Driving Convo 2 Did Not Go So Well

LilMagill

Driving Convo 2 Did Not Go So Well

LilMagill
auto-166753_640This morning:

HER - I'll be so glad when I can get back to driving.

ME - You know, we talked about retiring from driving.

HER - I'm NOT retiring from driving when I can drive safely. There are things I have to do, and I don't want to have to wait until you can take me. That's not fair to you and it's not fair to me.

ME - I understand how you feel. I'm sure I would feel the same way. I hate it that anyone has to stop driving!

HER - When my leg is strong enough to use the gas and the brake, I'll be able to drive again.

ME - It's not your leg that worries me but your memory problems.

HER - My memory is  not that bad! I forget some things, but I remember most things. And when I'm driving I pay attention and I don't get lost. I don't take chances.

ME - I know. You would never mean to be careless or take chances.

Long pause in conversation with me thinking (Oh, crap crap crap. . .)

ME - Do you remember when your mother stopped driving? And how that happened?

HER - My mother had serious memory problems. She didn't always know where she was. I think it was my brother who had to take away her license or the keys, I'm not sure how he did it.

ME - I just remember some conversation about how you and your brothers were worried about her, but she didn't want to stop driving.

Pause . . . I'm going to try a different tack. . .

ME - This is something I worry about a lot - not just about your driving, but about having to do something that will hurt our relationship. Even though I'm 50 years old, I'm still your child and still want you to be happy with me.

HER -When my leg gets strong enough that I feel safe, I'll try driving again.

I give up for today. I'm thinking I could repeat what my cousins said about her driving, but I'm afraid it would make her feel bad or embarrassed that they were so aware of the problem she is denying.

I scheduled a consultation with her/my doctor for Monday so I can talk about 1) getting a neurological evaluation and 2) help with the driving issue.

I worry all the time.

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Kimberly

My grandfather had macular degeneration and was unable to drive. He had such a hard time accepting that, he began driving his lawn mower to visit with his neighbors. Since he lived out in the country that wasn't quite so bad as him driving the lawn mower on the city street, but still probably not the safest thing. He was able to give up the car keys, but not that lawn mower. It is just going to take some of the smallest baby steps, and some of them feeling like they are going backwards; but even if it does make a fabulous day turn not so great, taking every chance for another baby step will help it from feeling so much like quicksand.

LilMagill

Thanks, Denise. I know what you say is true and good advice! It's easy with my son - it has never hurt me (much) for him not to be happy with me when I'm making a decision that's in his best interest. I know that that's my responsibility. But my mom is not my child, and we're still trying to find the balance as the responsibility shifts. And even though I know and agree that it's much more important for her to be safe than happy with me, it is SO hard for me to hurt her or make her angry. It's just devastating. I don't know why. Tonight at dinner, she said again, \"Soon, I'm going to try driving to the store.\" And I just said, \"Well, let me go with you when you do.\" She's not at a point that I can use tricks that work with the really forgetful. She forgets a lot but she also remembers a lot! And before the accident, she had had no problems with driving that we were aware of, so her perception of herself as a good driver is probably still accurate - for now. It's the idea of quitting while we're ahead - but I don't know how far ahead we are. I don't know if she has two or three more years as she is now, pretty much independent, or if her cognition will change sooner . . . I guess a problem I'm having right now is that I want to persuade her and for her to make the decision to stop driving herself. I'm not confident that I have the authority to say: you're no longer a good driver so you can't drive anymore.\r\n\r\n\"Arrive everywhere loved\" is beautiful - it is making me cry.\r\n\r\nThanks as always for the encouragement and support.

Denise

Hi LM--These conversations must be so stressful for you. I also think it's difficult when you never know when they will happen. You're enjoying your morning and then bam! you're not.\r\n\r\nI think the conversation went really well. Your mom didn't get in the car and drive. And, most important, you didn't back down and say, \"Okay, we'll see what we can do about the driving.\"\r\n\r\nYou are doing very, very well. Your responses to your mom this morning and the other day are just great. You're sharing the truth with her (which is awesome!) and being gentle and loving.\r\n\r\nIf I may add one thought: It's okay if your mom gets upset or unhappy with you. I think this is the hardest challenge to master--being okay when someone else is upset with us when are keeping their best interest at heart. In your situation, your mom may become upset with you but you've accomplished the bigger goal--she is safe. If you can switch your perspective from \"is she upset with me?\" to \"is she safe?\" then it may help. I appreciate this is a huge shift that can be difficult to make. \r\n\r\nOne other thought: \"Arrive everywhere loved.\" A family caregiver to his wife shared this perspective that his wife keeps with me a few years ago. It's been soooo helpful to me. Arrive into your day, into your relationship with your mom, into your conversations with your mom already loved. It may take a bit of the pressure off you to know that your mom simply loves you. These difficult conversations aren't about keeping your mom's love but about keeping your mom safe. How could she not love you? You are awesome.\r\n\r\nYou really are doing great. :)