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  #1  
Old 05-20-2005, 01:31 PM
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Driving with epilepsy


I've had EP since 1979, only had ONE (1) grande-mal seizure since then, all my EEG's showed seizure activity in my lower left tempral lobe.
In in Dec.2002, I pulled in to a Wal-Mart parkinglot and just as I pulled in to a parking spot, Someone must have been looking out for me because I just came off the highway. I must have passed out because all I can remember is the front bumper of my car (brand new) was "kissing" the bumper of the car in front of me, my car was still in drive with the motor still running. The lady in the car in front of me just happened to be a nurse and she opened my door to see that I was OK and then turned off the engine. She told me to stay put as she had called an ambulance after she noticed that for a moment I couldn't speak and she noticed my medic alert bracelet. I noticed that I was also foaming at the mouth.

Since the police were called and a report was filed, I had my licence suspended for an indefinate length of time.
Now I have to get my blood checked once a week so it can be closely monitored before I can get it back. I have to go seizure free for 2 years (controlled by medication).

It's like having my freedom taken away from me.
Do you know how humiliating that is especially when you've been driving your whole adult life?

That just goes to show you that it stays with you your whole life but can stay dormant in your system and cad hit you at any time when you leaste expect it.

This is one main reason why you should stay on your meds. even if you think it's gone.

I'm from Ontario, Canada, Our transpotation laws may differ from yours.

I've had EP since 1979 controlled by medication so reported at that time to the "Ministry of Transportation" that I was controlled by medication, no questions asked and I didn't lose my licence.
I must have slipped through the system because in ALL cases you must go seizure free for 2 years even if controlled by meds.

I drove without a problem until Dec/02 during an incident in a parking lot(I just came off the highway).

Now my blood levels are being checked each week but the Ministry of Transport has tightened up the rules in this area in an attempt to reduce traffic accidents so that is making it more difficult to get it back. But if I do get it back (which I don't think) I still won't drive and risk the lives of others. I think that is the more resposible way to handle it and set an example for others.

It's just like driving drunk-you're taking a major risk.
At first I felt that some of my freedom was taken away but I've gone almost 2 years without it and I'm starting to accept it a little easier.


Randy
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  #2  
Old 05-23-2005, 10:22 PM
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Howdy!

Just think how much more "humiliating" it would have been if, when you came to, you found a person between your car and the car in front of you.

In that case, you would probably be facing criminal charges!

If you have epilepsy you have to count every seizure -- including auras (aka simple partial seizures!)
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  #3  
Old 05-24-2005, 11:18 AM
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I got my drivers license when I was 16. In my entire lifetine , I had gotten only 3 tickets (2 as a teen, last one 27 years ago), involved in 2 accidents, one I rear ended a guy when I was 17 and got hit by a drunk when I was 20.

My record was great for 27 years. Then I had my first grand mal May 2001 and I voluntarily relinquished my license.

For someone who is totally independant, and able to accomplish whatever goals they set out,to suddenly have to rely on others to "Take Them Someplace" is a bigger bust in the chops than the diagnosis of the disorder!

Asking, neighbors, friends and relitives to "please take me to the _____" (fill in the blank) just makes you feel less of a human. I am the kind of person who seldom asks for help. And to ask for rides when I appear to be so healthy just was awful. I wanted to drive myself to the store, do my own errands. My husband never had to do the business end of our lives before. He had left thet up to me, now it was dumped in his lap. Let's add resentment to my humiliation, and lack of understanding. We were overwhelmed. I cannot count the number of fights we had because of this (and still do)

In fact I was never left alone for the first 2-3 years. I had experianced a few drop seizures, a few "run like hell to anywhere but here" seizures (one of those in the car), 100's of simple, and maybe 20 complex. It was degrading. I wanted my space. if I was taking a shower and dropped the shampo bottle, someone would come running in thinking I had a seizure. I know they were scared too, but I was NEVER alone!

But somehow we managed. I learned to ride the bus system and was familar to the drivers. I even got a job on the Air Force Base.

Here in Nevada you have to be seizure free for 3 months. I finally reached that mark this past February and was able to reinstate my license. If you have never had the freedom of driving, than you really don't comprehend the stripping of your freedom when you lose that license for medical reasons. I have been taking a chance by driving short trips this past year, like up to work or the store. But I don't really do all that much driving now.

Just having that little plastic card brings me a sense of my old self back. To be able to do what I want, when I want.
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Old 05-30-2005, 06:27 PM
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Quote :
Just having that little plastic card brings me a sense of my old self back.
I would have to agrue with Birdbomb on this one. I feel so much better just having the card. I have had my license taken once, right after I had my son. Once I got it back I vowed that I would never lose it again. Now, I have gone for shorts periods of time not diving, but my doctor lets me keep my license. I just give her my word that I won't drive.
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  #5  
Old 05-31-2005, 01:41 AM
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The doctors are required by law to inform the Nevada DMV of seizure activity AND the doctor has you sign a statement avowing you will not drive. Too bad they don't do that much for the DRUNK drivers!

