I Save a Life Every Day

Sharing Stories

Pat Gustavson

My title might sound a bit arrogant. But it is true. Arrogant or not.

I sold Elsa my CRV for a wealthy price. She’d been my friend for ten years, sleek in pale blue. Why did I have to do it?

The culprit I had been expecting has arrived: I drove blindly into a cement barrier on the freeway. A gray shadow has developed over my green/gray eyes—darting in and out of my normal vision.

I drove home with Elsa’s crushed fender dangling on her side: Police also followed me home.

What If I maimed or killed a child…or anyone?

I promised myself never to drive again.

I wondered where I’d inherited this problem. My still young parents died of heart disease, not eye issues. However, my sister had the same disease as I have—Macular Degeneration and is from my mother’s side of the family. Two cousins also have inherited the disease.

As we grew older, I watched the disease progress in my sister’s hazel eyes. After consulting with my doctor: I discovered I have the less progressive kind of Macular Degeneration.

Silent tears roll down my cheeks. Me…a writer with vision problems? I am attempting to remain positive.

Fortunately, I have been introduced to a new transportation. It is the local bus services. One is the bus service at the senior facility where I live; the other is Access buses for the entire community.

The weeks have passed, I’m still learning the routes and the dispatchers have been helpful.

When I feel depressed, grieving for my lost vision and Elsa, I think of the lives I save by not driving.

Patricia Gustavson is a retired Washingtonian whose historical novel, set in Issaquah, Abigail’s Valley, is about a young nurse.

SHARING STORIES is a weekly column for and about the 50 plus crowd living in the Puget Sound region. Send your stories and photos to ariele@comcast.net. Tell local or personal stories; discuss concerns around aging and other issues; share solutions, good luck, and reasons to celebrate; poems are fine too. Pieces may be edited or excerpted. We reserve the right to select among pieces. Photos are always a plus and a one-sentence bio is requested (where you live, maybe age or career, retired status, etc.).

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