10 July 2008

I'm waiting for a couple friends, who are supposed to come over in about fifteen minutes.

We were going to go to my water aerobics class, and I even told the instructor yesterday that I was bringing two friends, but I guess we're going hiking/exploring instead.

My town has totally free bus service. Completely free, whether you're using the regular bus route or the Dial-A-Ride, which is a door to door service. Isn't that amazing? It goes along with the no library fines policy and many other fine features.

Anyway, suddenly, using the bus is very popular, with gas prices so high. My son has used the dial a ride before. And yesterday, I saw it at the pool. And I realized it might be the answer to some of our problems. See, I am not supposed to be driving, because of my health problems. I've had to sign a form a few times saying I understood that I'm not safe to drive and would not hold my doctor responsible if I did so and had any problems. Although I feel safe to drive, I realize two things.

1.If I have an accident, my insurance company will probably look up medical records, see that form, and refuse payment.

2. Drunk people also often think they're ok to drive when they're not.

So my husband does a lot of leaving work to come home for me, especially for my pool classes, and that is not only inconvenient but a huge waste of gas.

I went up to the dial a ride bus driver, who was just sitting there waiting for someone, and asked what the number was. The number used to be posted on the bus itself, but no longer. She gave me a card.

Today I called, and was told that the dial a ride became so popular that they now have a policy that allows seniors and people with a documented disability to reserve it up to three days ahead of time. Everyone else is free to call on the day of service and see if there's availability. This increased popularity must be why they took the number off the bus itself.

So I decided I'd just figure out where the regular bus stopped near our new house, and I looked on the map. The bus stop is what looks like a 25 minute walk, mostly through the woods, hopefully on a trail, from our new place. So the hike my friends and I will be taking is to find our way from the house to the bus stop.

The thing is, though, that I do two hours of water aerobics at the pool, and adding 50 minutes of woods walking to that may leave me wanting to nap the rest of the day.

I mentioned this to my husband, and he reminded me that being told not to drive by a doctor is probably considered a documented disability. So I called the dial a ride number and asked what they needed to document a disability. They said a note from a doctor would be good, and that I would just keep it on me and have it ready to show to any new driver who might not recognize me.

So I called the doctor's office and asked about this and the customer care woman said definitely, I did qualify for this service, and that she would put a document in the mail for me to carry.

This means that in a few days, I will have door to door transportation at my service! For free! My husband seems thrilled, of course.

My friends and I will still go exploring today, though because

1. My son will want to use the bus route from our house; he usually bikes, but the bus will be handy for rainy or snowy days. I'll be able to just walk him once along the trail (which I hope is there) to the bus stop, and then he'll know the way.

2. My friend Crystal will be coming later this month to stay with us until late August, and since she does not have a documented disability, we'll only be able to use the dial a ride if it's available for her on the days we want to use it. She could just drive my car, of course, but I'm not sure she knows how to drive a stick shift.

So I feel great, like I just solved a tricky problem that had been inconveniencing my husband so much (although he'd never complain). It's a little weird to have to face up to having a documented disability, right on top of having to face up to needing to be put on medical leave from work for a year. There is a big part of me that keeps trying to pretend I'm not really very sick at all. But it's still nice to have solved a dilemma.

1 comment:

Debi said...

You know, there I was reading along, thinking, "Wow, how cool." "How cool." "How cool." Because frankly, it does sound like you live in an awesome area! But then I got the the bottom paragraph, and I realized that while, yes, the bus service and all is really cool, it just sucks to think of the reason you need it. I know I've said it before, and I certainly don't want to sound trite, but I just so admire the way you deal with everything! I would only hope that I could be half as strong, and keep it together half as well as you seem to if I was in your shoes.