Tuesday, March 06, 2007

84 year old Alzeimer’s patient receives driver’s license

The other day my mother was driving around doing errands. She took my father with her. She often does that, even though it makes her errands a lot harder, because my father really likes to go out for a ride in the car every day. My father has Alzeimers, and though he can remember lots of questions, he can’t remember the answers. So he keeps asking the questions. He'll get stuck on one or two questions for a couple of days, then move on to another one. That is one of several things he does which can drive you nuts if you’re around him for more than a few hours in a row. Which I rarely am, so I don’t mind it. My mother minds it.

One of the errands was to go get Pop a current ID card, so they went to the Department of Motor Vehicles. Mom handed them his old driver’s license which is many years out of date. The guy said, “You want this renewed?” My mother said, “No, he doesn’t drive any more and hasn’t driven for years. We just want an ID card instead.” So the man handed her a bunch of forms to fill out.

By this point, my mother had already been driving Pop around doing errands for quite some time. On top of that, they’d been waiting in the waiting room at the DMV, which sounds easy unless you’re in your third hour of answering the same question. So my mother, totally exhausted, said to the man, “Is there some way I can get out of here quickly without filling out a lot of forms?” And the man said, “Here, I’ll just renew it.” Renewing it costs more than getting an ID card, but it’s a lot quicker, and by this time all my mother cared about was quickness.

According to my mother’s description, they asked my father about three questions. Then they took him over to some kind of screen or viewing device and asked him whether he could see this or that. Then they took his picture, and in a few minutes he had his license.

Obviously, he’s not going to be driving. There’s no danger of that. Even if he did get a hold of the keys, it's unlikely he'd find his way to the garage. If he did, and even if he got into the driver’s seat, he wouldn’t be able to figure out what to do.

I just think it’s noteworthy that someone in this condition can end up with a driver’s license at all. Of course he wouldn’t have been able to without my mother taking him there, plus she knows he’s not going to end up in the driver’s seat of any car. The point is, what does this say about the way they check people out at the DMV?

Think of that when you’re out there riding your bike.

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At 4:01 PM, Blogger Vicki Jean said...

That's terrifying!


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