I have been evicted from my driver’s seat. I am banned from driving, at least temporarily. That’s because I had brain surgery. Now doctors and the Department of Motor Vehicles are worried about my competence to drive.
Until now I never realized how much driving I had to do just to exist: to grocery stores, drug stores, doctors, the dentist, the bank, the post office, the barber. And now I need to visit my wife, Mamie, daily at her nursing home.
I have no nearby family members to drive me around. Our son and his family live in Oregon. Our daughter and her son live in New York. They generously flew here to help, but their home responsibilities limited their stays.
My brain surgery took place on Aug. 21. Four weeks later the surgeon told me I was recovering well but still wasn’t mentally fit to drive. He said that level of recovery usually takes months. I was released to come home the next week, but without any OK to drive.
The Department of Motor Vehicles asked my doctor for a report. He sent it, and I’m now awaiting the DMV’s response. In the meantime a few generous friends drive me to stores and doctors, but I can’t ask them to drive me every day to the nursing home to visit Mamie.
Those visits, however, are my top priority. So I called the Rev. Steven Mabry, the pastor of the Plymouth Congregational Church in Paso Robles. Although we hadn’t attended church for a couple of years, because of Mamie’s condition, we’ve kept in touch. Also, he and some members visited us from time to time.
He was sure the church could help. He turned the project over to a church member, Carolyn Kelso. She made up a calendar and asked members to sign up for various days to drive me to see Mamie.
They take turns driving me to visit her six mornings per week, one hour per day. On the seventh morning, Sunday, one of them takes me to church. On Sunday afternoon one of my other friends takes me to see Mamie. And every day I give thanks for everyone involved.
I mention all this because it might be something your church group, lodge or organization could do for someone you know who needs rides. Not being able to drive is a heavy handicap in today’s California.
There is also an organization in San Luis Obispo County now providing free rides for seniors and disabled adults. It wants to find more volunteer drivers for the North County and the North Coast. It is Wilshire Community Services' Good Neighbor Program, at 547-7025, ext. 17.
My volunteer drivers say giving me rides makes them feel good. We also get better acquainted.