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Getting First License

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#1 brianhess@mindspring.com

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Posted 05 June 2013 - 06:23 PM

My daughter has been recently diagnosed with Narcolepsy w/o cataplexy.  She is 16 years old.  She's eligible to get her license next week.  Her doctor had advised us to inform DMV about her Narcolepsy.  She said they would then require her to have another day-time sleep study where she demonstrated her ability to stay awake.  We had intended to do this, but after reading this forum, I'm reconsidering.  I want her to be safe, and not endanger others, but I also want her to be able to live a normal teen-agers life, complete with getting her Driver's License.  She's currently taking 250mg. of Nuvigil.  Her doctor also gave her some Ritilyn (sp?) if she feels sleepy later in the day/early evening.  Any words of wisdom?



#2 Hank

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Posted 05 June 2013 - 08:59 PM

The Maintenance of wakefulness Test is the test would measure her ability to stay awake with her medication.

My state does not have restrictions like that- thank goodness.

I am the father of 2 soon-to-be drivers. I will give you my perspective as a father and a person with Narcolepsy.
1. Our childrens' safety comes first.
2. She will need some time to adjust to her diagnosis and how to live with it.
3. I drive a lot and I never allow myself to become complacent. Sleep can creep up on me at any time when driving and I never let myself forget that. I have never had an accident where I was at fault (except for a parking lot fender bender). I consider that a miracle because I have a long list of "almosts" hiding behind my clean driving record.

Your daughter could get her drivers license at 16. She can agree on limits to driving while she is learning to live with N. Getting her drivers license and being a driver are 2 seperate things.

Your daughter will need to develop a keen sense of awareness about how N works in her life. She will live with it forever and she will need to minimize risks.

While she is getting used to how N impacts her, she can slowly gain some experience driving. It would be terrible if she or someone else was harmed or worse because sleep won for even a moment.

#3 brianhess@mindspring.com

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Posted 06 June 2013 - 12:04 PM

Thanks for your input.  I've already told her that we were going to have a "trial" period where we would have to see how her medication affected her at different times.  Such as night time driving.  As a new driver, we will limit her to short distances (5 - 10 Minutes) at first.



#4 iturnedintoamartian

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Posted 08 June 2013 - 10:12 PM

In my case, I can drive with no problems during the day. I live in a city where there are tons of stop lights and I always have to be vigilant. This makes it to where I never am at risk. I can even do long road trips but only if someone else is with me and awake.
My point is, everyone is different. She hasn't driven much so she doesn't know what may or may not work. I think you are making a good choice in testing her. I would also suggest maybe doing rides to the most common places with her once or twice, no music on or talking to simulate her quietly driving by herself. if she would be ok with it. At 16, I don't know if I would have been ;) Also, on another note, be as supportive as possible about if she is somewhere and is exhausted and needs a ride. Make sure she knows that's totally ok and try not to get upset if it comes at an inconvenient moment. Also, I personally would not suggest driving near bed time or if she has had a particularly busy day.
Sorry, I know that was a lot and, ultimately, you're the parent and your gut can give you an idea of what may or may not work. I am just letting you know what would work for me. All people are different and driving with narcolepsy can be dangerous, for sure. I don't want to downplay that. I do think it's awesome of you to be giving her the chance, though. Some parents would use narcolepsy as a reason to never let their kids drive and that could really destroy a teen. It's also unwise, obviously, to act like it's not a true, debilitating condition. I commend your viewpoint. I hope you find a happy medium. I may be able to stay awake 99% of the time driving but I have put myself in positions too many times that... I will just say I am lucky to be alive. With help and support and a full grasp of how serious the situation is, I think you'll both find it to be worth the effort you put into it.

#5 sk8aplexy

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Posted 09 June 2013 - 11:35 PM

What's most important (IMO) is the person driving knowing their own limits, boundaries and limitations, along with recognizing their own condition and acting accordingly.   That is to say that awareness is crucial, and that balancing, is everything.

Driving is a difficult topic within this realm and all I can say is, the above.



#6 marshallteddy

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Posted 25 October 2013 - 06:44 PM

I am 17 years old and learned I had narcolepsy from falling asleep while I was driving a couple months after I had turned 16 and gotten my license.  I totaled my car and it was a rather traumatizing moment in my life.  After I was tested I was told I had Narcolepsy with a very minor case of Cataplexy.  I was also prescribed 250 mg of Nuvigil once a day, and I can say that I don't feel tired driving ever unless I have been up all night or driving on the interstate for more than 2 hours.  You shouldn't limit her too much because I know my parents tried that and it just pissed me off so I would tell them I could drive and that I was fine even if I wasn't just to prove to them I was alright.  I don't know if your daughter is like me at all, but now that everything is over and done with I feel great.  I know when I shouldn't drive and I don't.  My parents don't dictate when I can drive anymore because they know I can do it myself with my own judgement.  Now since you have known about the N for a little bit before she was driving then she probably knows what makes her tired and not so she should be able to make he call on when she should drive or not.  I hope this is insightful, but I understand I'm not a parent so I might not understand the whole aspect of protecting your child.  I'm just letting you know the perspective of another teenager that isn't your daughter.  Hope everything goes well and nothing happens to your daughter while she is driving.