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Giving Up Driving – Almost
The first big lifestyle change
Text & photo by Tom Hintz
Posted - 2-20-2013
The first major lifestyle change brought on by Alzheimer's has been to dramatically reduce the amount of driving I do. I work from home so that eliminates a major driving need. My wife drives so we can still get to where we need to without me getting behind the wheel.
This same indecision began happening on the highway while I was using my GPS. At freeway junctions with more than two choices the indecision was more pronounced despite the GPS giving me verbal and visual clues. I had enjoyed driving for over 45 years but this confusion was making me dread having to drive, particularly when there was enough traffic to exacerbate the situation.
I was also having some vision issues that I thought might be related to the Alzheimer's but the neurologist said no so off to the eye doctor to check that. Since I have reduced my driving so much the vision issue, seeing motions in the peripheral vision has become far less of a concern. Whether something is getting better or I am just “tuning those visions out” they are much less of an issue.
While these problems were frustrating I also had to think about the possibility of my causing an accident. I had a near miss on a road trip that while questionable, I worried that it was related to my indecision. That got me thinking that this was serious enough that I had to take myself out from behind the wheel except in rare occasions.
The only driving I do now is going to the gas station or a nearby store early on weekend mornings. Both are very direct trips and in the early morning when I go traffic is sparse if there is any at all. So far I have not had any episodes of indecision on those short trips but if I notice any problems then I will give up driving altogether.
At this point my doctor said quitting driving is my decision but I will not hesitate to make it official if I feel these issues have progressed any further. The convenience of me driving simply is not worth taking a chance on endangering others.
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