It is now five days since I was in hospital and finally my throat has stopped being sore when I swallow; my head however continues to be a bit woolly. My balance is off and I am stumbling a bit on occasion which is unnerving. I have also noticed that my decision making process is slower and my spatial judgement seems to be impaired. This latter two issues are perhaps the most dangerous aspects of my situation because driving a car requires good 3-D spatial awareness I think (well it does for the way I drive a car) and any decision I make as a driver can have a devastating affect not only on my passengers but also on other road traffic.
Last night I drove down to Edinburgh to a Rodgers and Hammerstein concert at my son’s university. The community orchestra played and the community choir were singing (one guy did both, though not at the same time) and I think it’s lovely to see young students taking part alongside retired people and all ages in between. I also love the songs. I find them such great fun to sing (though I tried to contain myself at the concert though I did hum a bit). I also love the overtures because they have flashes of the songs of the musical. It was a concert I enjoyed immensely and one where I wanted to be in the choir rather than in the audience. I really should try to sort out something to go to singing wise.
My first misjudgement was in fitting in a parking bay. It may seem ridiculous, but I drove into the parking bay and stopped way too short. Even though I was perfectly positioned to the side lines I had a feeling I needed to move forward more, after a few seconds of thinking about this and just before people opened doors, I moved the car forward maybe a couple of feet. Getting out of the car, I was proved right, I did indeed need to move forward.
Now I realise that there are many people out there that are less fastidious about their parking but I hate not given the cars parked around me as much space as I can, as well as give me and my passengers as much space as I can; I want to make it easy for everyone to get out of their cars, and I also don’t want car doors denting the adjacent car. In my head anybody not parking centrally in the bay receives a spark of righteous anger, though it is so common nowadays that I probably reserve that to people that park across bay lines. I also find it annoying when shops deliberating make parking bays smaller to fit more bays in, when in general, cars continue to get bigger. As for garage sizes and doors, just don’t go there.
Let’s return to misjudgements. Driving back from the concert I twice cut in front of a car I thought I was way passed. The first time occurred when we were approaching the Fourth Road Bridge. Because of repairs to the bridge only one side of it was being used so a contraflow was in operation. Now for the last year or so, roadworks have been going on around the existing bridge so that the new Queensferry Crossing Bridge can be incorporated into the traffic network. This has meant that a three lane approach to the Fourth Bridge has been coned down to two lanes to cross it. As I approached the Fourth Bridge I was in the outside lane of the two lanes, so I expected to cruise straight over the bridge.
Whilst I saw the cones reducing the lane in front of me, I did not comprehend at first that the two lanes were being reduced to one. By the time I realised, I was just ahead of a car on my inside and rapidly running out of lane, I accelerated quickly and changed over to the inside line, but I was obviously too close for the car behind because he hooted me. I made two errors here, not only did I fail to read the road ahead correctly, I decided to continue overtaking when the safest thing to do would have probably been to decelerate and tuck in behind the car on the inside lane.
I don’t make these kinds of mistakes normally. I know I upset some drivers who want to pass me because I make sure there is plenty of space before I pull in when overtaking, I know they are frustrated because they feel the need to drive right up to my car boot. This has actually the opposite effect of making me feel that I want to slow down and even quickly put on my breaks though I don’t do either and just carry on at my steady speed because I don’t want to be involved in a crash just because someone is trying to bully me.
Can you see how my driving was effected last night? This fogginess in my brain isn’t because I am tried, I wake up with it, but I do hope it is diminishing. At least my wife has the car for the next two days so there will be no temptation to pop down and do the messages.
I did however ride my bike this morning, not on any main roads I hasten to add, only on cycle lanes, paths or quiet country lanes. My legs didn’t feel strong at first but they responded fine to the demands made and showed that my weakness feeling seems to originate from my head rather than physical injury. The only error in judgement I make was getting too close to the edge of a driveway and rather than looking where I wanted to go, I continued to stare at what I was worried about sinking into and of course I rode into the shallow ditch rather than avoid it. Thankfully I was able to stop quickly without falling off the bike.
We had coffee (or tea) and scones at our destination, a local farm shop. The tea was lovely and the scone freshly baked and superb. In fact it was lovely to be outside full stop. It was so beautiful with blue skies and the low sun really highlighting the autumn landscape, and it just nice to chat with friends. Coming home, the rain was threatening and made the landscape so much drearier. It is much easier to go out for a ride when it is sunny.
I went to bed as soon as I got back so as to make sure I didn’t get unwell. I don’t think I slept but I did lay there thinking for an hour or so and it was productive and creative. After lunch I typed this. I hope the exercise helps accelerate the washing out the fogginess from my mind.