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Just A Political/Law Question


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#1 drago

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Posted 13 October 2009 - 07:40 PM

Has anyone here ever written to their lawmakers/the DMV about the narcolepsy driving laws in the USA?

I ask because the law in North Carolina states that the individual has to be "symptom free" for a year. What does that even mean? It's not defined on the website (meaning, sleep attacks? cataplexy attacks? EDS? anything?) and you lose your license as soon as your doctor officially diagnoses you with the problem, regardless of your circumstances.

To me, this particular law seems counter-productive, especially if NC wants narcoleptic people to find out they are narcoleptic and get diagnosed BEFORE it starts to interfere with your life, BEFORE you get into a major accident with it.

I mean, I got checked out thinking I had a thyroid problem or something; I was tired and feeling tired a lot, and it was mildly annoying. It hadn't completely interrupted my life; it hadn't "pushed" me to go because it was hurting my work... I just thought I had a thyroid problem, or maybe even anemia or something, so I got checked out thinking I would be told to do something simple, like take an iron pill. Then, I was sent to do the sleep specialist because my primary care doctor thought I could have Sleep Apnea. But when the sleep specialist saw me, she told me she also wanted me checked for narcolepsy. Had anyone told me, "If you get diagnosed with narcolepsy, you will lose your license for a year no questions asked," I am pretty sure I wouldn't have been so keen on them checking me for narcolepsy. After all, the symptoms weren't bothering me when I drove, or even that much in my life, so why risk my license (also the only ID I had at the time) over this?

Luckily, I was in Maine, where the license process is based on doctor review on a by-patient basis.

...in short, I think having the laws that N. Carolina have is counter-productive, since I know a lot of people would avoid getting tested for something that would revoke their driving ID -- unless they absolutely had to get tested for it.

What do you think? Is it worth writing about? Especially with a disease that varies so much from person to person... :-\

drago

#2 sleepless sleeper

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Posted 14 October 2009 - 12:53 AM

Drago, it goes by state so writing to lawmakers re: US driving laws will do no good. Symptom free for a year? That's a bit crazy.


Are you in NC now? Weren't you just in AK? I might have you mixed up, if not, I hope that you are having an easier time getting your meds now that you're back in the contiguous US.

Sorry I can't give you more help other than wishing you well.

#3 PWN in Deutschland

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Posted 15 October 2009 - 11:57 PM

ok, seriously, if your symptoms are really affecting your life and they are just annoying, then I strongly suggest you get a second opinion. take a look at all the posts of how miserable and painful narcolepsy makes every single thing you do every day and then think about the likelihood that you actually have it. if you truly have N and driving is your main problem, buy a bus pass and thank God that that's the worst of it.

#4 drago

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Posted 16 October 2009 - 04:31 AM

Drago, it goes by state so writing to lawmakers re: US driving laws will do no good. Symptom free for a year? That's a bit crazy.

Are you in NC now? Weren't you just in AK? I might have you mixed up, if not, I hope that you are having an easier time getting your meds now that you're back in the contiguous US.

Sorry I can't give you more help other than wishing you well.


I am currently in AK, but I am moving down to NC in a few weeks for the rest of the fiscal year. I've got a CT license, so the North Carolina laws shouldn't directly affect me, but since I'll be seeing a doctor in N. Carolina, I'm not sure if they're required to report stuff about me or not. Technically, I have not been 'symptom free' for a year... I haven't even been diagnosed for a year, actually. I just choose not to drive when I feel tired...

Is there a chance with writing the state government (although I take it that you would have to be a citizen of that state)?

ok, seriously, if your symptoms are really affecting your life and they are just annoying, then I strongly suggest you get a second opinion. take a look at all the posts of how miserable and painful narcolepsy makes every single thing you do every day and then think about the likelihood that you actually have it. if you truly have N and driving is your main problem, buy a bus pass and thank God that that's the worst of it.


Hi PWD in Deutschland:
I was not saying that my life is unaffected by narcolepsy. I am saying that a reasonable driving law would encourage people who are not diagnosed with narcolepsy who may have it to seek help before it becomes a major impediment, if at all possible. The onset of narcolepsy is different for different people, and for me, at first, the symptoms were embarrassing (falling asleep during passive activities like being on book) and mildly annoying. But had I waited, the later symptoms would have forced me to go to the doctor to figure it out. My doctor thinks I had narcolepsy for about a year before I was diagnosed with it, mostly because I thought the EDS/need for naps during my senior year were caused by other things, rather than suspecting a new culprit. Had I known more about narcolepsy and its connection to sleep paralysis, I might have known about it sooner.

Also, the topic of the post wasn't about whether I needed a second opinion; it was about the possible affects of a law on people's medical choices. I'm not sure why your response is so... er, angry? about my question related to politics/laws in driving. Narcolepsy affects people very different; I've had a fair share of misery from it, myself.

Also, your assumption that there are buses in every area that I can access is unfounded; there are plenty of places where it is simply not an option; something to keep in mind.

drago

#5 sleepless sleeper

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Posted 24 October 2009 - 10:18 PM

I am currently in AK, but I am moving down to NC in a few weeks for the rest of the fiscal year. I've got a CT license, so the North Carolina laws shouldn't directly affect me,

Drago, you may want to check to see if you are breaking AK laws now. Most states will not allow a person to reside within its borders for more than 30 without getting a driver's license, if you drive. Every state's laws vary, though, but I urge you to check into NC's since you are now leaving AK. Didn't you live in AL, also? I'm having a hard time remembering that far back.

but since I'll be seeing a doctor in N. Carolina, I'm not sure if they're required to report stuff about me or not.


I doubt very seriously that a doctor would report you unless he/she felt that you were a risk to yourself or others. There are confidentiality rules in place, which can only be breached under very limited circumstances.

Technically, I have not been 'symptom free' for a year... I haven't even been diagnosed for a year, actually. I just choose not to drive when I feel tired...

I have yet to speak with a pwn that has been symptom free for a year - let alone a week. Most of us have yet to experience a day symptom free.

Is there a chance with writing the state government (although I take it that you would have to be a citizen of that state)?


You do not have to be a citizen of a state to write to them. I would recommend writing them and asking for answers to all your questions.