Honesty, family and driving

I have read many an article, stories and messages about people and driving when they become compromised or we deem them as unsafe and it is difficult and it is met with disbelief, anger and denial. I have even spent time over the brief Christmas period we had off the farm talking to all age groups about it. No I don’t have the answer and no there is no book in it, it will be difficult for the messenger to give the information and even more difficult for the receiver.

One of the funniest responses I have had is people not wanting to lose their spontaneity and I look at most people in disbelief at this statement. I myself am included here, I can not remember the last time I got up and thought “gee I’ll go for a drive today”, I think the days of getting in the car for a ‘Sunday drive’ have left us. Even going for lunch is normally planned so there is time to organise a taxi, uber, cab or someone else to pick you up or drive you, but especially in the country most people plan trips and even shopping expeditions, so I can combat that argument with a rational answer.

The independence one I can understand, but being without a car does not take that away, as we are a society that relies upon each other all the time, we marry, thus are not truly independent, we have friends or work colleagues that we socialise with and we are forever supported by family and friends so short of living on ones own most people are not independent of those we rely upon. We love the activity we do when we drive, but this does not have to stop if we stop driving, although in the country it can be more difficult with lack of any public transport, cabs or options.

These are not criticisms of people but are observations and I place myself in the category, but relying upon others may be something you do not want to do, being dropped somewhere and then having to wait for that person to come back and get you or they sit and wait for you or they do not leave you to having time by yourself is also very restricting and frustrating.

We did have the conversation and it was met with, “I don’t believe that story” when we started by talking with the partner of the person involved. There was a request for evidence and even after having more than one conversation with them, it still took a while to get them to understand the gravity of the situation. In fact it was met with “well what can I do? “. My words were,  they would have to talk with the driver concerned and tell them that it was time to consider not driving. The long-term partner refused and stated it would affect them the most as they did not drive well so was reliant upon the other person to do all of the errands.

Where does one go with that? the next time I met up with them I was spoken to in the kitchen by the driver and told it was a deliberate act of bad parking and a joke not to tell anyone in the family about it. I actually turned, looked into their eyes and said “I have driven with you and a couple of years ago I stated you should never drive unsupervised so this argument would not work on me and they need to consider not driving for the safety of others not themselves. It is a sign you are not driving correctly if you rely on hitting the gutter to park a vehicle and you drove up a driveway and stopped when the tree got in the way” This was met with a shrug of shoulders , which meant they were not going to listen, so now what?

I have read much literature on driving and one of the better ones is the Hartford “we need to talk about..”booklet   I have put the link here but for those like me that need some written information here are some of  their suggestions

1. Decrease in confidence while driving. i.e. not travelling at speed limits (always under) is not driving to the road conditions or driving in back streets to avoid other cars.
2. Difficulty turning to see when backing up. i.e, not being able to turn head or doesn’t remember to look in rear vision mirror.
3. Riding the brake: touching the brake when they see cars turning into lanes next to them etc
4. Easily distracted while driving. i.e. fiddling with radio or looking at the satellite navigation system
5. Other drivers often honk horns: i.e. driving with the white line in the middles of the windscreen,  veering across lanes , driving too slowly
6. Incorrect signaling. turning without signalling, changing lanes without using the indicator , right hand indicator on when turning left and vice versa
7. Parking inappropriately. i.e. rear end of the car sticks out (not forward enough) parking straight on when its parallel parking
8. Hitting curbs. i.e when driving especially turning corners and to stop the car in a park
9. Scrapes or dents on the car, mailbox or garage.
10. Increased agitation or irritation when driving.
11. Failure to notice important activity on the side of the road. i.e. road workers, children
12. Failure to notice traffic signs. i.e.speed changes, school crossings any signage
13. Trouble navigating turns. i.e. missing the street and running up the gutters
14. Driving at inappropriate speeds. i.e. too slow or too fast for the conditions
15. Not anticipating potential dangerous situations.
16. Uses a “copilot.” i.e. relying upon passenger to tell them where to go, road conditions
17. Bad judgment on making turns.
18. Near misses.
19. Delayed response to unexpected situations.i.e. can not brake quick enough
20. Moving into wrong lane.
21. Difficulty maintaining lane position.
22. Confusion at exits.
23. Ticketed moving violations or warnings.
24. Getting lost in familiar places.
25. Car accident.
26. Failure to stop at stop sign or red light.
27. Confusing the gas and brake pedals.
28. Stopping in traffic for no apparent reason.
All of these are signs it’s time to stop and I do realise some are repetitive but please let me know what you’ve discussed.
Sometimes other people’s safety does not come into it, as the person may not be aware of this nor want to become aware of it, so I leave that argument out.
Dementia in a loved one is another kettle of fish and I advise you to go across to @KateSwaffer my friends great blog and Dementia Alliance International to get great advice




