Do you still drive? Do you question yourself about it?

Discussion in 'Fibromyalgia Main Forum' started by beeleaf, Oct 20, 2006.

  1. beeleaf

    beeleaf New Member

    I apologize for this being so long, but I just gotta get it out.

    I pretty much quit driving a few years ago, except for going to the post office once in awhile (less than a mile away) and a friend's house (a few miles of country backroads). This was after having some odd stuff happen while behind the wheel. My driving foot falls asleep pretty easily, but the thing that really did it was having my quad muscle completely stop working all of a sudden. Luckily, I was stopped at a light at the time, and was able to manuever the left leg into driving position.

    Getting out and walking around seemed to help and I got home ok. But ever since then I've been reluctant to get behind the wheel. It could have been a freak thing that will never happen again. But it has felt irresponsible to take that chance. Since my partner is perfectly willing to take me anywhere I need to go, not driving is no big deal, except for occasionally feeling like a weinie.

    However, I have recently allowed myself the dubious luxury of comparing me to a friend. The friend has MS, with neuropathy that causes her to fall down frequently. But this has not stopped her from driving. A lot. I mean a LOT. She goes anywhere she wants. And she has offered to go places FOR ME.

    So I'm back to feeling rather silly, second guessing myself, etc. Meanwhile, since my last driving experience, I've added to my list a separated shoulder that does not want to heal, tendonitis in both shoulders & one hand, and random muscle lockups/cramps/charlie horses. I don't even know if I CAN drive, since my truck is a 5 speed without power steering. I had trouble steering before the new stuff, so...

    I suppose I'm second guessing myself because it was a decision I made on my own. It is heavily supported by people who are closest to me & know how things really are. But I have never even discussed it with any of my doctors. I guess I fear they will laugh and call me a big baby or something. (My primary is an absolute expert at shrinking his patients to manageable size.)

    So, anybody have any words of wisdom?

    One thing that occurs to me from reading what I just wrote is that sometimes it feels totally wimpy to take care of myself. The "cool" people don't have to yield. Or so it seems.

  2. turquoise

    turquoise Member

    Words of Wisdom you asked: NEVER deny your own "gut reaction" about whether you should be doing something or not. Also, (and I still don't have this one down completely after 30 years), DON'T compare yourself or your situation to other people.

    I drive only to those places and at those times when in my judgement it is safe for me to do so. Since I am single, this is a total bummer!!

    Am sure there are lots of people who think that is is just driving phobia or something, and that if I just drove enough I would get over it. I think all of those people, especially the professionals who SHOULD know better, but sell the tapes. etc. on phobias that are supposed to "cure" you of this delusion and allow you to get back on the highway should have to meet some of us at rush hour on the Long Island Expressway or something!
  3. lenasvn

    lenasvn New Member

    I would get a manageable small vehicle, automatic. This will probably make your driving experience pleasant again. It doesn't have to be new either, I have a 93 Nissan Sentra, older, but those Japanese things run forever and is a pleasure to drive (especially gas mileage wise!).
  4. sfrazier

    sfrazier New Member

    I have stopped driving except in town and then only in day light. I have never had anything cramp up on me like that. My problem is that I can't always keep the car in one lane. I tend to weave without even trying. At night I seem to get lost or forget which lane I'm suppose to be in. I don't even relize it till I see car head lights in the same lane coming toward me. I have told me doctor all of this and he didn't think that it was silly of me. We all have to know our limitations and if anyone thinks your wimpy that is their problem. Better to be wimpy then to be dead cause you drove when you knew you couldn't.....SueF
  5. pw7575

    pw7575 New Member

    You know what you can and can not handle. If you are not comfortable driving than don't drive. Don't feel bad about it. You shouldn't compare yourself to others because your situation is not the same. Do what you are comfortable doing. You don't need to add anymore stress to your life by questioning what you can and can not do.

    I have found myself hardly driving in the last couple of months. I just started getting a lot anxiety while driving out of nowhere. I was driving all the time every day but out of nowhere I became uncomfortable with it. So now I don't drive much. I do when I feel ok with it but not too often. Maybe this will pass and maybe it won't. All I know is that if I do not feel safe behind the wheel than I won't drive. Better to be safe than sorry.
  6. happycanuk

    happycanuk New Member

    I am 60 yrs old, and I still drive. I have had serious back problems since I was 29. Had back surgery, didn't drive for a few months.

    Now, the only time I don't drive, is if I am extremely fatigued. Just wouldn't work for me. I don't take heavy meds so I am ok that way.

    Before I had back surgery, I tried driving my hubbys stick shift and that just wouldn't work for me. The pain seemed to "rip" through my whole spine. I have a Honda CRV that is not only easy to drive, but I can't get in and out of cars easlily. The small SUVs allow me to slip in and out easily.
  7. cct

    cct Member

    I have experienced a few episodes of muscle problems while driving.

    Fortunately, I have been able to pull over and wait out the spasms or else I have been able to control the spasms and I keep on going. Whenever I have one of these muscle attacks while driving, I try to get back home as quickly as posssible.

    Usually, I only drive on my good days and I keep the driving distances close to home.

    I have noticed that any additional stress (bad weather, bad roads, congested traffic, appointment time, unfamilliar places, or any confict/frustration) will increase the probability of having driving difficulties.
  8. beeleaf

    beeleaf New Member

    I figured we'd all be different. ;~)

    Carla, what you said about feeling as dangerous as a drunk driver sounds a lot like how I feel. (And I quit drinking years ago, so it's a very odd feeling.)

