It seems shocking to me that I haven’t gotten back to write something in nine days, but I guess that is how it is. The big outing I was writing about that Friday – well it pretty well did me in. It was fun, though. I drove almost the whole time, and while it was tiring, challenging, I was reminded after so long of how much I used to enjoy driving. I really did. When we lived in the States, the last year, I often drove 4.5 hours from our new home in Vermont back to our old home in Massachusetts, and back, just for a couple of hours with my support group. And, I loved the driving.
I still love driving I suppose, it is just so hard it can be easy to not feel the fun – I am too stressed, and too tired, and too scared. The scared is starting to fade as I am becoming used to the van. It is really heavy, and tall, and just not easy to get used to. It is well over ten years since I drove a truck or school bus, after all. And an awful lot has happened, not the least being that I am so much more disabled. Lack of balance and fatigue were always my worst symptoms, but now I add to that this ‘peripheral neuropathy’ (in quotes because one doctor told me that is what it is, while another pulled out the old chestnut that ‘peripheral neuropathy is not an M.S. symptom.’ I don’t makes ’em up, I just repeats ’em). And whatever brain damage I am still dealing with since that extremely heavy blood loss, and simply being older. So it is no wonder I suppose that it is much more difficult to learn to be comfortable driving this awkward vehicle. But I am learning and I hope someday to just get in and enjoy the drive. I have to say, not driving in Israel would help.
The closest driving experience I have to this was driving in Boston, but the drivers here are so much crazier, often not good drivers, the roads are down-right insane… Probably just as well I never drove in Rome, since this is so crazy-making. When I write that the roads are insane, what comes to mind at the moment is a road I have to drive regularly, which runs almost right along the border with Gaza. Since the road is in line-of-sight with the border, there is effectively no speed-limit. The goal is to get through there as quickly as possible, you don’t want to be tooting along if/when a rocket is shot across the border. Which would be fine if the drivers were capable of driving at speed safely, and if the road didn’t exhibit such quirks as two curves, one of them quite tight, that are Reverse Banked. In case you aren’t in the know, curves, properly built, are banked, they have a slight rise toward the outside of the curve. This helps prevent drivers from drifting outward while driving on the curve. The faster you are going, the more the curve needs to be banked. What do you call it, though, when the curve actually rises toward the *inside* of the curve? It is asking for trouble. So, anyway…
I don’t want to talk about crazy drivers or crazy roads, though. I really did have a wonderful time that Friday, despite spending almost the whole day in the car. I could not find anywhere to park the van where I could lower the wheelchair lift at the Rosh HaAyin shuk, in fact couldn’t find any alright place to park, so I circled, finding a parking spot only as The Husband and youngest son were leaving the shuk. We drove from there to Diezengoff Center in Tel Aviv, but the wheelchair van couldn’t even get into the parking garage. Same thing, I sat at the curb, eventually, in front of the bicycle/scooter/motorcycle parking, while TH went into the center, and for an extra treat youngest son went into Steimatzky (a book store) and bought himself a new book.
At Holon, I was able to park, by taking several vertical parking spaces crosswise, and there I went in to the store. As we were there primarily to buy Woolite, which we haven’t been able to find anywhere in the south, I can’t say it was such a joyful experience; but we snuck in as the store was closing and managed to make that fun, too.
Last week was a bunch of adventures in driving that revolve mostly around driving at night and coping with a wheelchair van with lift on narrow, inhospitable streets with inconsiderate drivers, and rain. More than once I had to sit in the van because it simply isn’t possible to park, or to park in such a way I can use the lift. At my counsellor’s house, which is also her office, I park on the sidewalk, and someone has to get the wheelchair down to the street and bring it around to the drivers’ side so that I can slide down into it. Really not ideal, but her idea of me parking on the other side of the street and lowering the lift into the traffic lane isn’t any better. The street is so narrow I park half on the sidewalk so as not to block the driving lane as it is.
And the adventure continues. I plan this week to drive youngest son to Tel Aviv on Wednesday, where he is going to take part in a Magic the Gathering tournament, while I continue on to visit my sister who is living in a rehab/nursing home north of the city. I haven’t seen her in so long I can’t remember when it last was. At the very least there should be adequate parking. 😉 I understand, though, that I can’t get into the building under my own power. That’s what we like here, buildings built specifically for the disabled that are not wheelchair accessible. *sigh*
I am hoping I can actually start visiting friends, soon. That is next on my itinerary. I’ve been invited by some friends whose houses I cannot get into at all – one I haven’t been able to get into her house for a while, another it is due to my newest lost of function, and her stairs. So it goes. I will either find a way to visit without going into the homes (at a nearby park maybe) or I will have to regretfully give up on the idea. Not sure how this is going, but I trust that somehow things will work out.
Not being housebound is enough of a blessing all by itself. I still find going to the shuk, or driving to pick someone up, enough of a treat. I wish I could go for walks, but after five years, getting the wheelchair van and being able to get out of the house is wonderful.
I’m taking it easy this morning, as I’ve got a lot of driving to do tonight. On my own account, and driving others to-and-fro. Home by ten. Good night.