Dancing in the Rain: Lessons Learned on my Personal Journey with PD (more at www.PDPlan4Life.com) Copyright 2013-16 Sheryl Jedlinski
As much as I loved my great looking sporty, fire engine red sedan with its fast acceleration, I knew it was time to give it up. The once “easy” push button start now required that I position myself on the edge of my seat to get the leverage necessary to press down hard enough on the brake pedal. Worse yet, the car is so low to the ground that my new bionic knees had to go through painful contortions every time I got in or out. I thought about having hydraulics installed to raise the car up, but that would have just created a host of other issues.
At the other end of the spectrum, my husband’s full-size SUV is too high off the ground for me. Getting in requires that I grab the handle above the door to pull myself up and then swing my body over into the front passenger seat. Following Goldilocks’ approach in The Three Bears, I went shopping for a car that was “just right” for me. My litmus test was that it be “comfort height,” like toilets that are a couple of inches higher than normal, to make sitting down and standing up easier.
My search led me to a compact SUV that even comes in ruby red, but I decided that red is not nearly as “sexy” on an SUV as on a sporty sedan or coupe. I chose metallic graphite gray that sparkles in the sunlight. This SUV has more bells and whistles than my former dream car, including the ability to parallel park itself… a skill I never acquired and welcome with open arms. Like me, it is reliable, practical, and equipped to play it safe rather than take unnecessary risks.
While I’m happy with my new vehicle, I would be less than honest if I did not admit that part of me misses my red sporty car and the image it projected. Any time we give up something we like out of necessity rather than choice, there is a loss, even if the ending is a happy one. While many of us bravely cope with much more significant loss, no loss is trivial to the person experiencing it.
It is the cumulative effect of our losses, big and small, day after day after day that takes its toll. Each loss is another reminder of the progressive, incurable nature of our disease. The key is to keep looking to tomorrow and away from yesterday, focusing on what we can do, rather than on what we can’t. For me, this means being grateful that I am still well enough to drive, allowing me to maintain my independence and quality of life.