Tag Archives: gracefulness

Driving: Take Two

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

tumblr_lm5yg6o9vh1qjt7foo1_500 www.tumblr.com

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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Glass slippers

Cinderella has always been my favorite Disney Princess. Imagine a little Mel playing in her room (this is pre 3rd grade age) trying to tie my hair in the back like Cinderella; or wear an apron like Cinderella; or be graceful in my chores like Cinderella (laundry does NOT balance on the head). We had mice for a while. Yes…pet mice. I say “pet” because we named them…and although I never tried to talk to them or put clothes on them, we did play with them in our Barbie house. We tucked Porter (the male mouse) into bed in the Barbie house using a kleenex then got to playing and forgot about him. Thankfully, Porter had a little sputter (he was getting sick 😦 ) but that is the only way we ended up finding him.

Now a mature adult, I don’t play with mice and Barbie houses or try to balance laundry on my head; I don’t even use an apron in the kitchen. But after a day like yesterday, I asked myself: How did Cinderella keep her grace while running down the stairs and losing her shoe at the same time? Let alone they were glass slippers. I came up with the obvious conclusion: It is not humanly possible. 😀

cinderella-bluray-20  http://www.dvdizzy.com/images/c/cinderella-bluray-20.jpg

If you see me walk, one would note a few specifics: my right ankle curves dramatically inward when I step forward with my right foot; I wobble and sway in every direction; and when I turn corners, I usually end up meeting the wall first. Things as of late have been a bit more difficult, because without my left ear/hearing aid–my “regaining composure” sense is off. Meaning, when I walk my weak side is the right. My left leg and ankle take the weight of what the right is not doing. Most often this does not cause anything but if I go for long walks or exercise, I feel that weight immensely burden my left leg. But right now, that is not the case-more the balance is the problem. My left hearing aid is my strongest of the two. Going with no hearing aid in the left ear has caused more imbalance, especially when turning corners or walking in narrow hallways. But I still have seemed to pull off walking without falling completely. Which is huge!

I mention the curve in my right foot for a specific reason. I have observed that over the past year this problem is increasing…yet might have several factors involved. My shoe is the slip-on shoe. Doesn’t matter what color or style, but as long as it is flat and can go on my foot without using strings or velcro to stay–then I consider them “slip-ons.” Slip-ons for me are like finding a solid pair of jeans: you wear them until they are no longer “wearable.” That might be the first factor. Then you add the curving of the right foot–it starts over time to smash the back left section of my shoe, hence, losing my grip of the foot in the shoe when I take a step. That is also a factor. And just for the record, yesterday was a bit chilly…I probably should not have been wearing slip-ons but it completed my “going out to the coffee shop” outfit. So that is my final factor: my shoes must go with my outfit. LOL.

I was doing just fine in the early part of my errands before I went to the coffee shop. It was not until I was finding a parking solution that my right glass slipper became a problem. You got to admit–it seems that only on days like the one I will tell, is when the small town atmosphere seems awkward. Why? Because someone is bound to recognize you. At least in the city, I brush off these moments with the attitude, “Never going to see anyone here ever again anyway.”  Not so with small towns. Oh well, I suppose.

I found a spot on the street where there was a “No parking” in front of me and only one car behind me. Perfect! I hate parallel parking. So, I pull in and use the extra space in front of me to get up far so I can reverse and turn my wheels in closer to the curb. Getting out of the car, I realized that the hill is slanted so far to the right, I can hardly keep my door open and get out at the same time. There were no cars coming so I literally kick the door open and hold it with my left foot, grab my bag and get out of the car. As I make my way towards the coffee shop, I get to the barber’s and glance back. My parking was hardly on the line of the white box marks. I should have left it, but my OCD kicked in and I decide to go back and “recurve” my car in so I am closer to the curb.

Getting out this time, I had to be more quick as cars and semi trucks came flying down the hill. I get my left foot out, and my right. My bag is on the front seat just within reach and I was about to make a grab-and-go for it when my right foot landed on the ground. COLD ground! I look down to see that my foot came out but not my shoe. By this time, I can’t open the car door until the light changed and so there I stood. My right arm holding the door open (but it looks like my arm is being smashed); my right shoeless foot trying to hide behind my left leg and loads of cars are stuck at a red light–eyes watching me just stand there. A green light could not have come any slower!

I finally get myself together and walk past the barber shop again to notice several people looking at me from the window. “Just try not to trip.” I tell myself. Inside, I feel better. I am excited to get to a nice quiet corner, sip my soy chai and read. I enter the room that has a fireplace. My initial reaction is to just sit at the first table I see. Then I notice one is open by the fireplace. Genius! I make my way through the narrow passage of chairs to the empty table. Right as I pass a table where a girl is studying on her computer, I start to feel myself go unbalanced. Thankfully the chair with her backpack caught my almost fall and spill my chai everywhere disaster, but feeling even more embarrassed, I just say: “I am so sorry. I am so unbalanced today.”

I get to the table and sit. What a very ungraceful past twenty minutes! It was not until the car ride back home that I started finding humor in the story. I can’t imagine how I looked and I found that comical. Aristotle said, “The secret to humor is surprise.” I guess that gives my glass slipper moments of the day some grace; either that or I am still learning to give myself grace too, because ultimately, God reminds me of this grace through others–even strangers who are about to get soy chai spilled on their computer and still smile and say, “That’s ok.” That is grace.

I think even the Duke experienced his own form of grace. The first glass slipper is broken (thanks to the step-mother’s cane) and he already let Cinderella escape the castle the first time. Worried what the king would do, Cinderella offers a little grace: the other glass slipper.

Cinderella4 http://disney.wikia.com/wiki/The_Grand_Duke

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Filed under Adjusting to NF2, Books and Movies, Funny Stories, Random