"Where there is creativity, there is hope." ~ Donna Karan

Climbing Mountains

by - Tuesday, October 26, 2010

When dealing with chronic illness, there are many mountains that seem impossible to climb. For me personally, one of the biggest mountains has been getting my drivers licence. I got my learners permit when I was sixteen but didn't get much driving practice done. I had the odd few lessons here and there but I was more focused on my school work, so I was determined to get all my driving lessons after I finished school and then go for my licence. I managed to have quite a few lessons after finishing school and my driving instructor at the time said that I would be ready to go for my driving test within four months but disaster struck and that four months has turned into a long four years. Living with chronic fatigue makes driving extremely difficult and when I do find that I'm feeling alert enough to drive I can only manage short periods which is really frustrating. It is really tough when people question why I still haven't yet got my licence, no it's not because I don't enjoy driving or because I'm lazy, it's because I live with a crippling fatigue that you cannot understand unless you have it. I have been asked this question so many times that I had to come up with a clever answer to "You're 22 and you still don't have your licence?!" And my response? Fatigue kills. Simple as that. If I feel too tired- be it mentally or physically, I will not risk putting anyone's life at risk.
"When molehills become mountains you think you cannot climb, remember Everest was conquered one step at a time"- Author unknown


Lately though, I've been able to manage the fatigue a little better so I've been busy climbing this mountain (which accounts and will account for my lack of blogging) that seems impossible to climb and I'm almost there! I had my first driving lesson since my last one a couple of years ago two weeks ago now and I'm preparing for my driving test around fatigue flare-ups. My driving instructor seemed surprised that I hadn't already booked my test as I am well and truly ready- I've had my L's for six years now! Where the heck did time go?! It really looks silly me driving on L-plates. I am totally ready for P-plates and freedom! In my first lesson with my new instructor I mastered the dreaded reverse parallel park! YAY! Go me! Something funny too (although it wasn't funny at the time) - I had just finished doing a three point turn in a quite street and I go to drive off and I see this man standing in the middle of the road! My driving instructor told me to just keep driving and so I did only to have to slam on the break two seconds later as the man started walking towards the car! Get off the road, you can see I'm on L-plates, do you want me to run you over you moron! Once I braked he came to my window knocking on it yelling at me to do a burnout! What the hell is this idiot thinking, seriously. So I drive off and I hear him yell out "oi, you bitch". Classy, mate. Classy. He was clearly on drugs- and I thought I had problems! Ha! I was officially welcomed to the crazy world of driving and wacky pedestrians!

I've got a double lesson next week when I'll be learning the routes I could be driving in my test and then I've only got one more lesson before I go for my P's. Hooray! The end is in site. For the test you have to sit a hazards perception test before you can attempt the actual drive test but instead of doing it all in the one day which would be silly with chronic fatigue, I've chosen to do it on separate days with a huge gap in between to make sure I'm well rested enough to pass. I had my hazards test booked for last Friday and I was really nervous about it because I had heard that the driving scenarios are hard to work out on a computer screen and they were! One scenario I got the screen was totally black and I couldn't see anything that was going on, a little unfair I thought- but I passed!! Woohoo! I'm half way there! Now I just have to go for my driving test and I'm hopeful that I will be well enough to manage it and guess what? My driving test is booked! I officially have a date and a time that I am going for my P's! I'm so excited! I'm not telling when it is though because I don't want the humiliation of telling people that I failed it, not that I will- I'm pretty confident I will pass but that is a pressure I can do without, so no one other than my family knows when I am going for my test. Ha!

Well it's been a long road (oh gosh I make myself laugh sometimes!) and I can see the light! Getting your licence with chronic fatigue is a challenge but it isn't impossible. It just takes a lot of time and patience and believe me, patience really pays off.

"Nothing is impossible, the word itself says I'm possible!" - Audrey Hepburn


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