It’s been a week and a half since I brought my van home from the mobility shop.
Last Monday, Ben and I headed up to Harrisburg to do my final checkout. Basically, it meant making sure that all the parts were working properly, that I could reach the pedals and controls, and then signing a crap-ton of paperwork.
The final step in the checkout was – obviously – driving. My training instructor met us at the mobility shop and spent two hours on the road with me, covering everything from parking lots to residential areas to major highways . . . and pretty much everything in between to confirm that I wasn’t going to kill anyone.
After papers were signed and I proved not to be a vehicular menace, I was officially on my own, and drove home from the shop. Ben and I ended up going out later that night to show off the new wheels to friends, which meant by the time I got home, I had driven over 5 hours that first day. I was blissfully and ecstatically exhausted.
And as everyone keeps asking me how it feels to be mobile again . . . I can’t help but respond the same way:
It is amazing . . . and terrifying.
Being able to come and go as I please is simply euphoric, but driving a modified van from a wheelchair is not exactly the same as handling a regular car. There is still a crazy, scary, nerve-wracking learning curve, and I’ve had a few moments of sheer OMG WE’RE ALL GONNA DIE terror.
. . . like when I tried making a left turn at a speed that was appropriate for normal vehicles, but not so much for the van, and almost ended up in a field. That was fun . . .
Every day, it’s getting better though. And no one seems to be too terrified to ride along, which is a plus.
Have you ever been afraid to drive with someone? Who?