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Allowed to drive again
simple things that we take for granted
Tomorrow it is six weeks after surgery. And I am allowed to drive again. Not that I have particularly anywhere to drive to, but it is wonderful to have the option back and the ability to exercise the choice.
Driving is such a wonderful privilege. Something that I have enjoyed since I was 16 and it has been more than 40 years of utilizing this privilege. Through a host of countries and local states/provinces. I have had driving licenses in India, Singapore, Texas, New Jersey, California, New Brunswick, and now Ontario. I have driven on both sides of the road and I still do (depending on the country I am in). I started with a motorcycle license graduating to driving cars. Both stick shifts and automatics. There is a ton of nostalgia and pride in being able to drive around.
This is only the second time in my life that I was forced to stop driving. In 2013, I was diagnosed of having sleep apnea and over a two-year period weaned myself off my CPAP machine with a 60-pound weight loss. Even during that time in spite of my sleep issues, I was not considering a driving risk.
Subsequently, however in 2016, I was consulting in the US every week and therefore missed a scheduled follow-up sleep test review. The doctor was kind enough to suspend my driver’s license by writing to the provincial authority. The insult to injury was that I had overcome the problem cleared and confirmed by tests earlier and the subsequent follow-up tests also came back negative.
The process of doing the follow-up test, and getting the necessary paperwork to the province and its various departments took six months for the license to be reinstated. It was a painful time where I managed with my family members driving me around, coupled with Uber and cabs (and buses, trains, and subways) to compensate, but the lack of my ability be able to drive was an unnecessary burden and limitation. That was a painful period.
This time, I had been confident that I could drive ably for more than two weeks but refrained from doing so. I just wanted to make sure that I honor the commitment of not driving until this six-week period was complete.
I know that change is coming and in my lifetime the concept of autonomous driving vehicles are going to change the landscape of the automobile industry. So, I am not sure what the privilege of a driver’s license is going to be in the next couple of decades. Until then, and while I can, I am going to surely enjoy it again… starting tomorrow.