Sitting in front of my doctor a few days ago, I realized that I had to make a choice and that I cannot have it all. I was either to live with incredible pain and drive the car, or take sufficient pain medication and not drive. It was amazing how emotional this was for me and how much I seemed to depend on my four wheels and the sense of freedom they give me. But then reason set in, Steve and I coordinated our calendars, and to my tremendous surprise not being able to drive didn’t pose serious problems. I could go wherever I wanted and needed! This said, it all centered around Steve’s flexibility, and he was as caring as anyone could be. I found a willing and loving chauffeur!
As you have realized by now, I chose the benefit of the pain medication, and after so many days of severe pain, I felt like a human being again and was able to appreciate my life.
It was amusing in a way because the fact jumped out at me how German I have remained after all these years. Germans didn’t much believe in pain killers in my time. Was it considered a sign of weakness? I don’t know, but I hope things are different these days. As a good German, I took my pain meds but strictly followed the amount indicated on the bottle, and with no consideration of the amount of pain I experienced. The doctor told me during our visit, to take the least pain medication I needed to be pain-free and have an acceptable quality of life. Lesson learned! I feel so much better, and the price of not driving a car is nothing compared to being miserable. I also decided to check if I have other old beliefs stuck somewhere in my memory bank, which could directly or indirectly still influence my life.
When choosing to drive vs. not to drive, I realized that being independent was the kicker. I remembered how my mother-in-law fought to keep driving her car. There was no logic left in her mind about whether she could or should drive; she only wanted to keep her car and her independence. I wondered then how I would react, and I have my answer. I will only drive when I can safely do so. It is not just about me but also all the other people on the road. Isn’t that true for all us seniors? We have reached a time in our lives when we have to make compromises. They are not always easy and can often cause anxiety and fear. But as long as our decisions are based on full knowledge of the circumstances and possible consequences, we can feel comfortable and in peace. And there are always solutions, as long we keep an open mind.
I know that my driving restriction is only temporary and that I will be able to drive again safely, but it allowed me to look within and see that I will be able to make necessary life-changing decisions without regrets or hang-ups when they become necessary. Isn’t it amazing how much we can learn about ourselves? I am grateful for having had this opportunity.