Monday, November 16, 2009

In Which I Spend Some Time Behind The Wheel

There are days when I feel less like a wife and mother and more like a chauffeur.

Today was one of those days. I woke up in the morning, got the guys ready to go, and dropped Connor off at school. From there I drove down to post, where I dropped Jer off for an appointment. I promptly turned back around and drove back to Puyallup, where it was just about time to pick Connor up from school.

Connor and I went straight back to post, where Jer was finished with his appointment. Then I drove us to a friend's house, where we decided on a place to eat. After that I drove us to the restaurant, where we attempted to eat between helping to juggle a sad baby and keeping an overstimulated Connor from emitting ear-piercing shrieks.

From there it was a trip back to post, where I dropped Jer off for another appointment. Finally I picked him up from his appointment and drove us all home, a mere ten hours after we'd left. Whew!

I'm not sure how many hours I've spent sitting behind the wheel of the van now, but we usually have at least two days out of the week like this, so it's got to be a significant number at this point. Jer won't be able to drive using the hand controls until he's off the heavy narcotics, which since you have to wean down off them slowly will probably take a while. Thank goodness we have the van; I don't even want to think how much more fun it would be to either be attempting to vault Jer into our SUV or to have to call a cabulance every time he wanted to go somewhere.

So it's probably past time that I got into the spirit of things. I think that in order to play the role of chauffeur properly, I need a pair of black leather gloves and some large sunglasses. Also possibly one of those hats. I'll also work a little more on the being dignified part. I doubt a proper chauffeur is supposed to make the kind of noises I do when I'm lugging the wheelchairs up the ramp.

Once Jer is able to drive again, our roles will be totally reversed, as in order for him to pull his wheelchair up close enough to reach the hand controls we'll be removing the driver's seat. We'll replace the passenger seat and then I'll be the one along for the ride!

I haven't decided whether or not he can wear my hat.



psychologizer said...

Perhaps a helmet until you're sure he has the hang of those hand controls....

Becca said...

Jess - it's pretty much standard to set the van up so that the driver's seat is removable/replaceable rather than just, um, removed.

I drive my van from my powerchair and my chair plus both the driver's and passenger's seats is fitted with the EZ Lock system, which means that:
a) I drive my chair into the van, the bolt on my chair slips into the clamp in the floor - clunk, done. Put seatbelt on and drive away.
b) The passenger and driver's seats are similarly fitted so that if I need somebody else to drive it - clunk, done.
c) If I'm not driving, I can sit up front next to the driver because there's an identical clamp there.

Basically what I have is the option of any configuration of my wheelchair and fixed seats in the front. It's awesome.

Also, I don't know if it's a legal issue over there but people can and do drive while on opiates - obviously not if you're completely zonked out, but a low dose after a good long time to adjust doesn't usually have any noticable effects on alertness or anything, and I've been cleared to drive on slow-release morphine for a couple of years now.

Julia said...

Are you one of those chauffeurs who makes pert small talk, or do you sit in a sullen silence? And what's the fuzzy dice situation?

Connor's Mom said...

At least Jer will only be driving with one kind of control. Every time someone else drives the van, the first thing we have to tell them is LEAVE THE HAND CONTROL ALONE. I swear the thing calls to people.


Because Jer will hopefully be in a wheelchair temporarily, our van doesn't have the awesome EZ Lock system like yours. It's not so much the manuevering the wheelchair in and out-- that's not a problem. It's getting the driver's seat in and out. That sucker is heavy and awkward and has four locks on the floor, not just one, so you have to line it up perfectly. Not something I'm going to want to do on a regular basis. I have the SUV to drive, so it makes sense to just leave the seat out until Jer is out of the wheelchair and using a walker, which hopefully will only take a few more months.

We're not going to try the driving on morphine thing. Jer's on enough to knock out a horse right now, and he still gets really, really sleepy sometimes. Bad idea.

Julia-- Actually, I'm more like one of those cab drivers who never shuts up.

Anonymous said...

Maybe you could start asking for a tip? LOL.

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