Saturday, July 12, 2008

No Turning Back

Yesterday Hubby got his Driver's Licence Renewal in the mail. They are now requesting that he undergo a physical exam to renew this licence.

He looked up from the letter with sad eyes and said to me:
"I won't pass this physical - not in a million years."
"I know." I gently agreed.

He waited a moment before going on.
"Looks like I'll never drive again."

I could see his eyes glistening, but I held his gaze.
"Why don't you pretend I'm your chauffeur?" I tried to be light-hearted, yet compassionate.

"That's what I told my Mom years ago. But she was in her 80's and a menace on the roads."

"I know."

"But really and truly, I don't feel stable enough to drive. Especially if I have to worry about my oxygen sats. I know it's time to give up my licence - but it's just so hard. It feels like my world is shrinking every time I turn around."

"I understand. But you know that I'll always be with you when we go out anyway, so what's the difference if I do the driving?"

You can see that we're trying to be logical about an emotional decision.
Hubby has only been out in the car twice since October. Both times I drove and both times, he was fiddling with this 02 tanks - adjusting the level of oxygen. He needs 2 portable tanks in the car, in place of his concentrator. And even at that, the portable tanks give short bursts of oxygen, instead of "free-flow" continuous oxygen as the concentrator does.

So this decision does not come as a surprise.
However, once it's made - there's no turning back.
It's another "step down".


Beverly said...

That breaks my heart to read. Hugs to you both.

30 years from Darling said...

My husband had to stop driving a year ago, between the breathing and the nerve damage in his neck from the exposed spinal chord due the scoliosis ... he didn't have enough feeling in his hands, or enough dexterity or strenght in arms or upper body to drive.

It's been very hard on him, emotionally, ego wise ..and definitely had an effect on his relationship with other people.

It's not an easy thing for anyone.
I am a little concerned for him this fall when my yougest goes back to high school and my oldest and I start college.
He'll be here every day for a few hours alone with no way of going anywhere. :(

annette said...

Not an easy decision for ya'll to make. I am so sorry. I pray the Lord gives you each a fresh revelation of His love for you.


Wendy said...

Hi Bev, thanks for your concern.

Hi Peggy, what a difficult path we travel. My heart goes out to you and your hubby. I hope you have an emergency plan thought out for when hubby is alone at home.
And I am glad to see you "going on with your life" (going to college) as much as possible.

Thank you Annette for your good wishes.

Rose said...

This has to be difficult for him. Even if he isn't driving now anyway, knowing that he can't legally is much different. You said it very well when you described his world as "shrinking."
My heart goes out to you, Wendy.

Cheryl said...

Hi Wendy....I can feel the emotion is this post. Men find it so difficult to come to terms with these issues. They are the providers, the strength, and much more in a relationship. It must be so difficult for hubby......what can I say, other than, you are wonderful in your support of him and I am sure between you it will be put in the right pigeon hole.....

Artznana said...

I'm in the same position as your dear husband.He is blessed that he has you.I'm alone. I lent my car to my son last January and he is slow to return it.He takes me to the Dr's twice a year.
Its a small world now.Lonely too

Ex-Shammickite said...

I know how hard that must be for him.
My friend's husband has recently lost his licence as he had a seizure and the docs want to be sure what caused it before he can drive again. It's very hard on everyone.
It takes away his independence.
And some of yours.
I feel for you both.
Keep smiling, it's important!

Femail doc said...

The end of the driving option, even if there's been no driving for awhile, is a big emotional step. Shrinking world indeed.

Driving is very important to my spouse. Behind the wheel, he feels totally comfortable and completely in control. So we're now in the long car trip phase, driving all over the West through breathtaking landscape. I feel a little crazy not being able to take off and walk through the beautiful vistas, but getting out of the house into wide open vistas is good for both of us.
So sad that downhill is the inevitable direction with this darned COPD thing.

Thinking of you!

Anonymous said...

With what we now know of COPD, there is no turning back. You are obviously totally correct in recognizing what is inevitable. You are facing the future honestly, and pretending "it ain't so" won't change the future.
That said, if either of you ever is comforted by fanning or tending the least little tiniest spark of hope for a remission/improvement/cure, however unrealistic that hope for a miracle may be, you can--without fibbing--observe to Hubby that not applying now does not preclude his applying at some future date if anything should improve.

Bear Naked said...

I'm so sorry to hear about this.
Of course it has an affect on both of you.
My prayers and kind wishes for you and him.

Bear((( )))

Tracy said...

Hi Wendy - thank you for the sweet comment and for sharing a bit of your story with me!

Wendy said...

Hi Rose, thank you for your kind words.

Hi Cheryl, ah yes - the male provider. So true. He has fallen so far, but life does go on. Thanks for your concern.

Wendy said...

Hi Artznana - it must be so hard to do this illness alone. I am glad you have a son who looks after you - but the days must stretch sometimes. Thanks for stopping by.

Hi Ex-sh..... it's the independence thing that hurts. I know how crabby I'd be if my independence was taken away. Thanks for stopping by. We do try to smile as much as we can. It does help.

HI Judy - oh, I understand your hubby completely! King of the Road, driving free and easy. Until he has to step out. Never mind, you two are going places. Enjoy the scenery, roll down the windows (unless you have the a/c on)and breathe!

Wendy said...

Oh my dear Anne - how sweet of you to encourage us. There's always hope, isn't there? Even in his shrinking world, we hope for a brighter day tomorrow. Thanks for your concern.

Hi BearNaked - thanks for your understanding.

Hi Tracy - Welcome aboard. Loved your Header by the way. Wish I was living by the ocean.

Mary said...

Perhaps losing your license to drive is the privilege we miss the most. Huge. Especially for men.

My heart goes out to him and YOU. Seems you are handling it well, Wendy.

Remember to take care of yourself, too.


Dreaming again said...

School is close by, cell phones .. both son and I will keep keys in pockets. Cell phones, regardless of professors policy, will never go off, but on vibrate.

If professor has problem with it, we'll go over his head or do it anyway.

We *DID* have the plan of sister and family helping ..but since she's not talking to us .... um ..that won't work anymore.

Femail doc said...

Dare I ask the time frame between King of the Road (FEV1 30% expected) and no road at all?

Amy said...

His world is shrinking---that's a heartbreaking sentence to read. Good thoughts to you both.

Wendy said...

Hi Mary - you are so right. Blogging helps me tremendously.

Wendy said...

HI Dreaming Again - as long as you have a plan. We keep making plans and then changing them. WE now have the front door key taped to the underside of the mailbox and hubby leaves the front door unlocked when I go out. This is so an ambulance attendant can get in if necessary.

Wendy said...

Whoops - that last comment was not accurate. We have the front door bolt off, but the doorknob lock - locked (which is why the key is hidden, but within easy access).

Wendy said...

Hi Amy - thanks for your concern.

Hi Judy - Hubby was first diagnosed 6 years ago and his FEV1 was 30%. As of last fall his FEV1 was 17%. Last time he drove was last fall too. Don't know where his FEV1 is now as he can't do the test.

JeanMac said...

Wendy, I understand and feel so for him. It's probably one of the most difficult things to voluntarily give up.

LK said...

I feel for him and you - both. Sometimes these little things can be difficult. Take care, I hope that you can find new ways to keep his world for him.

Mimi said...

this turned me into such a sniveling baby! It just reaffirms the fact that driving is a privilege. There are so many things people take for granted in life. You really know how to pull through when the chips are down. You are so positive! You are now one of my favorite blogs!

Wendy said...

Thanks Mimi for the compliments.