One grand mal and lost my license but get caught DUI, and you get fined. If you have the $$$ and a good lawyer you get off to go drink and drive some more.

My neighbors house was hit head-on on New Years Eve 2001. That drunk was fleeing from 2 different accidents, and thought if he could get home the cops, wouldn't nail him. But he took the corner doing 40+ and lost control in the desert and smacked into her house. It's a manufactured home, knocked it back about a foot, split the center of the roof where it joins, knocked all the pictures off the walls and her kids to the floor. Kind of like an earthquake. He got off scott free. She was stuck with $2000 in damages.
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“You've gotta dance like there's nobody watching,
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And live like it's heaven on earth.”


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  #6  
Old 05-31-2005, 09:06 AM
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She didn't sue the guy to recover the cost of the damages he caused?
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  #7  
Old 05-31-2005, 09:38 AM
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Naw, she was a pinhead and sue happy. No lawyer wanted her. Besides the guy ended up loosing his house and had more DUI's.
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“You've gotta dance like there's nobody watching,
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Sing like there's nobody listening,
And live like it's heaven on earth.”


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  #8  
Old 05-31-2005, 09:48 AM
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$2,000 is within the jurisdiction of small JP courts. She could have taken him to court without a lawyer.

Pinhead: Your honor, here's the police report, pictures of the damage and receipts for the repairs.
Judge: Defense?
Drunk guy: I was framed!

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Old 07-09-2005, 02:14 PM
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I found an interesting editorial discussing the differences in driving laws within the EU:

Quote :
In the European Union, some member states, including the United Kingdom, require a one year period of freedom from seizures before granting or renewing a driving licence although most require a two year period. More variation exists about exceptions where people with active epilepsy may drive (for example, seizures during sleep, myoclonic seizures, simple partial seizures, and seizures only on awakening). In the United Kingdom, for example, the only exception to the rule is seizures occurring solely during sleep, with this pattern established for three years. But this pattern needs to be established for two years in Belgium and only one year in the Netherlands. The Republic of Ireland also requires the pattern to be established for one year, and the Netherlands allows people who have seizures during wakefulness that are not felt to impair driving ability (simple partial seizures) to drive. French legislation allows people with seizures only on awakening to drive. Regulations on commercial driving and supportive laboratory (electroencephalographic) criteria differ widely. In most countries of the European Union, the onus for reporting seizures to the driving authorities is on the individual.

Patient's or Authorities' Perspectives?

The issue of epilepsy and driving may have differing emphases depending on whose perspective is being considered. From a patient's perspective, the risk of seizure related accidents (rate ratio 1.8, 95% confidence interval 1.7 to 2.0) and the risk of serious accidents (odds ratio 1.4, 95% confidence interval 1.0 to 1. when epilepsy is active might be too high. Fewer than half of all epileptic seizures, however, occur in the context of established epilepsy (defined as repeated unprovoked seizures); the remainder consists of acute symptomatic seizures and single unprovoked seizures. Acute symptomatic seizures can be prevented by adequate control of the cause, whereas single unprovoked seizures have a smaller probability of relapse after the first 12 months. Even among people with active epilepsy, several epilepsy syndromes exist (for example, nocturnal tonic-clonic epilepsy or epilepsies with simple partial seizures), which may be compatible with non-commercial driving.

From the perspective of a health authority or insurance, the proportion of accidents attributable to active epileptic seizures is extremely low, ranging from 0.02% to 0.2%. In this context, epilepsy compares favourably with alcohol abuse (up to 31%) and young age (up to 24%).
Epilepsy and Driving
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  #10  
Old 07-29-2005, 10:10 AM
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This happened just a few miles from where we live:

Quote :
Police say the heat in the woman's car sparked an epileptic seizure. She lost control of the car, hit the corner of a house, and crashed through the back of a church rectory.
Woman with epilepsy loses control of car, slams into buildings
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  #11  
Old 07-30-2005, 01:02 AM
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No doubt about that heat thing. Funny irony though, even though the seizure caused the accident, it more than likely kept her from being badly injured. Kind of like DUI. Drunks often walk away from deady crashes.

Guess she won't be driving any time soon. Every once in a long while you hear of crashes like these. But the states regulate those with epilepsy more than they do the drunks.

What a world...What a world...What a world........
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“You've gotta dance like there's nobody watching,
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And live like it's heaven on earth.”


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  #12  
Old 07-30-2005, 04:16 PM
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:shock: :shock:

Hi everyone. This looks like it could be one of those situations where the heat caused the blood syrum level to be thrown off due to the loss of medication through perspiration (if she was on meds) affecting the unbound fraction in her blood.

