Tag Archives: driving evaluations

Driving: Take Two

Yesterday started out like any other typical “It is an important day today!” —

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Let’s just throw out the fact that it was a Monday.

Yep, the day in which I was to complete part two of my driving evaluation tests could not have started out with any better of the typical important day fashion: sleeping past my alarm and Mom waking me up fifteen minutes before we had to leave. Her ever-calm assurance in these situations met my panic mode as I stumbled out of bed and started going through my morning list of important things I had to do (let alone getting somewhat presentable for the day): feed Muffy, take medicines, etc. “And I need coffee.” Mom said she would make sure Muffy is fed and start some coffee.

Only a few minutes past when we had to leave–with fresh coffee and an apple for breakfast–I get in the car and feel like I can finally catch my breath and looked forward to getting the test over and done! It amazes me that something like this can consume your mind. I do not have a problem with my driving–and yet when doctors first ordered the evaluation back in August, all of a sudden the restriction caused me to doubt my driving–so much that I was having dreams of being in accidents. After the first evaluation September 19th (even though I passed), I still had restrictions until I took this second part. I was able to practice in empty parking lots, which boosted confidence, but it is not a main road.

Feeling confident, I sign in and a few minutes later head out the door with the PT to the Student Driver car. I have only driven one of these official cars once for Driver’s Ed class…that was ten years ago. My instructor (who was also my history/government teacher) must have trusted his students as for our actual driving license test, we could choose between the Student Driver car or one that we had that we were more comfortable driving. I chose the latter of the two options…nothing compares to our family’s 1987 Honda Accord. It is like an heirloom. It witnessed at least thirteen years of high school drama from the parking lot between me and my sisters. Pretty classy!

Anyway, I would have felt more comfortable in my own car (logically), but since it was not a possibility in this situation, I tried my best to adjust to the Student Driver car even though there were many things very different from my car. I found my biggest frustrations being their steering wheel having these huge box-like attachments right above the “9” and “3” area..which is usually where I place my hands. (Note that this test was caused by the concern of my hand function in the first place, so the scenario didn’t suit well.) I also had a problem with the side view mirrors not having the small blind-view mirrors. (Those have saved me from numerous episodes of changing lane woes and proved so when I was doing some reverse exercises with cones in the parking lot.)

We finally get to driving around in a very pretty residential area–being fully determined not to mess with my chances of the evaluation, I kept my focus. Once we determined that the motion for “keep going straight” involved two hands (better clarification), I meandered, slowly, through the neighborhood. When we finished and headed back, the PT asked me how I felt about the driving and I told her my honest opinion (seeing no problems). Never assume a professional PT sees your driving the same way. As we met to discuss the results with my Mom, the PT explains her two things that she sees as a concern (which I do not see in context of the driving experience how they fit in properly to what I thought was the main concern : the grip and strength of my hands!) As soon as I figure out that I still do not have the official okay to drive and that I must return one more time, I bluntly express my point of view in one short sentence. I set up my next drive for the 21st and cry in the elevator–expressing my frustrations to my Mom. There are some things I just do not understand and what they want to see in these evaluations from me is what I do not understand.

There was good in the morning though…I can drive normally in my car as long as one of my parents is with me. Talk about feeling like being back in high school, but I am very thankful for this outcome (even if it is still an inconvenience to our schedules.) By driving  the roads, I can now get back to feeling like a normal driver and hope I spend less time dreaming doubts and trusting that God can use this time to help me gain more confidence as yesterday was my first time “on the road” since August.

But yesterday I also felt my conscience tug at my heart over my attitude at the PT right before we left. I did not mean to bluntly express my opinion, but it came out. And I feel bad for it; I hope I did not ruin her day. I am sure it was just as awkward and maybe frustrating for her to navigate a deaf person around a neighborhood and through cones in a parking lot. In my childish actions in response to the PT’s professional opinion, I see how wrong I was and asked God to forgive me.  Taking my driving evaluation as a lesson: These are events that I  cannot go back and change, but instead, learn from it and set out focusing on doing better next time.

Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear.” ~Ephesians 4:29

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High Blood Pressure

I have never struggled with high blood pressure before. In fact, I don’t even understand how it reads. It is like a fraction, but every time is different…I don’t even know what a normal range is supposed to be. The arm gets squeezed: the pressure put on tighter, tighter, tighter…then in a few seconds, everything releases back to normal. The nurse says my number out loud. “Is that good?” It’s all I can ask, utterly clueless. Usually I get a nod of approval, but today I got a shocking remark from my Occupational Therapist, “Wow! Your numbers are high!” After a few more “just in case” squeezes, it was decided that I get rechecked after my test.

This was no ordinary test–it was a driver’s evaluation test. At my last doctors appointment on August 27th, there was concern by one team of doctors about the way I was walking. Due to the concern and just the wholeness of my body, they had me stop driving until I had this driver’s evaluation. I have had one before after my first DVT, but this time I agreed to the test rather than the last time where I felt forced. However, when I got home, my brain starts thinking. Like LeFou tells Gaston in Disney’s Beauty and the Beast, “A dangerous pastime…” to which Gaston replies, “I know.”

I get to thinking how unfair this predicament is…even though I understand the concern presented as there is a concern for other people’s safety in my driving…not just me, I deem it unfair and I let my thoughts turn angry. Yes, I admit it. I was angry. I felt singled out. And after today, I just don’t understand.

Last night I let part of the pressure go. My parents just listened as I cried, talking with my mouth full of food how about it all…the unfairness, the thoughts I still battle in self-esteem, and I even said, “My handwriting is like a five-year old.” (Of course I probably looked like one the way I was eating). I bring up Denver days: “They were my glory days.” Perhaps that has been part of this week’s inner battle–I am trying to relive my past when I felt free.

Maybe that is why I love driving. I am in control. Sweet sixteen and you are on top of the world as you feel ultimate freedom. How is it that driving can have this big of an effect on one’s life? Freedom: To be told otherwise is like being grounded. And that is how I left my driver’s evaluation, except I had done nothing wrong. In fact, I passed everything. There was just concern about the numbness in my hands, but I still do not see why it causes me to have to still not drive until I take an actual test in a car on October 7th.

But life is not about the fullness of understanding–it is about the fullness of faith. It is not about the comfort in freedom or the glory days of the past–it is about enduring in hardships and pressing on towards the goal. Life is not about control–but complete surrender. And I am only beginning to grasp what these mean in my own life..in what I deem unfair, what I cannot control.

And so I pray for sweet surrender, because only then will this body find peace.

When [Jesus] calmed people’s situations, it wasn’t simply an end to their painful circumstances; he didn’t just help them out of their problems. He made them whole again. These people who Jesus impacted experienced a fullness they had never begun to imagine possible. That’s what the peace of Jesus is about–filling up the taker and making them whole.

*Matthew Paul Turner. Beatitude: Relearning Jesus through truth,contradiction, and a folded dollar bill. Grand Rapids, MI: (Revell, 2006. pg. 34)

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