I got my 1st vehicle from a used car lot in OK in 1993 it was a 1991 metallic blue Chevy Cavalier! I got all the adaptions needed to make it independent for me to use which included hand controls and a chair topper! The hand controls consisted of a bar that came from the steering wheel and went down to the pedals. I would push the bar down for gas and in for break. A little toggle switch was on the bar and I would push it one way or the other to make the blinker go off. I had a 5th wheel on the top part of my steering wheel so that I could make full turns with one hand while keeping the other hand on the bar. The chair topper was a box on top of the car, and I would take a chain that would come down from the box and hook to the seat of my chair and take my chair up and place it inside of the box using a remote that was hooked to my battery! My torso was so short that I had to use a cushion so that I could see over the steering wheel, LOL! I am all legs (Even though I can’t walk, go figure!)! Everything is adaptable! You may have to change the way you do things a little bit it all ends up the same!!
Thank You for Being a Friend!
I would always have to have somebody with me when I needed gas to put in my car. A big shout out goes to a very mature 12-year-old young lady that lived in the apt. complex named Tiffany who would go with me to pump and pay for my gas! I would usually give her a few extra bucks so she could get anything she wants in the store (candy, soda) If I needed to have the oil changed or something like that usually Jerry was good with those things! Just about anyone that I drove with that could drive would drive my car instead of me just because I was more comfortable with them driving than me! I feared having backseat drivers!! Even if they did not say anything I knew they were thinking, “What a grandma driver she is!” There was only one time that I had problems with the chair topper on my car, and that was the day that I went to Applebee’s with Mindy so she was driving and it was raining outside! We got it fixed, but I had to leave my car at the shop for a day! Thank God I was not alone when that happened! I had some really good friends who always looked after me when driving!
Big Wheels Keep on Turning!
So before the ramp was finally put in place Mindy helped me to get off the curb in my wheelchair to my car. I was really eager to be an independent adult using my vehicle! Mindy had given me her BAG PHONE to use, and I was so grateful for it made me feel secure! For those of you that are like, “What is that?” It is a old-school cell phone that was put in a bag to carry around like a purse because it was huge! I know, I know we are old!! I was planning to drive to my old neighborhood in West Tulsa! From our apt. in Jenks it was probably a 15 minute drive (I think). It was still light enough outside but in about an hour it would have started getting dark. I chickened out and ended up going through the drive-through at McDonald’s and getting me some fries and Dr Pepper. I sat in their parking lot for a while before returning. I don’t think I ever mentioned that to them. Looking back on things I am so grateful that Mindy gave me that little push to start driving even though the ramp was not put in place yet!
On the Road Again!!
Soon I did get out and go to the old neighborhood. I hardly ever drove on the highways as I was a backstreets girl. Although sometimes I had to do what I had to do. I got to where I was kind of comfortable however, I did not like driving at night. Even now when I tell my dad where all I went he is shocked! I would make a point to go see my Grangee (dad’s mom) every once in a while. Even though she had a ramp to get up to her house it was very steep and she was not physically able to help. So she would come down and set in my car with me, bringing lunch which usually consisted of a sandwich, chips, and a soda! I loved our talks as we had some good heart-to-hearts! I was able to catch up with a lot of my family and friends that were still in OK, and go to the places that I wanted because of my car! I learned that there are always ways to work around getting to do what you really want to do! My car really gave me the freedom and the independence to do this!
I had 2, and only 2 driving mishaps while I lived in Jenks! That made me pretty darn proud of myself considering this FA I was dealing with! I will share them both with you, NO body got hurt during these mishaps!
The 1st mishap took place my 1st day at Tulsa Junior College. I was getting ready to leave out of my parking spot. The parking lot was full. I went to back out looking at rearview mirror to make sure that I was not going to run over anybody or anything. Coast was clear, or so I thought. There was a light pole behind me, but I thought it was far enough behind that there were no worries. What I did not see was that there were these cement blocks that were stair stepped and the lower they would go to the farther out they came… CRUNCH!! I did the only thing I knew to do at that point! With my eyes buggin, I looked to my left and then to my right to see if anyone had seen me then I took off like nothing happened!! The minute I got to the apt. I parked in my usual spot and looked at the damage done. I ended up breaking out the back left rear tail light. Decided to go to take a nap as it shook me up. My room was right as you come in the door on the left. I hadn’t been laid down for more than 10 mins. when Jerry comes in to ask me what happened to my car??? JIMNY CRICKET’S, can’t a girl get in the little power nap before the 3rd degree?? I could not let anything get past him, LOL!! My dad ended up getting the new taillight for me (Thanks Dad) and Jerry put it on (Thanks Jerry)!
The next mishap came from the summertime when I had picked up Mindy’s sister Amanda to go to church with me one Weds. We had just topped a busy four-lane road There were something housing additions on either side of the road, and a stop sign that was not very far from after I topped the hill. When I saw it I started slowing down but it was not quick enough… CRUNCH!! Right into the back of this really pretty black car. I felt horrible! My hood was crumbled a little, and it barely looked like it touched her car. My main concern though was that everyone was okay and did not get hurt. I rolled down my window and she gets out of her car coming to my window and says, “Do you have your registration Stephanie?” I was all SHUT THE FRONT DOOR SHE KNOWS MY NAME?? It ended up that I went to hs with her (she was a couple of grades ahead of me). Dang small world, how embarrassing! With tears in my eyes I asked if everyone was okay. She said she was okay! Amanda was doing okay. She called the police and when he arrived he got our statements into which he asked her if she was okay? She said, “My back hurts!” I was all O NO SHE DIDN’T!! I just knew at that point that my insurance was going up! So I ended up dropping Amanda off at church and going back to the apt. to ask Mindy when she got home from school if she would go to get Amanda. Luckily my cousin was a body mechanic and a shop about 40 min away! So a couple of days later I went to his house after getting lost to get my car fixed. It came out looking new, thank you Rusty! While I waited on him to fix the car I hung out with my cousin Sylvia! I even drove back completely in the dark!!
I would have done absolutely nothing different!! The feeling of driving was the icing on the cake for my independence!! There were definitely guardian angels around my car every time I drove!
Rolling on, Stephanie