Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Driving Me Crazy

I had always heard that driving  was one of the hardest things for Alzheimer's patients to realize that they need to give up. And it is a battle for us. After all, Bob drove us everywhere. All the hundreds of  road trips taking pictures, fishing, hiking etc. And then of course he drove everyday for work. All over this city we live in. About a year ago after a terrifying trip to the feed store I told him NO MORE. You drive like you are the only person on the road. He pulled out in front of people coming at us as 50 MPH, he switched lanes without so much as a glance in his mirrors and he felt zero need to stop at a light or a stop sign. I was almost sure we were going to die about 20 different times in a 10 mile trip. Of course he was oblivious to the horns honking and the screeching of tires and brakes. And of course he was oblivious to me screaming directions from the passenger seat as I buried my finger nails in the dashboard.  He is deaf in one ear and has lost about 80% of his hearing in the other. And yes-- he has hearing aids.  If you know anything about those--well we just wont go there. Biggest waste of money in my opinion.
After that terrifying trip I would only let him drive in very short little trips here by the house. At that time he was still going alone here and there to run an occasional errand.  About 11 months ago that came to an abrupt end too. He needed gas for the lawnmower. The gas station is two blocks from our house. He told me he was going to get gas in the can. Brian had just pulled up on his way home from work.
We were in visiting when the phone rang. It was Will at the gas station. Apparently Bob had gotten gas in the can but hadnt gone in to pay for it.. 5 minutes later still no Bob at home so I called him on his cell phone. He finally answered and I told him.. Hey-- The guys at the gas station said you forgot to pay...(silence).. I said "are you there?" In a very shakey voice he said.. yes.. I need help.. I dont know where I am.. I said "are you parked?" He said "yes".. I said "can you see a sign"-- he said "yes" and he read me a street sign.  He was about 3 blocks past our house but he had no idea where he was. I said- STAY there.. we will be right there. We jumped in the jeep and headed to that street and sure enough-- there he was-- he still had the phone to his ear like I was still on there.... We got him out of his truck..and into the jeep- Brian took his truck  back to the house while Bob and I went back to the gas station and paid Will for the gas.
That little trip scared him. He hasnt drove far since. Just here at the house. He takes his truck around to the alley to dump garbage in the trash or cut limbs off the tree but  never out on the roads anymore. Does he want to? Yes- Do I have to explain why he doesnt get to about 10 times a day? Yes ! Sometimes I think he must think I am the biggest Bitch on the face of the earth. Sometimes I wonder if he realizes I am just trying to keep him safe. ...Sigh....

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