I haven’t been online much lately because I’ve been incredibly busy these past few weeks. If I wasn’t in London visiting my sister and the British Museum, I was taking driving lessons for three hours per week, and then my mother had her other shoulder replaced the day before Thanksgiving – which was successful, and she’s fine, just suffering with a burning desire to build her shibari-like arm sling’s funeral pyre. Cue lots of physio, wound checks and help doing certain activities that require two hands.
Then yesterday I passed my driving test!
I failed the first three practical tests. They always seemed to be scheduled after my mother had had a major operation – she’s had four in the last year – so fitting lessons and tests into my calendar has been difficult. (I actually took my theory test the day after the first operation.) I even had to cancel a test in January when my mother was hospitalized with kidney failure and encephalitis. After the last one in June, I was forced to change instructors, but Instructor #2 was so critical that I completely lost my confidence, resulting in my transformation into an incredibly dangerous driver.
Instead of giving up I switched to automatic driving. Instructor #3 was amazing – the best one I’d had, both in terms of patience and know-how. Now I know why his personal pass rate was so high compared to my local test centre, 50%-ish and 36% respectively.
As my mother’s disabled with inflammatory arthritis, she qualifies for the government’s Motability scheme where I as my mother’s carer can lease a car for three years at a reduced price for which tax, insurance, maintenance and breakdown cover are included, paid from her monthly Disability Living Allowance. We just have to pay for fuel. I’m hoping to take advantage of this scheme so that we’re no longer reliant on taxis for transport.
Getting my driving licence has been on my New Year’s resolutions list every year for the last decade, but I was always put off by the cost of insurance, making driving unaffordable. That changed last year when I heard about this scheme. As my mother’s agoraphobic, taking taxis has made leaving the house even more of a challenge and sometimes my mother will just refuse to go to her medical appointments. Since she struggles getting in and out of cars, she also worries the drivers will be impatient and rude. Having our own car will make things so much easier.
So desperate measures are no longer needed…