Laverne H. Bardy
Several years ago, my husband was diagnosed with Macular Degeneration; a condition that results in burred or no vision in the center of the visual field. It’s not uncommon in older people but while the medical field is eagerly working towards a cure, it hasn’t happened yet.
Driving was our greatest concern. We live in the country where public transportation and Uber service are non-existent. I suppose I could take over the driving but I’m not sure that would be a viable solution for either of us. First of all, I can’t drive at night anymore and second, my reflexes are not a topic I usually discuss openly, unless it’s to deny their inadequacy. Where we live wild animals run freely. I am proud to say that my driving has not yet added to the road-kill count, although I’m pretty sure I keep veterinarians busy performing CPR on terrified squirrels, chipmunks and deer who have narrowly escaped my wheels.
We enjoy being active with a large circle of friends and relatives, and not having easy access to them is a great concern. So, with our future in mind Mighty Marc did considerable research that culminated in making a huge financial investment in our future. He purchased an electric car that promised to be fully automatic in the not-too-distant future. It offers many amenities, such as being able to propel you from zero to sixty in 3.4 seconds – exactly what every eighty-four year old semi-blind man has the right to enjoy on an open road. Also, it keeps us informed with regular updates, that each contribute to making navigating simpler and safer for the driver. The ultimate self-driving amenity is not yet available but appears to be eminent in the near future.
Concerned friends ask if I’m not, perhaps, foolish to sit in the passenger seat with Marc at the wheel. I tell them I’m not frightened. He’s an intelligent, forthright man and until he tells me he doesn’t feel safe driving anymore, I will remain by his side. But, since I’m not stupid enough to totally trust what he tells me, I am confident that I’m safe because we always travel with our dog, Shadeaux, and I know there is not a chance in hell that my husband would take any risks with Shadeaux’s life.
Last week Marc, Shadeaux, and I went for a ride and at Shadeaux’s request, we stopped at Pet Smart. I waited in the car while Marc and Shadeaux went in. It was very hot outside so Marc set the car’s interior temperature to 69 degrees, to ensure my comfort while waiting for his return. He apparently pushed the wrong setting because the setting he left with me, on our enormous dashboard screen, was actually meant for when we both go into a store and leave the dog in the car. It read: MY OWNER WILL BE BACK SOON. DON’T WORRY. THE A/C IS ON AND IT’S 69 DEGREES FAHRENHEIT.
As I sat waiting for their return, a woman pulled her car into the parking space next to mine, got out of her car and couldn’t help but see the huge screen on my dashboard. She read it, glanced over at me, and appeared too embarrassed to say anything. I opened my window and put her mind at ease when I said, “He usually lets me go into the store with him, but we forgot to bring my leash.”
Laverne Bardy is the author of “Driving Backwards on a One-Way Street: A Savvy Senior’s Map to Finding Humor in Everything.” She also writes a nationally syndicated column, Laverne’s View. How to order the book, as well as general information about Laverne, can be found at lavernebardy.com.