A Lesson About Pity from My Late PHriend

Jen Cueva avatar

by Jen Cueva |

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(Photo by Brad Dell)

Since my recent hospitalization, I am not allowed to drive for a while. This may seem like no big deal to some, but for me, driving is my little bit of freedom; it’s my independence.

Usually, I only drive for small distances near my house. Some days, this is all the freedom I need. I can load up Sasha, our mini-schnauzer, and take a drive. She enjoys it, too. Our short trips have helped us keep our sanity during these challenging times.

Sasha takes in the sights during one of our relaxing drives. (Photo by Jen Cueva)

When I start feeling like “poor me,” I try to remind myself how blessed I am. Others have it much tougher than I do. Some friends with pulmonary hypertension (PH) or other rare diseases have never even driven a car. Imagine that! We all live with limitations, which unfortunately, is part of life.

Before PH, as I awaited a diagnosis, I was prohibited from driving for about a year. (It may have been longer, but due to brain fog, I can’t exactly remember.) When I finally could drive, I was like a teenager learning to drive all over again. Do you remember when you first learned to drive? It is a feeling of freedom and independence, no matter the age.

So, this is not the first time I’ve been told not to drive. In recent years, I’ve had driving restrictions placed on me a few times until I found answers to health questions or started feeling better. It isn’t the end of the world, but it does take away some of my independence. However, it’s not worth taking  a risk, and it’s better to protect myself and others. If I were to injure someone, I would never forgive myself.

Have you struggled with limitations since your PH diagnosis? Is driving one of the limits you have? For some people with chronic illness, assistive devices can help make driving possible. But what about when doctors worry that you may pass out or have seizures? This is concerning, as these incidents can happen at any time. This fact alone frightens the heck out of me.

Despite my recent increase in pain and the lack of driving, I must say that overall, I am doing all right. I take it day by day, and on some days, it’s more like hour by hour. But I continue to push through and PHight. God is keeping me here, so he must have a purpose, and for that, I am grateful. It’s hard to complain when you think of life this way.

Sue, a late PHriend, used to say, “It’s OK to sit on that pity pot now and then. Just don’t sit there too long. Remember to flush and move on.”

I always think about this when I start to feel pity for myself and have a pity party. I acknowledge my feelings, cry if I need to, and then “flush and move on.” Thank you, Sue, for leaving this with me. Together, we can remind each other to do the same.

When you become frustrated or have a pity party because of limitations related to PH, what do you do that helps? Please share in the comments below.


Note: Pulmonary Hypertension News is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website. The opinions expressed in this column are not those of Pulmonary Hypertension News or its parent company, BioNews Services, and are intended to spark discussion about issues pertaining to pulmonary hypertension.


Jimi McIntosh avatar

Jimi McIntosh

So timely, I have been restricted from driving most of July, being dependent upon others , not being able to go when I wanted too. Thanks, I will not sit on the “pity” pot, I am flushing and looking for the next challenge.

Jen Cueva avatar

Jen Cueva

Hi Jimi,
I am sorry to hear that you, too, have restricted from driving. Doesn't it make you feel like a teen again?
Being dependent on others is a huge struggle for me, too. It looks like this is an ongoing challenge for us both.

We can remind each other to "flush" as needed. Thanks for your support and for reading my columns. I am sending you some feel good days ahead. I am hoping and praying we will both be back on the road before long.

Manny avatar


Truly just ripped my heart out for you. You always talked about old people who could t drive and that was their little bit of freedom. Your not old and here we are in this point in life where we are blessed in many ways but tested beyond our capabilities at times recently. I’m not you so I don’t know the full effect but I know you are crying inside, I’m here for you, to shelter you, to hold you up, and most of all to be your driving Mrs daisy 💚💚💚

Jen Cueva avatar

Jen Cueva

Thanks, Boo,
Your love and support never fail me. I appreciate you and all that you are and do. You complete me. <3 FYI, I am not so old as Mrs.Daisy, hehe.


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