Driving Miss Crazy

There are many things that this stroke has taken away from me. My patience ranks in the top 10. One of the things that I miss the most is driving. We always tend to take for granted things we do on a regular basis until we cannot do it anymore. In the rehab hospital, in the thick of the post stroke fog, I was told that my license has been suspended (DMV law). It didn’t really hit me at that time. I made a joke about it: “I’m in rehab, on a bunch of drugs and  I got my license suspended, I guess Lindsay Lohan and I now have something in common!”

After my discharge, the reality of losing my license finally dawned on me. I had numerous appointments, places to go etc. etc.  I had to depend on Armando for rides.I feel terrible because I could not even drive the boys to school. I cannot even go the salon whenever I need to get a pedicure or to get my eyebrows done. I cannot go the gym or anywhere without adult supervision. It’s been a year and 8 months since I’d last driven a car. The loss of independence is frustrating. I have been lucky that Armando now works from home and is able to drive me around. But he is not always available. I have really good friends who have given me rides to appointments, shopping and of courses races. My oldest son has since gotten his driver’s license, but he has a job with odd hours. It’s summer time and in the past years, I as I have the same time off as the boys, I would gather them up, pack some sandwiches and go to Monterey or Santa Cruz. Or to San Francisco  to watch our Giants or to just walk around and hang out.  Not being able to do those things anymore breaks my heart. Our car time is our talk time. I learn so much about my boys during those drives.

To get my license back, I would need to get my doctor’s clearance and take a permit test (yikes!) and a behind the wheel test (double yikes)!! But before I even get to that, I have to get clearance from my doctor. She then completes a 5 page document for the DMV.As part of my evaluation, I went to see an occupational therapist. I had to see a new person, since my regular therapist was not available. The OT saw me for 45 minutes, determined I still have minimal use of my left arm and coz of that, I would need a special steering wheel handle a.k.a a suicide knob (ikr?), I have some peripheral vision issues which means I need a special type of rearview mirror. One that extends the entire length of the windshield.  She also gave me a short cognitive test. After 45 minutes, she determined me fit to drive.

Now, you might be asking why I have not rushed over to the DMV to get a new drivers license. Frankly, I am scared. I worry that I still have problems with reaction time, my vision changes from day to day, hour to hour. My attention span is short and finicky. having been a passenger for the past two years, I have garnered a different perspective on other drivers. Drivers are very distracted, angry and in a hurry. The roads are congested and people are frustrated. As sad as it is to admit, I do not feel ready to drive. I feel that I would be putting my family and others at risk if I am out there driving. Maybe I am overly cautious, but I’d rather be safe than sorry.

For now, I will be patient. I throw myself to the mercy of my friends and family hoping that they will continue to have the patience to have me as a passenger. I am willing to learn how to use public transportation, but my family thinks I still need adult supervision at all times.

Much love,

Momma Berna

 

This is the Story….(how my life changed got turned upside down)

I once had a blog where I intended to talk about running, races, and training for runs and races. Life got busy and the blog fell by the wayside. Then life threw my family and I for a loop.

It was Tuesday, October 28, 2014. Game 6 of the Giants vs. Royals World Series. I had been asleep all day, having had a shot of morphine at the emergency room the night before. I had the worse headache of my life Monday night, I was screaming in pain so my husband, Armando drove me to the emergency room. They did not determine anything to be wrong, do they gave me a dose of morphine (perhaps to shut me up as I was screaming!!!) and sent me home. The next day, I called in sick for work and slept. When I woke up at around 4:00 P.M. feeling guilty because I had slept all day, I went downstairs with faint ache still lingering in my head which I attributed to the meds wearing off, I made dinner.

I guess this time, my tutu did not bring me any luck at all.

After dinner, wearing my orange tutu I cheered my Giants on. A win would cinch another World Series title.   My headache was getting progressively worse, it did not help that the Royals tied the series. I remember everything being hazy that night. I went upstairs to get ready for bed my head pounding now, I was also very nauseous. I said goodnight and I love you to Scotty, he asked me too lay down next to him for a bit. He looked very sad when I told him I can’t I just wanted to lie down because my head was really hurting. I threw up in the bathroom and staggered out. Vincent kept asking me what was wrong, I was telling him I my head was hurting really bad, he kept saying “I can’t understand what you’re saying”. I don’t how Vincent knew, but he said “I think you’re having a stroke”. He called 911.  I tried opening my eyes and saw paramedics, I kept hearing “stroke”. My recall of that night is definitely vague. I thought I was saying I have to say bye to Scotty, but when I asked my family about that they told me I never said it. This was the beginning of what would be the longest race I will ever tackle.  Please join me on this adventure.  I would love and appreciate your support.