At 84 the spirit of adventure seems to be limited to fighting with your daughter and proving her wrong at every turn. Including, apparently, bigging up your ability to find the local hospital when you know full well you can only find three places in the car – your GP (handily next to Morrisons), Tesco (fancies the pensioner who collects the trolleys, goes every day, despite being able to find Morrisons, which is nearer) and my house.
Recently my mother was told by her GP that she needed to have her driving skills assessed. She was duly, and angrily, taken out on the road by a former police officer and member of the advanced institute of motorists. I spoke to him later, he pronounced her ‘competent.’ In my mother’s version she had been told she was ‘superb’. Either way, lovely for her, she can carry on driving.
However it seems to have massively boosted her confidence. Not sure that’s a good thing. She announced that ‘as you can’t come with me…. to the hospital appointment, I’ll just go myself.’
I asked how she’d get there – in a cab? The reply was, she’d drive. I asked about five times if she was sure she could find it before giving up. My plan had been to order her a cab, and pay for it. I’d planned my work day around her memory clinic appointment at 3.30pm which was then cancelled, and the ‘falls clinic’ materialised as a 1.30 appointment on the same day. Either way I was stuffed, couldn’t go.
The night before her appointment I got a distressed call from my mother. She’d decided to do a dry run the day before, so she’d know where she was going.
‘I’ve got one of those books, you know, with places in it.’
‘You mean a map,’ I said.
‘Yes, one of those.’
The call came at 9pm by the way.
‘I’ve just got in, oh it’s been dreadful, that motorway goes on for ever.’
‘What motorway? What were you doing?’
‘I tried to get to the hospital. I’d written it all down but I just had to keep coming back to the house and setting off again.’
‘What time did you leave the house?’
Ahhhh. So she’d been driving for five hours trying to find a hospital that is approx. 20 minutes from her front door.
‘So I’ll give you some money for a cab then, for tomorrow? And why didn’t you just ring on your mobile if you were lost.’
‘I haven’t got a mobile’
‘Yes you have’
‘I’ve NEVER had a mobile’
‘Well how come I’ve got your phone number then?’