Sunday, August 23, 2009

I took away her car keys

The car... I took away her keys... It was a horrible day.
After hearing from her friends, nurses, and other folk that she probably should not be driving, I realized that I had to be the one to take the keys away. This is what they call "tough love".
"I've never had an accident." I've heard a thousand times from my mom. "Why are you doing this to me?"

The turning point:
We met one day for lunch. After lunch, I followed her home in my car, her in her car. At one intersection she turned right instead of left. I wondered if she wanted to visit a store down there. (This is in a town where she once lived for 25 years.) As she pulled into a fast-food restaurant to turn around, she yelled out the window, "I really wanted to go the other way but the traffic wouldn't let me." (???)

Continuing towards her house, we got onto a rural stretch of road, two lanes, a numbered state highway, with a speed limit in the 45-50mph range, infrequent houses and shops. She was going 75 mph! I could hardly keep up. Later that day, I'm trying to keep my cool, I asked her if she knew how fast she was going on the state highway. "Oh at least 70."

All that day, and any time we discuss this incident, she has no guilt and no remorse, as if she was doing nothing wrong. This is not the response I would expect from my mother. Not a worry for the other drivers, the bicyclists, or pedestrians we passed. This road is posted and notorious for deer and moose crossings.
Her response is "I didn't have an accident, I got home fine, there was no one near me. What's your problem. I've never had an accident."

We made a deal, her very reluctantly, if she passes the driving evaluation test (that her doctor wanted her to take last winter) she can have her keys back.

I called for the driving evaluation. He was very gracious and kind, all through the time with my mother. She constantly berated him while she took the written part of the test. Do you know what this sign means? "I'd know it if I saw it on the street." "I don't know why I have to take this test, no one else has to take this test, I've never had an accident."

The whole time I'm in the other room, praying that she'll fail. Her reflexes are good, her vision is fine, she can use all her limbs. It's her reasoning, decisions, and memory that are so skewed. He failed her, even though she did well on the driving part of the test. She was so angry, at me and the examiner.

I have all the car keys, but her car is still in her driveway. Now we are trying to sell the car. But, I can't find the registration or title.
"They're in the glove box."
"No Mom, there is nothing in the car, nothing." In a fit, she took everything out of the car, put it in a bag, and put it in a closet, which she forgot she did.

Anyone want to buy a car? Low mileage, driven by woman who has never had an accident.

From Mayo Clinic: When To Stop Driving.

1 comment:

Keira Jones said...

Ahhh I feel your pain (as you know!). You did the right thing - we are currently mustering up the courage to do similar (if the DVLA - the UK equivalent to the DMV won't do it for us....).