Driving

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Mike1
Mike1 Member Posts: 1,992
edited 4. Jul 2019, 09:02 in Living with arthritis
I am in a bit of a quandary which is causing me some anxiety and increasing my general level of depression (thank goodness I have a cat!). I am only 61 riddled with OA, a degenerative spinal condition, 3 compressed discs, a detached disc, numerous other related problems and am a wheelchair user. I am on a reasonable dose of morphine and can self-administer oramorph whenever I need it depending on pain levels (my GP and the Pain Clinic have given up on me). I have more or less convinced myself that I need to stop driving as I cannot grip the steering wheel and the brachialgia in my left arm frequently prevents me using both arms, not to mention the morphine, the hand braces I wear and the neck support! Needless to say I have been seriously conflicted with making such a decision as I live alone and once my car is gone my mobility goes with it. I have used the last of my savings to purchase a new mobility scooter so at least I can get to my village shop and to my Surgery in the next village as my electric wheelchair cannot cope with the hills and camber.

My GP has questioned whether I should still be driving but has left it to me to make the decision. As a result I have been searching the internet for information, I suppose what I really want is someone to tell me that I have to stop driving as this may make it easier for me to take on-board mentally. If I have to make the decision I seriously don't know if I will or whether I will stop and then start again after a few months. Anyhow during my searches I came across this document on the internet which some of you may find useful: https://www.rcoa.ac.uk/sites/default/files/FPM-Driving-and-Pain-members-information.pdf

Has anyone else had an issue to deal with such as this?

Comments

  • stickywicket
    stickywicket Member Posts: 27,710
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
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    I think giving up driving is a massive decision when the car virtually IS our mobility. I also know I have been in the passenger seat with several people who should have given up long ago.

    I took a long time to decide. My younger son had left for university which meant I no longer had to be his taxi driver. Not driving every day meant that my relevant joints seized up. I had to drive daily, even when I had no need and had other things that needed doing with my limited energy. Or I had to give up my Motability car and take taxis instead. I finally opted for the latter.

    I don't think pain relief was ever an issue for me as I've never taken much and I always made sure, when taking DF118s (which were my strongest ones) that I wouldn't need to drive for an hour or two. But pain itself is also an enormous distraction not to mention immobility. I still recall, with horror, the only time I entered the ring road at a junction which required me to turn my neck much further than it would go. I had to turn my whole body then get hold of the controls again while hoping nothing had come towards me in the meantime. I realised then how vulnerable and dangerous I was.

    I think it's time to stop when we start making allowances for ourselves that we wouldn't make for a driver who had injured a loved one. Interestingly, as I passed my driving test using my first Motability car, my driving licence said I was OK to drive 'any car which I could safely control'. In my case that meant an automatic with adaptions but clearly the vital thing is being able to control a car safely.

    To be honest, I think your GP is gently telling you to stop and, if you don't, might soon be telling you not so gently. If you can use a scooter you will still have your mobility and your Motability will buy you taxis sometimes as mine has had to. I have difficulties with some taxis but have learnt to explain when booking so that I don't get one so low I can't get out of it or so high I have to ask the driver to shove my bottom in :lol:

    The link you send is very interesting. The increased 'accident factor' for people on NSAIDS is surprising though I suppose most people on them, and strong pain relief, will be older drivers with declining cognitive faculties anyway.

    I wish you luck with your difficult decision.
    If at first you don't succeed, then skydiving definitely isn't for you.
    Steven Wright
  • trepolpen
    trepolpen Member Posts: 504
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
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    Mike , like me you live in Cornwall ? at Truro they have a assexment centre & give advice & do adaptions , ie for motobility cars etc

    I am a similar age to you but had RA for 25 years & its a big thing to give up , take a look & maybe have a professional assesment

    https://www.cornwallmobility.co.uk/who-we-are/driving
  • dreamdaisy
    dreamdaisy Member Posts: 31,520
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
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    it is a difficult decision but ultimately it comes down to one thing: if you are unsafe to drive, and yet you do and cause an injury to - or even the death of -another person, could you live with yourself? Could you handle the consequences of such an act? Yes, we all take the risk of being in or causing an accident as soon as we start up the engines of our gleaming killing machines but if you are under the influence of morphine, even unwittingly, then that is no different to drug or drunk driving. DD
    Have you got the despatches? No, I always walk like this. Eddie Braben
  • Mike1
    Mike1 Member Posts: 1,992
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
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    Stickywicket - thanks for sharing, I have sussed out one local taxi firm that has a wheelchair accessible vehicle and they have confirmed that my beast will fit.

    Dreamdaisy - no I couldn't handle the consequences of causing an injury or worse.

    Trepolpen - yep, live in Goldsithney. Checked Cornwall Mobility, £80 for an assessment or free with a referral from a GP.

    I think on balance that I don't have a choice!
  • stickywicket
    stickywicket Member Posts: 27,710
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
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    Mike, just a heads up here. Not that you have much choice but you might want to check that they don't charge extra for getting the chair in. In black cabs (a nightmare of access for me) I've been charged 30p extra for them to get a step out of the boot for me.
    If at first you don't succeed, then skydiving definitely isn't for you.
    Steven Wright
  • trepolpen
    trepolpen Member Posts: 504
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
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    Mike , you always have a choice , I have not driven for about a year , not sure when I will , its some time we never forget , did not know your GP could refer you , thought it had to be
    Occupational Therapist
    , it could be you are giving up your independace when they could do a small modification

    Its a lovely part of cornwall where you live , but public transport is not great or cheap , I could not get on our busses & lucky my son & brother helps me with transport

    I got no idea what you have to put up with but think you have nothing to lose if your GP can refer you