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What's The Responsible Thing To Do?


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#1 DropLogic

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Posted 04 November 2010 - 02:30 PM

Hi, I'm new here.
I was diagnosed with Narcolepsy in 2006, but have had symptoms since 1995. When I was 17 I drove into a field at about 70 mph, went straight at a T junction. I thought I was just tired from another nearly sleepless night at the time.
When I was 23 I lightly bumped someone in traffic on my way to work because I was head bobbing.

My wife yells at me all the time when I'm driving because I drift slightly. I've gotten good at remaining in my lane when the attacks happen. But I worry. No amount of caffeine seems to help me. I'm terrified that one day I'm going to hurt or kill someone because of an episode. Is it required to report narcolepsy to the state of Ohio? Will my license be revoked? I HAVE to drive...the mass transit here is awful and unreliable. So I'm stuck with this moral imperative to protect my fellow man from me, while having a monetary necessity to drive.

I took provigil from Feb 2006 through Dec of 2006, but had to stop because I could not afford it any longer. My work recently got a new healthcare provider with a good prescription plan so I can afford it again. Once I'm back on the medication I think I will be ok to drive normally again. What has been your experiences with driving on various medications?

#2 Marcia.was.here

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Posted 04 November 2010 - 07:47 PM

I live in Ohio also and I agree the transit systems here are worthless. I do not drive myself never have, but I have been thinking about changing that.

The BMV itself doesn't really say anything, but what is something that is more concerning is the insurance. If you dont report it to insurance is that considered insurance fraud? At this time I dont think that medical providers have to report anyone, but that could change.

The Narcolepsy Network has articles and such available from past conferences. You may be able to purchase those by calling the office and asking about the information. I am not really clear on how that is handle so if some one knows please speak up.

I believe that in 2002 at the Ohio Regional Conference there was information written by an attorney named Cloud ( I think he used to be a board member?) that had details about Ohio and some surrounding states. Again I dont know details, that was before I was a member here. But call the office. Joyce is incredibly helpful. If she doesn't know she will know who will.


Till you figure it out, I would just be extremely cautious, only drive when you have to and soon you will be on your meds regular again.
I know that will help you tremendously.

Good luck!

PS Mini Conference in New Albany this weekend! You goin?



#3 narcolepticninja!

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Posted 22 June 2011 - 05:31 AM

Im in New Zealand (little island country at the bottom of the earth) and I was diagnosed with Narcolepsy after I crashed my car in July 2008. I was incredibly lucky that I hit a parked car (and a reasonably old one at that!) that had no one in it our getting something out of their boot (i think its a trunk in America?). I felt the nap attack coming on after dropping a mate at her sisters for dinner after work, but didn't know what it was at the time. To be honest I don't remember most of the drive which is scary considering I went through 4 sets of traffic lights in peak traffic and every time I thought " ill just pull over here" I would blank out and drive past it.

I understand the pain of Public transport. My doctor has just approved me to start driving again, but here are the two scenerio's put to me about deciding to start driving again:

one - if it was someone else would you feel safe having your kids (imaginary or real) in the car if you had them following your car on the road?

the other one put forward to me was in regards to cataplexy. I personally get more sleep paralysis and have yet to fully collapse when getting a cataplexy attack during the day. (i just cant hold my head up when I laugh or get split second paralysis) but my doctor said to me what happens if a kid runs out in front of you? the intense emotion that would arise from that would almost guarantee a cataplextic attack, and would I be able to deal with the possible repercussions from having an attack and not being able to stop?

I had to give up a year of my studies to work to pay off the car I wrote off but I am incredibly thankful that $4000 was all I had to deal with and it wasn't a manslaughter charge or the guilt of permanently paralyzing someone. I understand the need to drive. I hate having to bus everywhere and I'm lucky my public transport is ok. I'm sorry If this seems a bit blunt but it was the only way I could understand it and its a consideration you need to think about it if you continue to drive when your not as in control of your narcolepsy as you could be. Are you prepared to deal with causing an accident and killing or seriously injuring someone?

#4 flutterbye_xo

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Posted 25 September 2011 - 01:51 PM

Hi, I'm new here.
I was diagnosed with Narcolepsy in 2006, but have had symptoms since 1995. When I was 17 I drove into a field at about 70 mph, went straight at a T junction. I thought I was just tired from another nearly sleepless night at the time.
When I was 23 I lightly bumped someone in traffic on my way to work because I was head bobbing.

My wife yells at me all the time when I'm driving because I drift slightly. I've gotten good at remaining in my lane when the attacks happen. But I worry. No amount of caffeine seems to help me. I'm terrified that one day I'm going to hurt or kill someone because of an episode. Is it required to report narcolepsy to the state of Ohio? Will my license be revoked? I HAVE to drive...the mass transit here is awful and unreliable. So I'm stuck with this moral imperative to protect my fellow man from me, while having a monetary necessity to drive.

I took provigil from Feb 2006 through Dec of 2006, but had to stop because I could not afford it any longer. My work recently got a new healthcare provider with a good prescription plan so I can afford it again. Once I'm back on the medication I think I will be ok to drive normally again. What has been your experiences with driving on various medications?


Nuvigil (armodafinil) has a better side effect profile and is a more developed medication than Provigil (modafinil). I posted more specifics somewhere else (maybe you can see my posts under my profile?). Pull over, tell your passenger you will be asleep in about 2 seconds so please help wake me up, or let someone else drive long distances. Unfortunately, sometimes I have to drive myself and I have to be somewhere on time. I chew, chew, chew gum all the time, (gum has been my life-saver) drink and eat. Once I get through the urge I'm better and can get where I need to be. If I know I need to, I pull over no matter what and take that 15 min nap. Usually I'm good after that.

