I was scooting from one patient’s room to another in our clinic the other day as it was a busy day for me. Our schedule was full and our clinic was busting at the seams with patients. I think that’s good. Not good that many people are sick, but good in the sense of job security.
Then in one stretch of time in the afternoon, I saw three nonagenarians (person in their 90’s) back to back, to back. They were there for asthma follow-up and regular check-up.
Two patients were both 94-year-old ladies, and one patient was a gentleman who was 93. If you don’t look at their records and peek at their birth dates, you would think they were much younger. Decades younger.
All of them were in remarkable shape despite their advanced age. They will put to shame some of my 40 or 50-year-old patients.
All of them still live independently. All of them were spry and sharp, and were still quite active. And all of them still drive. Not drive their family crazy. But they still drive a car! In my opinion, there’s no reason why they cannot.
I know that driving nowadays is getting easier and easier. With most of our cars with automatic transmission, it does not take a lot of skill to drive a car. And now with our advancing technology, there are “smart” cars that will automatically stop and avoid collision, or keep you in lane, or adjust your distance to the cars in front of you, or warn you of your blind spot, or cars that even park itself.
I know not very long from now, we will have self-driving cars, which are already being tested, cruising in all our highways. Then driving ability and skill will not even be necessary.
But still having a very old person at the back of a steering wheel can be a scary thought. If you think about a frail 90-year-old lady with failing eyesight, very poor reflexes and perhaps lapsing memory too, barreling down the road in a big Buick, and you’re in the crossroad, and you wonder if old grandma will be oriented enough to release her foot off the gas and step on the brake. Will she be able to stop in time not to run you over?
Back to my patients, out of curiosity I asked one of my 94-year-old lady patient what kind of car she drives. A vintage automobile perhaps?
She told me proudly that she drives a bright yellow, German-made, convertible with an accompanying vanity plate. I bet you with a car like that she does not drive slow like a grandma.
Great grandma was still driving in style!
When I came to examine the other 94-year-old lady, I was more than curious to ask what car she drives. As a jest I asked her if she also drives a convertible? Her answer blew me away.
She told me that she used to drive a convertible until 2 years ago, but traded it for a more subdued style of car. She does not care about convertible anymore as it just messes her hair.
Yet she said that she cannot give up though the type of car that she was used to drive, all these years. So even though it was not a convertible, it was still this kind. What kind?
She still drives a stick shift! Ageless indeed.