    I don't have the same reflexes or attention span, and get kind of "jumpy".

    A few years ago, my better half was in a 3 car pile up caused by someone who I don't think should have been driving. Car totalled, ongoing back problems. The driver who caused it was just devastated. I realize some folks have no choice. But I do. I don't think that's what I want my gift to the world to be.

    Thanks for helping me find my way again!
  9. SweetT

    SweetT New Member

    My friend with MS drives socially more than me also.

    I don't really like driving anyway. My last car accident, which, among other things, probably triggered the fibro (when the young girl plowed into the passenger side of my car, after she ran a red light), left me with post-traumatic stress that's so bad, I always think someone's going to run into me. I always think people are going to run into each other. I also don't think people I drive with drive safe enough.

    That said, I don't do out of town driving. I only drive to where I have to----------work, the stores, doctor's appointments. I try to avoid rush-hour traffic as much as possible, but that's pretty hard considering I work a traditional job and have kids in school who sometimes participate in extra-curricular activities.
  10. lease79

    lease79 New Member

    I still drive, but only very short distances unless my husband is with me.
    I get too tired, & too exhausted.
  11. hugs4evry1

    hugs4evry1 New Member

    I had to start driving again in March when my daughter came to stay with us.

    I hadn't been driving for months due to cognitive problems. I had driven 2 miles to our base and couldn't figure out my dashboard. (had car 3 years)

    But I now only drive short distances and mostly because of the cognitive thing. I'm not sure I remember how to get around anymore since it's been so long.

    So I drive to the base and back and I found a back way to get to the mall so I can have my hair done. I know for myself, that I have no business being on the busier German roads.


    Nancy B
  12. Aeronsmom

    Aeronsmom New Member

    I just got a letter in the mail from the Ministry of transportation telling me they suspended my licence, this came out of no where, now I have to fight them to get it reinstated, they this did this to me last year and it took 7 months to get it reinstated...fuming here.

    love to all, Ann
    [This Message was Edited on 10/20/2006]
  13. jole

    jole Member

    I too have the cognitive difficulties with driving. i can't stay in my lane, have been in the ditch numerous times, have problems with lights having a kaliedescope effect, get lost easily, and panic easily. It's not a phobia. Just another part of this DD, or at least it is for me.

    The doc said it has to do with overstimulation of the brain and mini seizures. more driving, it's too scary!!
  14. Suzan

    Suzan New Member

    Some of it is due to medications, but it also seems to exhaust me...and going any distance at all can have me in pain from holding my arms up for the steering wheel...or my foot on the gas. I haven't driven at night for several years, as it seemed MUCH more difficult and scared me to think that I could CAUSE an accident!
    I am grateful that my dh is so willing to take me almost anywhere at anytime he is home...but I do miss the freedom that driving allowed me to have. Being housebound is so annoying at times!
  15. Ranigar

    Ranigar Member

    My DH and DS would rather I didn't and hide the keys.I've not been in an accident and really they are being overprotective.My feet and legs get cramps sometimes and I have cognitive problems along with vertigo alot of the times.I get frustrated to be stuck at home and not able to run to the store.If a car is home I'll go on a good day for a short distance and put up with they're sighs and head shaking.They mean well but I can make the decision on when I can drive.
  16. Bambi

    Bambi New Member

    the Phoenix valley about 25 years ago. We'd been living in a small town for five of those last years before the move. I was in the car constantly then, going somewhere or nowhere, just going. Driving was a stress reliever for me, getting out of the house and just seeing things.

    Then once we got here I didn't drive any more. I was having a lot of anxiety then and the traffic had doubled by then (if not more). Once the anxiety dropped, then I started having the "fogs" really badly so that stopped me also.

    Now both are under control but the pain, though very reduced, and the medication keeps me from driving. If I even felt like I "could" I'd have to be insured like a teen just starting out since I have no history for so long now. I never had an accident but I'm more concerned for the others on the road than my impatience with having to wait for a ride.
  17. Marta608

    Marta608 Member

    Hi, beeleaf (love that name),

    I think you have to listen to your own gut but also be aware that we can be infused with fear to a point that we're giving in to that instead of safety. Just be sure that you're not not driving because of uncomfortable feelings instead of an actual fear of not being able to react properly.

    Your comment that your partner is willing to drive you wherever you want to go made me wonder if you're not taking the easiest way, and thus a potential self-defeating way, out. Been there, done that and it was hard to come back from it when I had to.

    So be very honest with yourself and if it's "just" really fear of driving, drive consist short distances until you regain your confidence. Forty-eight is way too early to give up that independence if you don't have to.

  18. nerdieduckie

    nerdieduckie New Member

    My permit expired sometime last year...was never able to get my license :-\ Oh the grand event for every 16 year old...except me.

    I haven't really been too bothered by it, I know one day I will be, but for now I still have parents who care very much about me...except my dad does keep pressuring me to get my license and drive, but mum got after him for it so he's eased off some.

    I just can't imagine getting behind the wheel. It terrifies me. I mean, I was terrified before I got to the point I'm at now. Now I'm always a bundle of nerves and ACK! I think if I even sat behind the wheel I'd die.

    I'd love to be able to drive, but it's just not for me at this moment.

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