet fully embraced the reality of my disability Nevertheless, admitting I need help to go from one place to another is not a sign of weakness. Instead, it is honoring my body, mind, and emotions. Welcoming the assistance of others allows them to show me their love, and it allows me to know and feel their love.