One Year Without Driving
It was a year ago today I made the decision to hang up the car keys because of my worsening Parkinson’s disease. It was something I had been thinking about for awhile. I finally pulled the trigger on the decision when I had several close calls in traffic caused by my putting my foot on the brake and accelerator at the same time when I wanted to slow or stop the car. I made the final decision when I woke up the morning of May 20, 2009 feeling shaky and wobbly and not really in good shape to drive. I stayed home from work, thought about it carefully, and decided that my driving days were over.
There was one more time I had to drive. Gail had a medical procedure done on June 25 and because of the anesthesia, I had to drive home. But other than that, today makes one year since the last time I considered myself a driver.
Do I miss it? There are aspects of it that I miss. I miss the ability to just jump in the car and make a run to the store to get something I need or Gail wants. Now, I’m totally dependent on her to get me from place to place. But I don’t feel any less “manly” because of the decision. And I’m glad I made it BEFORE something bad happened.
I continued taking the train to work until mid-June when my boss and I came up with this plan that allows me to work from home… for which I am very grateful.
It really is something to think about how much my life has changed in just a bit more than a decade. For the most part, between 1995 and 1999, I was an 18-wheel truck driver. I’ve it been to all 50 states (had to fly to Alaska and Hawaii as there are no bridges across the Pacific), and can tell you how to get from Point A to Point B in any part of the country without even looking at a map. It was nothing for me to jump in the car and drive coast-to-coast — I preferred it over flying.
Driving a truck was a good life. It paid better than anything I had done as a career (to that point), and I enjoyed seeing new sights and going new places. I hated the solitary nature of it. The best trucking job was a tanker gig I had where I was gone during the week, but home every weekend. That was great.
But those days are over. I’m having trouble walking, my reaction time is crappy, and I would be nothing less than a road hazard if I were still behind the wheel.
Which I haven’t been.
For a year now.