On 9 March 2011 I wrote to the DVLA informing them of my MS diagnosis; enclosing my photo licence as instructed. Precisely 1 year and 2 months later, on 3 May 2012, I received a letter back to say that my application had been approved and that I would be issued with a short-term driving licence, valid for the next 3 years. So what exactly happened during those 14 months? A lot as it happens, on a personal level I found myself engaged and swiftly married with the addition of 2 cats and a car of my own. On a medical level, even more (I had finally begun life-enhancing infusions of Tysabri for a start).
Anyone in possession of a chronic medical condition and indeed a driving licence will be all too aware of the lengthy process involved in renewing a licence every 3 years. It’s actually painful. You’ll wait months in between correspondence firstly telling you that the DVLA are assessing your fitness to drive based on the questionnaire they sent you, next that they have written to your consultant and your GP, neither of whom have replied – in fact perhaps you could nudge them along for us because a decision will not be made without their input… as if drs didn’t have enough to deal with; they must be inundated with requests of this sort! As well as all this you may find yourself having to undergo examinations carried out by independent experts of their choosing. If, like me, you suffer with Optic Neuritis you will have been through similar eye tests where they do everything short of taking out your eyeballs to determine your fitness to drive. I probably sound more bitter than I mean to here – it’s actually reassuring to know the lengths at which they go to to ensure that people are fit to drive. However, all of this takes time and can be very stressful, especially the first time you go through it and you have no idea whether or not they will approve you for a new licence!
But you know what I personally find the most stressful part? Being without a physical licence. You see, I think of a driving licence as less of a licence to drive and more of a licence to drink. My driving licence is my ID, it’s my proof of who I am and proof of my age. Each time my licence is taken away from me I find myself slapping on the make-up and dressing in high heels and grown-up clothes for fear of being asked for ID when purchasing wine (see my previous post, ‘Winosaur’). Don’t get me wrong, I’m not that young and I don’t think I even look that young, but I do still find myself being questioned about my age, particularly by older people. So, on sending off my current licence to be scrutinised and hopefully renewed I have decided that this time I will (literally) dust off my original ‘proof of age’ card issued in, ahem, 2000 (is that even still valid?). So far I’m yet to need it; a sign that the wrinkles are finally starting to show (I blame the kids). But, you never know.
A thought just crossed my mind, what happens if I get pulled over by the police?…
… now, where’s that proof of age card…
2 thoughts on “Licence To Drive”
Know this one!!
Completely relate to this one. I understand that we need to be safe on the roads but the communication between Dvla with a backlog of work and my very busy consultant is not the best. No driving license means no independence – my work is 14 miles away – not easily accessible by public transport when you can’t walk well. 🙁