He’s got his sweet face on. Such a good looking man but he gets grumpy with me sometimes because I don’t want to take certain drugs that my research says are detrimental to brain health. I’ve changed my diet drastically – no processed sugars or carbohydrates which has brought my blood pressure and weight down and I’m eating stuff that is as healthy as I can afford - but I won’t take the Statins!
He asks why I’m being assessed. I tell him that I’d notified the DVLA that I had Mild Cognitive Impairment.
‘Why did you do that?’ he asks.
‘Because it’s a legal requirement only nobody thought to tell me.’
‘But you can still drive with MCI.’
‘Well, the DVLA list doesn’t specify level of severity, it’s just listed as Cognitive Impairment (since changed this year to Cognitive Problems). I put on the form that it was mild but I guess that because it’s been over a year since the original diagnosis the DVLA need to know it hasn’t got any worse. They should have been notified back then. If I’d been involved in an accident I could have been fined £1000 whether it was my fault or not.’
I’m trying hard not to lay the blame at anyone’s door but really I do feel aggrieved. Not just on account of my own case but how many people are there out there who have been diagnosed with MCI but the DVLA have never been informed? These people are quite likely getting worse but unless they’ve returned to their doctor for re-assessment, are probably still to be found behind the wheel of a car. It really is a grey area that needs greater clarification, in my opinion.
The doctor says nothing and neither is he making a move to retrieve a copy of the mini mental test off the computer. He turns his attention to the form he has in front of him and asks if he can see my driving licence to take the details from it. More importantly he’s still smiling. Ten minutes into a thirty minute appointment and I’m good to go.
I guess the fact that I’m still relatively articulate has helped to reassure him that I still have most of my marbles in place. A few have rolled away but they’re not ‘driving marbles’ purely ‘memory marbles’ which affects my driving in that I’ve forgotten where B & Q is situated. When I first moved to Kent some six years ago, I was in B & Q nearly every week. I could have driven there blindfolded. Now, I can’t remember how to get there and I have to resort to satellite navigation. This applies to any places I used to be able to drive to, without hesitation or deviation, if I haven’t done the trip for a while. Anything new, whether it’s read, written or simply told to me, I will likely forget once I’ve slept. Sleeping appears to wipe the brain clean of new information, so your secrets are safe with me because within twenty four hours I’ll have forgotten them.
Stuff I’ve known forever and still use frequently is still intact so driving is safe for now. I try to drive most days to keep it current and the locations I visit are well known to me and returned to often.
The DVLA however has played the ‘cautious card’ and on receipt of the doctor’s information my driving licence was revoked and I’ve been issued with a new licence that expires in twelve months. They will re-assess my situation again then.
Initially I was depressed by this result – the GP had seemed so sure that there wasn’t going to be a negative outcome. But as I’m typing this, my car is in the garage for an annual service and MOT and the garage has just rung to tell me that ‘Shrek’ has come out in sympathy and FAILED the MOT and the parts needed to repair him can only be obtained off E-bay!! Not an impossible situation but a £500 bill will have been reached if they complete the service as well, as there could be more problems to come. If parting with that amount of cash was a viable option, I’d probably be driving something more modern than ‘Shrek’. To repair him means going into debt but keeping my independence for at least twelve more months. Watching him go to the scrap yard would break my heart for so many reasons - except the financial one.
I was contemplating my situation and trying to think of alternative ways of getting to Sainsbury’s hence the rather frivolous pictures of various modes of transport, when the lovely man from the garage rang. He’d been thinking.
“If we just give the car the once over to make sure there’s no other major issue, apart from what the MOT threw up. We can postpone the service and the advisory repairs until later in the year, that’ll bring the immediate cost down quite a bit. How does that sound?”
Beautiful people come in all shapes and sizes - and occupations.