Yesterday I drove my car. That’s not huge news, but I haven’t driven since before the accident last October. I wasn’t driving then, and hadn’t driven more than once or twice in the preceding months, but that seems a pivotal point.
I have never really felt comfortable driving with my hands, but I’ve always enjoyed driving and the freedom it brings. Getting from A to Z is so much easier by car. But I don’t drive alone since my illness. I can’t lift my wheelchair out of the boot, and if anything happened where I became unable to continue driving I’d be stuck.
It was a sudden decision to drive yesterday. I wanted to go to visit my brother who lives about two miles away. A quick and easy drive. And I did it.
This made me think even more about our car dilemma. We get a car on Motability. This means that in return for the disability benefit I get for being unable to walk can be used in exchange for the three year lease of a new car with insurance and breakdown recovery included. We are due a new car this year.
I know I don’t always talk about everyone but we are actually a family of seven living together. Sometimes, we want to go out with more than five of us in the car. This means either a taxi to help or Graham has to make two journeys. It would be nice to go out more as an extended family without this issue so we have made the decision to get a bigger car, one with seven seats.
This decision comes with drawbacks. Seven seat cars require a deposit and with limited funds it means we are limited to which we can choose. (I’m talking thousands of pounds here.) There are actually only two cars we can afford and we have been weighing up the pros and cons. The one we finally decided on we have discovered that we cannot have it as an automatic car. The implications of this means that we cannot have hand controls fitted and I won’t be able to drive it.
The other car is still an option and we will take a look at it before making a final decision. The main issue is that it won’t have enough room for my wheelchair if we all use the car. So, we can all go out together but I won’t be able to get very far when we get to wherever we are going. We may find that the wheelchair can be fitted in somehow, or maybe my manual chair will fit. That’s why we are going to view it.
So, here is my dilemma. We get a car that is most useful for us as a family but I won’t be able to drive it. It’s only for three years, and so many things can happen in that time. So maybe we won’t need seven seats by then and I can go back to driving. Do, I sacrifice driving for three years?
The answer is there really. Why should we not get the type of car we really need, just because I will miss driving. I can’t even go anywhere alone, I need another driver with me.
Still, it’s another thing that I must give up because of this stupid rare condition.