Saturday, 9 July 2011

Driving issues

The good thing about blogging as a hobby is that I can do it without going anywhere.

My son chose my netbook computer on the basis that the keys were big enough for me to type comfortably, but the whole thing was small and light enough that I could type while lying in bed. (Today, I've got as far as sitting at my desk, right next to the bed - impressive effort huh?)

While I'm blogging, my brain is working, but the rest of me is still resting. It helps to fight the boredom of fatigue, and to keep away the dreaded brain fog (where thinking is slowed down to about a quarter of normal pace, and no thought is actually clear enough to catch and hold on to.)

On the other hand, because it takes some concentration, it does take up some of my precious energy allowance for the day. But it takes relatively little.

At the other end of the scale of mental activity - is driving. This one takes such a heightened level of concentration, that it takes out of my energy budget the same amount as a physical activity like an aerobics workout might.  (OK - I wouldn't do an aerobics workout - joints would creak ominously and I'd be afraid something would snap completely. I would not want to try to explain the results to my specialist, nor would I want to live with the consequences.)

I'm OK with driving. My doctor tells me I don't need to get the special medical permit or whatever it is. I just have to know when I've had enough. (Like everything!)  So if we're going somewhere together, I'd prefer if you drove, especially if it's a long way.

What I did have to do was change my old manual car for an automatic. My left side is my worst - and my left shoulder used to hate changing gears. The effort to concentrate on driving is one thing, the effort to concentrate on driving while trying to ignore the distraction of an incredibly painful shoulder is something different! (If you're reading this from somewhere they drive on the wrong side of the road - eg America - our cars are built the opposite way around to yours.)

I'm rediscovering public transport. A train, if I can get a seat and don't have to stand holding something for balance and feeling pain increasing as the journey continues, is a great way to get from place to place in relative comfort.

Train carriages do have those seats that are reserved for people with disabilities, the elderly, or pregnant people, and those seats are usually full of fit and healthy-looking people. But I don't feel confident to say to any of those fit and healthy-looking people, "You can't see it, but I have a disability and I need a seat."  I'm a healthy-looking person in my 40s - how do I know those people aren't really every bit as in need of the seat as I am? I also have the experience of having caught trains when I was heavily pregnant, and knowing that the only people who would offer me a seat then were women whose level of sympathy indicated they'd been in the same position. Full credit to Queensland Rail for giving me discount fares - but that doesn't come with a sign saying "give me one of the priority seats".

If I can get a seat, the train is great.

I'm not so good with buses. That's not the fault of Brisbane City Council's bus service - I must say that. Like the trains, I get discount fares, and if I can get a seat they're usually OK. But I've had the odd experience on a bus where  the driver's taken a corner sharply and I've been thrown across the seat, and had to grab something to avoid ending up on the floor. This of course, wrenches wrists and shoulders, and jars the back and hips. So, on a couple of occasions, I've gone somewhere by bus and really wished I'd taken the car.  Some years back there was a move to have seat belts on all buses. I don't know whatever happened to that, but it would be a really good idea.

So blogging's great. I don't have to go anywhere. I don't have to contend with the level of concentration needed for dealing with traffic. I don't have to hang on for dear life. I don't have to stand in the sun and wonder if the bus will be on time. All I have to do is watch that the cat that keeps walking across my keyboard doesn't type some obscenity in the middle of my blog!

1 comment:

  1. Hi Iris, Similar story, been off work since August 12, every now and then I wake up and think "Yes" I feel really good. Go out to feed the chooks and maybe hang some washing and boom, right back to crap again. Alot of day's I don't even have the energy to keep talking to visitors or taking calls. I will make myself drive to the doctors a very short trip and stop in to do a little grocery shopping on the way home...errrrrrrrrrrr, very exhausting most times. I like to drive and I believe that it makes me concentrate as driving was my work background. Not at all keen on public transport in Melbourne, "cattle trains" lolol. How do you handle the heat up there?. It's knocking me flat at the moment with the sudden heat waves.
    Take Care :)

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