Song: “Washington Square” by the Village Stompers
So… I don’t remember everything that happened yesterday but it wasn’t too bad at all.
My Dr C appointment went pretty well. She even commented that I made more eye contact with her yesterday than I have since she got back. I still had the flop sweat thing going and wanted to get home but those feelings weren’t quite as… demanding? Intense? Immediate? as they usually are. I think that’s a good thing.
I also spoke with her about something that happened last Wednesday evening when J and I were on our way home from my Dr W appointment. I haven’t told very many people about this, but it had been snowing all day, visibility wasn’t great, and J had had a pretty crappy day at work. We were on our way home (in the dark), and J began to feel ill. She pulled over to take a bit of a rest, and I asked her if she wanted me to take over. I think she was surprised but she said sure and I drove us the rest of the way home.
It’s the first time in almost a year that I’ve driven faster than 5km/h but it went alright. I wasn’t happy about it (and was very relieved when we got home), but I was able to concentrate on the road and the vehicle and got us home in one piece. I only had to change lanes once (which was hard) and traffic wasn’t too bad.
Dr C asked me about what was different, and I think it came down to a couple of things, the first one being that J wasn’t feeling well and needed my help. Also, we were heading home. I think if we had been heading toward Dr W’s office, I wouldn’t have been able to do it, but knowing that I was trying to get back to my safe place helped. We also had to get home somehow. Another point is that I grew up out in the country and I learned to drive on gravel roads and highways, and I used to drive myself to school on the days the school buses weren’t running. Highway driving in crappy conditions is right in my wheelhouse. Another thing that you learn if you do a lot of highway driving is that while it’s safer to pull over if something’s wrong, sitting for a while on the side of a highway in poor visibility isn’t a good idea if you can help it.
She also asked me how I felt about it when we got home. Yes, there was a part of me that was pleased that I had been able to help J out for once, but the vast majority of my brain cycles were spent on being grateful that we were home in one piece and that I needed to get inside, posthaste.
I’m afraid to think of it as anything other than a one-off right now – the next morning I was back to having my usual trouble sitting in the truck, but that’s okay. It’s nice to know that despite not driving and being afraid of it, my actual driving skills haven’t completely rotted away.
One other thing about this whole thing is that for some reason (I’m not sure why), I wore my glasses. Since I don’t do any driving I don’t wear them anymore except to watch TV, but for some reason I wore them on Wednesday. I have my own opinion on why I wore them, but I will let the “God was watching out for you” people argue with the “it was chemical and electrical signalling within your hippocampus” people and the “it was just a coincidence” people. Let me know when you come to an agreement.
The bottom line is that Dr C was pleased that I was able to put aside the doubts and crowd noise and concentrate on being in the present long enough to get us home safely. In that respect, I am pleased too, but I don’t think it’s something I can count on being able to do yet. Soon, hopefully, but not yet.
But enough of that. In the cab on my way home from the appointment, I had a delightful chat with the driver. It wasn’t so much a “chat” as it was a “one-way conversation”, because all I did was point at the cab number on the dash and grunt that it was very low, and I learned all about him coming here from India back in the 90s and where he was from and that he goes home pretty frequently and rides a bike and how long the flights were. He was very friendly and pleasant and I learned quite a bit in the short ride home. I wonder now if he maybe had experience with anxiety or people who have it and knew what to do to make the ride as pleasant as possible.
More taxi rides should be like that.