ON MY WAY TO NOWHERE
19 July 2003
Well, it was another red letter day. I rode 5 minutes on the exercise bike!!!
The knee isn't completely normal, but it felt improved enough that I decided to try it.
It didn't immediately feel like my knee was going to split open, so I set the timer and
pedaled for 5 minutes. I may not have gone anywhere, but at least I was on a bike
seat again. Tomorrow, if the knee seems to have handled today's 5 minutes--10 minutes. I
finally feel like I'm noticeably coming back.
This long period of inactivity and being semi-housebound has gotten me thinking about
the questions that are being raised in the wake of that terrible accident in Santa Monica
yesterday. It bothers me that the 84 year old who was driving for three blocks through a crowded outdoor market
before stopping, said that he didn't realize what he'd done, and was smiling when released
by the police.
I remember when my uncle Bill was alive. Bill had macular degeneration and had lost his
central vision, yet he continued to drive and the DMV gave him a license! He said
he only drove around the small town where he lived and he took my aunt (who had
Alzheimers) with him to read signs for him. Literally the blind leading the blind.
But there didn't seem to be any way that the family could get through to him the danger
he was on the road, how he could kill someone just backing out of his driveway.
There didn't seem to be anybody to report him to. He knew how to play the game. And he
I'm sorry that he died, but I'm relieved that he died without killing anybody first.
But by the same token, I look at my mother, who is the age of the guy who caused the
havoc in Southern California. She is an extremely competent driver and drives everywhere.
She's probably safer behind the wheel than I am.
What's the answer. Being without wheels and beholdin' to the kindness of others for all
of my transportation has given me a better insight into the blow it is to lose your
independence. I know I will eventually have my arm back...if age restrictions are placed
on older drivers, they will not be so fortunate.
And yet, an age restriction would have kept my uncle off the streets, and kept this guy
off the streets.
It's a very thorny issue and who knows which is the right answer?
I am not one who asks for help easily. I've called people a couple of times when I had
no other recourse, but it sure has been nice having Jeri around for the past few days. She
came to visit some friends, to spend time with her grandmother, and to help out around
here. Not bad--all the way from Boston!
It's been so nice to be able to get errands run and to have someone to take me to the
dentist today. Originally, I thought I'd just walk, but that was a thought I had when I
first had the accident, not realizing that it was going to be about 106 today!
But my teeth are all cleaned now. They needed a good cleaning, too, since with my
"brushing hand" immobile, I have not done a good job by the pearly whites.
I like Cindy's hygienist, Sarah, who cleans my teeth. Poor thing. She first got me in
the chair and lowered it and I realized that the chair supports the center of your
back, but that left my shoulder hanging, so she had to find a prop to put under my
Then after the first bit of brushing, she gave me water, sat me up and told me to spit.
Only problem is that the spitting bowl is on the left--the side I'm bound up on. I looked
at the bowl and tried to figure out how I could do it. I finally thought I'd try
projectile spitting, and hoped my aim was good, but instead I ended up sending a stream of
water up over the bowl and all over the cupboard and the floor. Sarah was very nice about
it...but she used the vacuum after that for sucking up all excess fluid in my mouth.
Tonight we're off to the theatre so I can review "Footloose, the Musical." I
never saw the original movie. I'm not sure if this is a good thing or a bad thing. But the
good thing is that the review won't be due until Monday morning, so I can actually come
home from the theatre and go to sleep, not sit up writing until the wee small hours of the
In the morning, I'm going to try 10 minutes on the exercise bike. With luck, by the end
of next week I'll have worked my way up to pedaling through a whole movie--that will give
me plenty of exercise for the rest of my rehabilitation, even if I'm not actually going
anywhere doing it!