Anyone who is friends with me on face book already knows this of course but I thought I must tell blog-followers. Two years ago when I was told that I had 12-18 months (statically) to live and would not be able to drive for 2 years I laughed. The oncologist smiled faintly – “We do get people driving again,” she said, but is was said in the sense ‘It’s not unheard of’ rather than ‘(most)people do get there.’
I put it out of my mind and got on with getting a craniotomy, a new bike, and a bus pass (If you are medically unfit to drive you can get a free bus pass from the council). I sold my car and turned the drive into a patio.
In January this year I started nagging the DVLA. You need to get them to send you a form, fill it in and send it back; when they receive it, they then send one to your oncologist, she fills it in and sends it back. Then you wait… and wait…. and wait. I tried to short circuit this by offering to send the letter and form from the doctor with my form but no – it had to be the long way round.
I finally got impatient a couple of weeks ago and rang them (again). They refused to guess how much longer it would take.
I was not going to give up. Much more nagging:
“It’s in a queue.”
“how long is the queue?”
“can you check how far I’ve got?”
“No, but you will be marked as urgent”
Eventually the guy on the end of the line buckled and told me (somewhat conspiratorialy as if he wasn’t supposed to say this) that under section 88 of the DVLA act, if you have a letter from your oncologist saying you are fit to drive you can go ahead and drive as long as you know the DVLA are processing the licence. I got in touch with the oncologist’s secretary and got him to persuade my oncologist to write a letter to me… when she got back from holiday.
I tried to tell myself that I had been content for 2 years a few more days wasn’t going to make much difference, but one frustrating morning, having been out on my bike on a fruitless errand, and been hailed on on the way back, i arrived home for the first time rather cross that this was my lot. A simple errand that would have taken 10 minutes by car had taken all morning.
I dumped the bike and head in to thaw out with a cup of tea. And there it was in the mailbox.
I suggest, if you have a GBM (or similar) you do it too – it’s not so difficult. It takes no special talent. Maybe if we all do it they will change to stupid rules. Refusing to let us drive ‘in case of a fit’ is a bit like not allowing us to lock the bathroom door incase you have a fit in the bath. Oh, wait, I did get advised to do that … but FOR THE FIRST WEEK AFTER SURGERY, NOT 2 YEARS!!