"Where there is creativity, there is hope." ~ Donna Karan

Monday, April 4, 2011

Third Time Lucky

Two weeks ago today I attempted my driving test for the third time. This time round I took my instructor with me and I'm so glad that I did! This time the tester sat in the back and my instructor was in the front which made it feel like a normal lesson (well, to an extent). The tester I was assigned happened to be filling in for someone who was sick and thankfully the lady was very lovely and mindful of the fact that I was just a little nervous.

The first half of the test went really well, in fact the majority of the test just consisted of speed bumps and roundabouts in very quiet back streets. Unlike my first test which was in extremely busy industrial areas. After the first half of the test was over my tester commented on how well I had driven and exclaimed that I did an excellent job on the first half, which made me feel so much more relaxed and confident about successfully passing the second half. Both my previous testers said nothing at all to me and they were far from friendly, it was horrible.

The second half of the test was five minutes of driving on a freeway and another five minutes on a busy main road, which to my advantage, were both areas that I frequently drive on with my parents and driving instructor. Soon enough I found myself back at the testing office anxiously awaiting my fate for the third time. My name was called and I finally heard the oh so sweet words- "congratulations, that was an excellent drive". I could hardly believe it. Neither could I wipe the smile off my face. I got my licence. Third time lucky.

(image via weheartit.com)

Oh happy day. I can finally celebrate the enormous achievement of finally getting my licence. Take that CFS, take that!! After years of struggling with fatigue, it seemed I would never get it, but here I am two weeks after being granted freedom and I couldn't be happier. So far I've managed a few adventures to the shops (where else, ha!) and I'm just so proud, I can't stop smiling! To be able to drive myself somewhere despite chronic fatigue is just an incredible achievement- one I'll never take for granted. All things considered, I'm managing fatigue okay but when I have my bad days they sure are shockers, and as any CFS sufferer would know, the bad days far outweigh the good ones. So, of course my driving is fairly limited and I can only drive very short distances (I'm talking 5 minutes down the road) but the days that I can manage to drive allows me to appreciate them on the bad days when I can't drive.

The amazing blessing of having my licence (and my own car!) means that I can now make the most of the good days and get myself out of the house, even if I can only manage thirty minutes or so. When you live with multiple chronic illnesses, freedom and independence may disintegrate and seem like they've disappeared altogether. I know I often feel far from free but the ability to drive is feeding me a taste of freedom and I'm slowly becoming miss independent.

Lately I've been feeling like my life isn't going anywhere, that I'm just going round in senseless and directionless circles but now I can see a glimmer of hope. I've got my licence, I've achieved something and I'm moving forward (even though it doesn't feel like it some days). Being able to drive somewhere opens up new opportunities that wouldn't be possible if I was still catching public transport. I'm now looking at getting some sewing lessons and I'm even hoping to be able to go to cake decorating school one day. I'm even wanting to attempt making a return to work for one short shift a week, if my boss will have me back.

Getting my licence is a huge victory for me and I'm sure it's only one of the many more victories to come. I am proof that patience and persistence pays off. I am proof that getting your licence with chronic fatigue isn't impossible. Hell, it hasn't been easy but I can now look back on the last six years over joyed, standing proud in admiration of just how far I've come and how much progress I am continuing to make. I am giving CFS a good hard kick up the backside and I am proudly claiming my power!


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Oh What the Fog said...

Congratulations! That's wonderful news! Feeling trapped inside your own body most of the time (and house ha ha), it's nice that you'll be able to go wherever you choose when you can. Go you!

piffle said...

omg your my hero!!
ive suffered since first yr uni and am just aching to get out. It a prison in my home ive lost all my friends and neeeed to drive or i will cry forever!!! im so heartened to her of your tale. I started lessons and its gone well im ok but every so often i have a TERRIBLE lesson where im late reacting, erratic and just plain awful, i dont notice cars/lights as i normally should if the instructer talks to me at the same time its like im trying to walk through mud. i hate those days when there is a brick planted in your head and you just cant function, i didnt even hear what he was saying i ended up in tears! gah
Today was an awful one and reading this just made me cheer! phewf.... wish me luck! and i hope you continue to make such milestones!!
ps i i travelled nr u in 2001!

Emily Ruth said...

Thanks Patti! It has been really wonderful to be able to get out of the house and go somewhere when I've been feeling up to it.

piffle- oh I know exactly how frustrating that feels. I've had horrible driving lessons too, and I've had quite a few near misses due to fatigue and delayed recations due to poor cognitive funtion. I have been right where you are. Some days I just wanted to give up and stop trying. Try not to be too hard on yourself when you have those bad lessons you will get it eventually!You can do it! Good on you for starting lessons, you're halfway there! It may seem like forever to get your license and with the bad days you may feel like you are getting nowhere but believe that you are making progress. Driving with cfs isn't easy but I'm proof that it is possible, you've just got to stay positive, pick yourself and perservere through the bad days and have a lot of patience. Good luck with it all, let me know how you go. Feel free to email me via the contact page if you need some support and encouragement.

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