Re-learning how to drive after a traumatic brain injury
Driving to work in the morning Friday, 8 January 2010, on my usual route and for no reason that I am aware of I drove my car into a telegraph pole about one minute away from home. I hit my head on the steering wheel and was found unconscious by neighbours who were driving behind me.
People heard the crash and called for help which arrived very quickly in the form of an ambulance and fire brigade who cut me out of my car which was destroyed.
I was airlifted to Royal North Shore Hospital where I was put into a medically induced coma for about ten days to alleviate the pressure on my brain. I was then transferred to Royal Rehab where everyone was very kind and lovely. My rehabilitation took about three to four months—I left Royal Rehab on 10 June 2010.
From the time I woke up I had two main goals which were to return to work and return to driving, initially on a restricted licence. I have achieved my goal of returning to work and I now work at the delicatessen in Woolworths at Dural. My carers transported me to and from the gym where I worked on my endurance as my employment criteria required me to have the endurance for the job. I currently work ten hours a week over three days@mdash;three hours Monday and Tuesday and four hours on Saturday. I am very happy now that I can drive to and from work.
I had trouble retaining information and I found the theoretical test on the computer at the Roads and Maritime Services (RMS) very exhausting and I had to take the test three or four times however the person at the RMS was lovely. I sat for my Driving Assessment twice, passing on my second attempt.
My Driving Rehabilitation program commenced approximately 18 months after my accident. I had some driving lessons with Gavin and Blair. The lessons focused on increasing my endurance and concentration. I could initially drive for short distances and I had a restricted licence for a 15 km radius from my home. I can now drive for about an hour but at the first sign of fatigue I pull off the road to a safe place, have a drink of water and take a break for about ten to fifteen minutes which I am happy to do as I do not want to have or cause an accident.
My return to driving program included getting a restricted licence, which I achieved after getting my Learners, Red Provisional and then Green Provisional Licence. The restricted licence was for a distance of 15 km radius from home. I achieved getting my full licence on 13 March 2015, approximately two years after my accident and I have my own vehicle.
I also want to say that Royal Rehab is brilliant and everyone has been very helpful in assisting me to achieve my goals.