#5 XxSweet6LovexX

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Posted 17 March 2013 - 08:03 PM

Just one of my experiences.........17 yrs old...I was driving home and was a lil to tired I thought that sence it was only 10 min. I could make it. About 2 min away from home I fell asleep and flipped my car......air flipped 2 times, then rolled 2 times!  I am thinking about giving up my lisence.



#6 sweetest_shone

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Posted 17 March 2013 - 08:08 PM


Just one of my experiences.........17 yrs old...I was driving home and was a lil to tired I thought that sence it was only 10 min. I could make it. About 2 min away from home I fell asleep and flipped my car......air flipped 2 times, then rolled 2 times! I am thinking about giving up my lisence.



#7 sweetest_shone

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Posted 17 March 2013 - 08:12 PM

You are very young and I can't imagine how hard it must be for you. I don't think that anyone can really "tell" you what to do. But reading your post and how you explained everything it sounds like you kind of already know deep down what you should do and you need someone to just tell you what to do. But like I said, this is something you need to decide for yourself.

#8 drago

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Posted 19 March 2013 - 11:29 PM

My advice:

Consider good driving a responsibility.

 

No matter who you are, how healthy you are, or where you live, there will ALWAYS be times when you shouldn't drive. For some people, this is early in the morning, because the dawn/rising sun can be very problematic to their sight. For others, it could be driving late at night, because the glare or lights disoient you. Of course, most people can't drive when they're on certain substances, like alcohol or sleep aids. Some people can't drive well without being properly medicated (i.e. severe ADHD).

 

Most people shouldn't drive while tired -- their reaction time is slowed, their focus isn't as good, etc. However, while most people shouldn't drive when tired, plenty people DO drive while tired, overtired, etc. Maybe someone's worked a 24-hour shift and drives home; maybe someone didn't sleep well the night before, or didn't sleep at all... but how many people stop and ask themselves, "Am I okay to drive right now?" when this happens... not many people do. A lot of people aren't worried about tiredness making them less capable drivers.

 

So, being narcoleptic has a plus side: being aware of how important sleep/wakefulness is to driving well. Awarenes is important to driving responsibly. There are plenty of times I can't drive because I am too tired... or because the drive will be too long for me.

 

If you find yourself "drifting" or 'hazy'... maybe you should pull over and take a Wake-Up-Break. Or a nap, even. If you know driving is difficult for you at certain times, like right after waking up, after having a big meal, etc.  avoid driving at those times.

 

Like I said, no matter who you are, or how healthy you are, there are times when you can't drive. Being narcoleptic doesn't change that -- it just means you need to be aware of how it affects you and your driving. And for that, you need to be honest with yourself because irresponsible driving can lead to injury and death -- for you and others. Just because mass transit around you is poor doesn't give you a "free pass" to drive irresponsibly. Whatever it is you need to do -- get a ride, join a carpool, petition to work from home -- to drive responsibily, you should do it, because it's up to you and you alone.

 

drago



#9 munky

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Posted 20 March 2013 - 10:11 PM

I have a long commute to and from work and school. I live about 25 miles from work/school and, depending on traffic, it can be anywhere between 45 minutes to an hour. This has been the case pretty much since I started driving, which I didn't do until about 9 years ago. (Before that, I lived in the city and rode the bus to work, because owning a car was way more expensive than a $10/month bus pass.)

 

Even before my narcolepsy diagnosis (just a few months ago), I have always paid very close attention to how tired I was and handled driving accordingly. If I think I'm too tired, I'll take a nap before I leave--even in the parking lot at work or school--regardless of how long the drive is, because I know that even a 10-minute drive can be a problem if I'm tired. If I start getting hazy or easily distracted while I'm driving, those are good signs that it's time to stop. If I can pull into a rest area or parking lot, I'll take a nap. If I'm at a place that isn't possible, I'll pull onto the shoulder and walk around a bit in the grass until I feel more alert. I have occasionally had to do either or both of these things several times during a single trip, so I always add a half hour or so to my drive time, to allow for at least two 15-minute stops.

 

And for those of you worried about passing police officers might think of you wandering about in the grass beside the highway, in my own experience, they greatly appreciate it. I have, on two separate occasions, in two separate states, had a state trooper pull up behind my car on the shoulder and come over to ask if I was okay or needed help. On both occasions, I told them exactly what I was doing. I told them where I was going (to work once, home the other time) and that I'd realized I was just too tired to keep driving, so I stopped and was taking a break to wake up. On both occasions, I got the same response: "Thank you! Not enough people know how dangerous driving when you're tired can be, so we appreciate that you recognized it and stopped. Take all the time you need before you get going again, and don't hesitate to stop again if you need to."

 

Neither occasion resulted in any sort of inquiry or suspension or revocation of my driver's license. Neither of them asked for a field sobriety test--and I work nights, so the time I stopped on my way to work was at about 3AM, not long after closing time for bars in that state. In both cases, they officers seemed to be happy to know that someone recognized they were a hazard and took steps to prevent it.



#10 lovelife

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Posted 28 March 2013 - 02:31 PM

I didn't read all of the other posts before mine, so I apologize if I am repeating anything. Your experiences driving sound a lot like mine and my medication did help. The other thing that makes a huge difference if I am having an attack while driving is talking on the phone. Keeping my mind occupied is the only thing that works for me.