Animals and Ageing

I have for the last 12 months struggled between guilt and love, I have a beautiful Golden Retriever named Pete, who for the past 16 or so years has and is a loyal, loving friend who has developed arthritis in his hips and has taken to not being able to stand or walk quickly and he poops where ever. The medical term is “walk, sit and drop syndrome”

I can tell when he is about to as the only indication is he lifts his tail, sometimes I can get him outside in time but others especially at night he doesn’t realize he has done it. The smell of dog pooh wafts up and we both know one of us has to get up and deal with it. Pete for all of his life has slept on a mattress on the floor of my bedroom, with the occasional stint on the bed and in his compound outside at the farm if we go away. We abandoned that as he aged as he doesn’t wander off the farm now he sleeps by the door on his mattress waiting for us.

Over winter he started to do this every night and as he has moved to sleeping by the door or next to my bed, off his mattress so it is me that gets up to deal with it. We can sometimes leave him out all day for over 14 hours and he will come in lie down and within an hour poop. Lately it has turned to 3 times per night and I have to admit I now can’t do it any longer.

I feel guilty at putting him outside as he walks around the house going to each door, front door, lounge doors, bedroom door, rear lounge where the cat flap is and to the laundry door and barks, He will even lay down on the grass and bark, I have gotten up from my office a couple of times as he won’t stop (his record is 1 hour) to ensure he is ok.

Even his friend Matilda the cat who use to sleep with him has found better, by better I mean cleaner digs to sleep in without the smell or the substance. He has on one occasion gotten her with his poop. Pete also has this week (2 nights) been disorientated and I have found him struggling to get off the treadmill, I have no idea how he got on it but I was on Friday at 130am thinking I was going to have to get a night light for him in the bathroom so he can get up drink and not get lost in the night.

I had a day and night with him yesterday and last night, I left him out all day whilst I cleaned the house, floors and carpets and cleaned up 4 “oopsies” as my husband says – all done outside but by the doors so flies and the smell waft in, I let in him at 930pm and I was up to him at 1am – cleaned up put him out, let him back in at 3am – cleaned up at 330am and then shunted him out at 530am, where he slept against the bedroom screen door and pooped, so I had to clean that up.

I have woken and decided I don’t want to do it any more, broken sleep, dog poop and feeling resentful towards him. At least outside it is still outside, not on the tiles or carpet. It is time for me to move him out, the weather is better and even if it was cold, we have bought him a lambs wool jacket that we put on him in winter and he has a fleecy lined bedding.

He is very much loved and wanted and I want to allow him to age gracefully and fully medicated (arthritis medication) I want to be able to go bed and not worry about dog poop, I know I will have guilt for a couple of days as he will bark, he will want to come in and be at my feet but I will spend time with him outside and I suspect tonight – going to be his first night out will be the hardest.

Pete on his day bed..

Pete on his day bed..

Pete & Matlida - she sleeps away from him but touching him when she can

Pete & Matlida – she sleeps away from him but touching him when she can