Driving: Moral dilemma.

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My FIL should not drive anymore. Unfortunately, he's passed special examinations from the DMV - twice - and the last test was about a month ago. So he's sure he's a fine driver. Frankly, he has the legal backup to "prove" it. My MIL says if the DMV says he's OK, he's OK (but she's nervous). They have to make a long trip to a military base each month to pick up meds and do inexpensive shopping. These trips wear them out, so now I must go with them. Since it's on base, I can't simply run these errands for them. (My husband's slightly disabled, and there's no one else within hundreds of miles.) My FIL, of course, insists on driving - and on taking their car - and MIL backs him up. This is really getting scary, but I see no way out, and I resent being in this precarious position. Guess this is just a vent.

103 Comments

Why are you expected to do this? Is this trip really necessary for cheap goods and meds? If this guy is ok with the DMV there's no way to end the driving but you don't have to get in the car with him. You're quite right to be resentful. It might ruffle some feathers but stand up for yourself.
The trips really are necessary, for the meds if nothing else. They have over a dozen prescriptions each. I'm needed to help with the shopping, and also to spell them in line (I'm not military-connected, so they have to pick up the meds themselves, but I stand in for them in line). No one else is available to do this. And someone's gotta do it.
I understand how hard it is to watch our elders struggle through life. I'm dealing with two very stubborn parents myself. im not sure I understand why the meds must be purchased at this particular military base. There's no way around this? Is the cost savings worth the time and travel?
Refuse to do it unless you drive. You plan on dying in his car wreck? Didn't think so...so you drive. Either be forceful or find a way to have to drive ( you've developed motion sickness at this late age when are a passenger, or whatever). What's the long term plan going to be when he officially isn't allowed to drive? Mail order?
Do they really need or have to go to that particular military base to get meds? If they don't, let them know that you are not going to help them out with the meds and shopping bit. Surely there are places close by your parents and a Save-A-Lot place (or something similar). There is no good enough reason why they need to go to that pharmacy on base and shop for groceries there.
They absolutely have to go there (they also want to). We're talking hundreds of dollars per month in much-needed savings, even with mileage costs. Their health insurance setup is weird. Mail order is not available.

As for the long term, if his license is finally taken away, then they'll have no choice but to let me drive. He's still too law-abiding to defy the DMV.

What I'm worried about in the even longer term is what happens if/when neither one can "supervise" me while we're on base.

As for now, I'm stuck. If his driving was the only issue, I wouldn't be doing this at all (though I'd still be/feel responsible if anything went wrong).
NO WAY NO HOW would I get in a plane, boat or automobile with anyone I believe unfit to drive. You are doing them a great favor my donating your time to this trip, they need to compromise and let you drive. If they persist on going without you, so be it. What good would it do them or anyone else on the road to have you in the back seat if / when they do have an accident. Stay home and be one less potential victim.
Also, if these trips "wear them out" I do not see how bringing you along wears them out any less - maybe you are helping with the bags. If these trips are so hard on them, maybe they can consider an option closer to home. How much of a cost savings is this, after you factor in car expenses and time?

Sometimes people just want to hang out to familiar habits because that is the way it has always been done and it helps them hold on to their better (healthier) days.
This is more than just a familiar habit - though it is that, too. The trips are only once a month.

The meds are the sticky point, and a big one. Between trips, they do shop locally. But he shouldn't be driving locally, either. For now, that's between FIL and MIL, who does drive (when he lets her). She also wisely limits her driving.

That Said ... I think I've come up with an argument for tomorrow's trip, and a possible workaround for future trips.

Will let you know about both, if they work.
And I forgot ... many thanks. You've all helped me think more clearly about this ridiculous predicament.
Does your husband have medical and financial POA? Perhaps since he is disabled, you should have it. Perhaps you could call the pharmacy and ask them what you can do to get their meds without their having to physically be there? Surely there are others who aren't able to pick up their own meds. Perhaps there is special paperwork that could be filled out to allow you to pick up the meds.

Keep the conversation going (or start a new one)

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