This is what happens when you jump the curb at a shopping center.
My poor mother, on her way to her weekly hair appointment yesterday afternoon, attempted to park in front of the dry cleaner's next door to her salon. The poor thing says she has no idea what happened. "The car (a 2006 Hyundai Santa Fe) just shot forward," she told me and the police. I suspect she accidentally stepped on the gas instead of the brake, though she swears she no feet on any pedal at the time. Luckily, no one was hurt and amazingly, her car suffered only minor damage: a fist-sized dent in the right fender; a broken parking light and a few scratches to the bumper. A true testament to the safety of the Santa Fe (I drive one, as well). And to top it all off, after the police and EMT's left, she went and had her hair done!
Of course, this isn't the first time this has happened. She did the same thing last summer at my house, running into my shed and destroying a small table and chair, that time admitting she accidentally put the transmission into 'Drive' instead of 'Reverse.' And a just few weeks ago, she grew very confused and upset in the parking lot of another local shopping center while we were out Christmas shopping. I ended up taking over for her and extricating the car from the corner in which she'd trapped herself, but she insisted on driving home and scaring the crap out of me while doing so.
Mom's only 70; hardly old by today's standards. But her health is not the best. You may remember an incident in February of 2010, where I found her in diabetic shock, resulting in a week's stay in the hospital. Severe arthritis in her knees makes walking difficult and 50+ years of heavy smoking have impacted both her heart and lungs. Her hearing is going, though she refuses to admit it and since retiring, these conditions only seem to have worsened.
My first reaction to yesterday's accident was: "I'm taking away her keys." Of course, the mere mention of doing so sent her into paroxysms of anger and denial. But I am afraid she is a danger to herself and others and it's only a matter of time before someone gets seriously injured. So I am asking you, dear readers, what would or have you done in similar situations? Anyone else out there caring for an ailing, elderly and exceptionally stubborn parent? Any advice you have is greatly appreciated.