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Harry T.

Driving

Hello all,

I am 65 and have had siezures since a teen.Luckily they are infrequent. There have been maybe 30 tonic clonic episodes. I have been diagnosed twice but have refused meds. I instead have long age given up drinking and all other bad habits. I eat healtier than anyone I know, other than my wife who is a nutrition councelor. Here is my question....SHOULD I CONTINUE TO DRIVE??? I limit my driving as much as possible. I do get an Aura but it is only 1 to 2 seconds before I become unconscious. Looking for your opinions as I have become more and more worried about driving....Thanks

Comments

Re: Driving

Dear Harry T,

Despite the infrequency of your seizures, I don't think that you should do any driving.  Any time when you experience a seizure when behind the wheel, you would probably lose control of the car and have an accident.  At the very least, this could cause significant damage to both you and to the car.  Depending on where you are driving and at your speed, it could kill you, any passengers you have, other people in other cars, and any nearby pedestrians.  Whatever happens,  you would end up in big trouble with the police and local authorities.  

I have had life long epilepsy during all of my 51 years.  During my later childhood and adolesence, my treatment of a careful diet hypoglycemia, which had triggered my seizures as a young child, and Dilantin seemed to control them.  As a result I was able to stay in school and do very well academically through high school, college, and grad school. 

Then, a few years after getting my driver's license, my seizures returned during my freshman year (1980 - '81)  in college.  Never again controlled for more than a few weeks at a time, they have continued several times per week since then.  I have taken a wide variety of meds, had a temporal lobectomy, and used the VNS, none of which have stopped the seizures.

During this period of roughly 30 years, I have never been seizure free long enough to qualify for a license here in Massachusetts.   Thus, I have never driven during that period, never endangering myself or anyone else by driving.  Try to keep safe, and good luck,

Gandalf    

 

Re: Driving

The infrequency of peoples seizures is only the frequency of seizures that they are aware of. Often I'd had alot of seizures that I wasn't conscious of, often I only knew of them if a witness of paramedic told that I had one. I wolndn't have been aware of it and just went onto what I'd planned. If I was driving, I'd woulder what caused this accident? The police always assumed that I'd fallen asleep. I was be real lucky till there was an oncoming driver who saw me leaning on my steering wheel with my tongue out, and assumed that I was having a seizure. They told their attorney that and he looked at my medical records before deciding that I shouldn't have been driving in the first place, and sued the hell out of me!    Timothy Baldwin

Re: Driving

Hey Harry T.,

Just wanted to say that when I was in college I thought I was invincible because my seizures were pretty infrequent, so I continued to drive. As a result, I was in not one, but two car accidents because of it. I am grateful every day that no one was hurt. Looking back I honestly don't understand how I was allowed to drive based on the law in PA. Anyhoo, every state has their own law, and while I don't necessarily think that the state government can have any idea what your individual epilepsy situation is, I do think you should think long and hard before getting behind the wheel, for your own sake and and anyone else who is on the road or in the car. Best of luck.

Re: Driving

Hi

My name is Sonny. I was having my first seizure at 6 months old. That was 1968'. Going through my childhood and teen years. No ground was made with fixing these seizures. Then highschool driving was coming, with all my friends getting cars, girls friends etc. That means a lot at that age and I never got it until I was 30 years old. Then my meds failed again and I ran someone off the road and crashed the car. Had to quit working because no jobs near my house in the country. Became a stay at home father for 11 years now. My wife works so hard but we survive. After all of these years I made the decision of surgery for my epilepsy. This month was my first 1 year being seizure free. I will now start to feel comfortable driving. Because almost killing someone would follow you the rest of your years on earth. Don't do that to yourself, or someone else.

Just my thoughts.
Sonny

Re: Driving

Hi Harry T,

I am 60 and have had seizures all my life. Secondarily generalized tonic-clonic seizures became a major problem in my 30's. They rarely occur outside of easily recognizable clusters of partial seizures (the exceptions probably only because of retroactive amnesia after very strong TCs), and I stopped driving when severe tongue bites became frequent with the tonic-clonics.

In the late 1980's, government agents demanded that I continue to drive to qualify for disability services. I refused to drive, and the disability services where discontinued over it. I filed suits in federal court, losing all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court, which refused my requests for writs of certiorari. The final legal Catch-22 was, in civil courts, that my epilepsy was too severe to qualify for rehabilitation services, and that my epilepsy was too minor to be protected by the Rehabilitation Act (now overlapping with the American's with Disabilities Act, as amended (ADAAA), with the amendments & a non-retro-active 2000 Supreme Court decision modifying the previously exploited absurdities of prejudice regarding the concept of disability (as disabled not meaning disabled & disabled as meaning totally disabled in everything)).

I continued not to drive, and, until last November 2012, no criminal cases were threatened.

Recently, a family member had medical emergencies, and criminal prosecutions, and criminal acts, were threatened against me for my not driving to and from changing medical providers. Since emergencies were involved during the Hospital/Skilled-Nursing-Facility's stays/business-processings, I called the Crisis Hot-Line with the federally required State Ombudsman Program, but the Program's response was limited to the responding argument that the threats were just threats, and would never be actualized in being fully carried out by the Agents making the threats. Since the federal Department of Health & Human Services was also involved with jurisdiction, I also filed discrimination complaints involving my epilepsy with the federal Office of Civil Rights (OCR) (it has been 4 months now with no response from the OCR, despite that all evidences are admissible, since the threats included threats of violence against me and my family members).

Civilly, therefore, a person who has epilepsy that precludes rehabilitation services, may be required to drive with any given opportunity to drive, and criminal threats are condoned to entice such a person to drive against their own judgment not to drive. So far, criminal prosecutions against me have not been carried out over my refusal to drive. Other individuals in similar circumstances, and who had responded to such threats to drive by, driving, have been criminally prosecuted when things went wrong (the epileptic is most often assumed to be at fault, even when hit by a drunk driver, or criminally assaulted).

Other "major life activities", in addition to driving, result in much the same paradoxes from other individuals, involving epilepsy. The latest instance was this month, with one social worker telling me not to cook my own foods over dangers to myself and others involving cooking & epilepsy, while the program that social worker told me to apply for, involved another social worker (with the Social Security Administration) that prejudicially assumed there was "something wrong" with my relatives for agreeing with me and the social worker over the dangers of cooking with epilepsy, and that I was obligated to start cooking more, and before any exception would be considered, an epileptologist had to provide an exactly precise exclusion, and that I could come on by his SSA office 60 miles away whenever I felt like it, before any accommodation would be considered into his automatic denial of the application before the application was even submitted in writing on the required formatted form.

So if I start "cooking" to eat, and to avoid malnutrition, during more years of more Medicaid/Epileptologist SNAFU's, and epilepsy results in a fire disaster, would I be civilly & criminally liable, or would I even be just morally liable???

The Social Contract supposedly takes precedence over life-boat ethics, but then again....

Tadzio