Randy
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  #13  
Old 08-10-2005, 04:36 AM
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Re: Driving with epilepsy


Just be thankful that you are allowed to drive at all in America with epilepsy. In the UK, if you have epilepsy (no matter how minor and even if its noctural) you have your driving licence confiscated with no questions asked and you can't apply to the DVLA to get it back until you have been seuzure free for over a year.

So in the UK we are used to not being independent and put up with our bad transport system.

Don't you feel guilty driving on the roads not knowing if you will have a seizure which may cause you and others involved to die or suffer serious injuries?

To be honest, my seizures are minor, and even if I could drive, my consious would be tested as I would feel guilty if I caused an accident.
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Old 08-10-2005, 06:44 AM
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I think there is a bit of a difference in both culture and infrastructure between the USA and your side of the pond. It is nearly impossible to live without personal transportation here in Houston unless you live in the city downtown ($$$) where most things (jobs, food, consumer goods, bus stops) are available within walking distance. Out in the burbs, things are too spread out to manage without a car.
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Old 08-10-2005, 09:53 AM
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I would disagree.

I'm due to live in Hildenborough next year and my placement is in East Peckham, which is not exactly the best location for someone who can't drive and I think there are only 3 or 4 local bus services to Tonbridge a day.

Fortunately my employer realsies how my inability to drive will affect where I live and when and how I get to work and he hs kindly agreed to drive me to and from work for the first two weeks of the placement until I get settled in.

In England the transport system is a bit of a nuisance. For example to get from Kent (county south east of London) to say Oxford, I'd have to go through London and change stations to get to Oxford and it would take a long time.

It took me 6 hours to get from Canterbury (south East Kent) to Stansted Airport in Essex (North East London) when by car this journey would be 3 - 4 hours.

In America don't you generally just get on a plane and fly from A to B if its a huge distance and isn't your local bus network any good?
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Old 08-10-2005, 10:06 AM
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Originally Posted by RachelR :
In America don't you generally just get on a plane and fly from A to B if its a huge distance and isn't your local bus network any good?
For business, generally planes are used for long distances. For personal travel, it depends upon the distance and cost (at least for me).

Every city has their own mass transit system (if the city is large enough) and some are better than others. There are a few companies that operate bus services between cities too, but I don't recall ever using them.
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Old 08-10-2005, 10:10 AM
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Sounds similar to our system, although if you wanted to travel cross county, you probably have to travel via London as each county has its own separate rail and bus network so apart from special services which usually link up to Airports, you usually have to travel more than you would do if you had a car.

You get used to ths system though and I think in the Uk, the majority of people tend to choose living in the towns or cities if they have epilepsy and live alone.
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Old 08-11-2005, 01:29 AM
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Rachal

It is all in your own prespective. I live in Las Vegas. Out here in the west it is nearly impossible to get around without a car. It is very wide and open here. But just the opposite in New York city.

Our bus system is the best it has ever been but then it is still sorely lacking. :voodoo:

I Lived in Okinawa Japan for a few years and their bus system was probably the best in the world. You seldom waited for a bus more than a few minutes. And then there would usually be 2 or three busses. But then again space is at a premium and local shopping could be done on foot.

I stayed in Duisburg, Germany for a month and the closeness of the buildings and shops reminded me of Japan. Another place where mass transit works well. First time I ever rode a subway.

To drive across country takes about 5 days coast to coast. That's a loooong drive. I've done that so many times I can't remember how many. To fly take about 5-6 hours L.A to Miami. BIG difference. Many people fly back and forth from LA to Vegas a distance of 230 miles, 30 minute filght vs 7 hour drive, but save a lot of time because the traffice is awful on the freeway across the desert.

Just to get from one end of Vegas to the other takes over an hour by car, the bus would take maybe 3 transfers and 4+ hours. To go from my house to downtown takes an hour + 15 minutes, IF the bus has not problems with the heat and doesn't have to load or unload wheelchairs.

If I have a dr appointment and have to take the bus, my entire day is shot. It is usually 1 or 2 transfer and wait time of 45 minutes between busses(if they are late, you miss your comnnection)

Nevada law allows you to get your licenses back IF you are seizure free for 3 months and your doctor feels you can stay that way. I got mine back in March. Each state has their own laws pretaining to epilepsy and driving.
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Old 08-11-2005, 07:49 AM
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So does not every state permit driving with epilepsy or are there a few that did?

I'm not sure if I would want to drive 3 months after being seizure free as I would be scared if I had another one and the stress of driving may trigger one off.

Is the accident rate in America higher because people can drive after 3 months of not driving?
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Old 08-11-2005, 09:18 AM
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The timeframes for being seizure free vary by state (anywhere from 3 to 12 months). I posted a link to the EFA's page where you can check individual state laws in this thread on Segway transporters (which do not require a driver's license).
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