8.20.2011

Driving

20 pxImage via WikipediaOne of the things we're excited about with the move to Mississippi is that I might be able to drive again. I quit driving about 3 years ago when my health had taken a pretty significant downturn. I was having major problems with balance and depth perception.  I felt foggy and sort of disconnected a lot of the time. I was having pretty significant involuntary movements that would probably be really bad to have while driving. I also was having major issues with sensory overload - lots of motion and noise tended to be really, really disorienting.  So, because I didn't feel safe and I didn't think it was a good idea to risk injuring or killing someone, I quit driving.

Now, I think I can safely experiment with driving short distances with someone else in the car to see how I do.  I still have days where I'm foggy and slightly out of it. Sensory overload is still a problem - it's one of the major reasons I now HATE malls and grocery stores during busy times.  And my migraines can create or enhance depth perception problems. Pain and fatigue are also a distraction.  Medication is also a major concern.  I can't take anything that might be impairing if I'm going to drive.

But, my depth perception has improved.  My balance has improved.  I don't have nearly as significant an issue with involuntary movements.  Traffic patterns in Mississippi will be far less intense.  There isn't quite so much noise and motion with traffic, bikers, pedestrians, trains, buses, and skyscrapers all at the same time.  It's easier to pull off most roads.  I won't have to parallel park. 

So, the strategy I'm developing is to drive slowly (and stay in the slow lane while doing so) and try to give myself a little more reaction time.  Avoid driving in bad weather.  Try to drive only during quiet times.  Make sure I know where I'm going. Make sure I have pain meds that aren't impairing with me.  Keep a snack of some kind  and water with me as both low blood sugar and dehydration can be major contributors to migraines and CFS symptoms.  Make sure I always have my phone with me in case I get somewhere but don't feel well enough to drive back home.  Don't force myself to drive if I feel like I shouldn't. 

I have also discovered recently that lying flat on my back on a bench or something similar helps a lot with the sort of brain foggy-floatiness that I sometimes get if I've been sitting up or standing too long.  

All of the possibly impairing daily meds I have I take at night before bed which should help immensely with that particular issue.  Everything else is to be taken as needed and I'll just need to be sure I don't take it when I'm planning to drive.

I think we'll start out with very short drives and increase distance over time to see how I do. I'm really hoping I can drive again at least a little bit.  I would make things so much easier.  I could run errands during the day so Tom wouldn't have to try to fit them in to his workday or weekend.  I'd be able to get out a bit more and possibly have a wider range of potential employment. 
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2 comments:

Alwen said...

"...lying flat on my back on a bench or something similar helps a lot with the sort of brain foggy-floatiness that I sometimes get if I've been sitting up or standing too long."

That's interesting - I wonder what your blood pressure is doing when you change positions?

I used to get the headrush/blackout feeling if I stood up too fast after sitting for a while.

Shoveling Ferret said...

I had issues with postural hypotension as a kid and get the same woozy feeling standing up too fast every once in a while.

There's been some suggestion that CFS affects blood flow to the brain making us more susceptible to postural hypotension or similar things.
I think the lying down might help me get a bit more blood flowing to the brain or relieve some of the strain.