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    Driving after having had a grand mal seizure
    thestump posted:

    My 24 year old son recently had his first and so far only grand mal seizure. He has never had any syptoms or events prior to this one.
    Now he is on dilantin and another med I can't remember for seizure control. Although his doctor had to mandatorialy report the seizure, the Oregon DMV hasn't thus far responded in any way.

    Should my son be driving?


    dancer86442 responded:
    Hello JD,

    My Opinion: NO! Doesn't matter if DMV responds or not. Seizures can not be predicted. Some may have forewarning feelings, but this may last only a few seconds or it mite be followed by a major episode days later. There is just no for sure way of knowing. Except w/ Time & Patience. Plus, IF he was to have one while driving others could be involved. I don't think he would want that on his conscience. And if I recall correctly it States on the Dilantin prescription info leaflet 'Do not drive or operate heavy machinery till you know how you react to this med.' That alone can take up to 4-6 weeks.

    Do you know how long he needs to be seizure-free to be legal to drive again? has that info. :) Chek it out, cuz, It varies by State. Could be 3 mths, could be a yr.

    Now, a true story, although I wasn't driving, Thank Goodness. My GF says I started insisting on getting out of her car. She was doing 75mph down a freeway. My seat belt was unbuckled & I was searching for the door handle. B4 she could decide what to do, I slipped to the floorboard & started convulsing. She was Relieved, that's for sure. She was able to safely slow down, pull over & transferred me to the back seat buckled me in & I slept it off. I have No Recall of any of it.

    Others have related stories. Others haven't lived to relate their story. Sooo, is he ready to make an adjustment in his life? Positive side! No vehicle maintenance, no insurance, save on gas & one less car on the road, so less pollution to boot. . :)

    Encourage your son to Educate himself About Epilepsy & all it's aspects. We have excellent Resources/Info. :) Let him know that He can continue to live a 'normal' life. But, we do have some limitations. We learn what they are. We learn to live by them. We learn to cope.

    HUGS! To you & yours. Please do keep us posted. Know I care. . :)

    Love Candi
    thestump replied to dancer86442's response:
    Thanks for the info. Although My son hasn't been diagnosed as epileptic he has had a seizure. Is it possible/likely that it was a one time event?
    The docs in the ER told him he had a calcium deposit on the inside of his skull that is pushing on his brain. I have never heard of anything like that but I am no doctor.


    dancer86442 replied to thestump's response:
    Hello JD,

    No, your son won't be diagnosed w/ Epilepsy AKA seizure disorder until he has had 2 'episodes'.

    Normally it is low calcium, potassium, &/or sodium that triggers seizures. I am no doctor, but, in my opinion, anything that disrupts the 'normal' chemical processes of the brain can lower a persons seizure threshold. You mite find this site of interest.

    Please continue to educate yourself & your son. Know what to expect & how to deal w/ it. Starting w/ proper seizure 1st aid. :) Just in case. Keep in mind, an ER or 911 is usually not needed. Only if seizure/episode lasts longer then 5 -10 min non-stop.

    Hope this helps. I hope you & your son accept the fact that Anything is Possible & for now, Better Safe Than Sorry.

    I say 'Peace' to you, too. :) Take It One Day At a Time. Time, Patience & Support. We are here for you.

    Love Candi
    balmayne responded:
    A lot of people have different opinions on the subject.
    When I was 16 years old, in 1959, it was legal for people with seizures to drive in California.

    I chose not too. I felt it was irresponsible for me to drive. I had seizures since I was 6 years old, 1949. I chose walking, the bus, friends and later my husband.

    I thought, would if I killed myself or someone else. I am 67 years old now and I haave never regretted my decision.

    balmayne replied to dancer86442's response:
    I decided when I was a teenager not to drive. I felt that I could kill myself or someone else in a car accident.

    A few seconds or minute distraction from driving can be deadly. I take public transportation, walking, my friends and my husband to take me places.

    Walking is great exercise. You should do it anyway.
    AmyC18 replied to thestump's response:

    I saw your post and felt compelled to reply. I too have not been 'diagnosed' as an epileptic as my EEG's have always been normal but both of my children and my best friend will tell you I def suffer from some sort of seizure disorder. I am on Keppra but was on Dilantin b4. It took me crashing my car into a light pole with my 4 year old in the back seat to stop me from driving. THANK GOD HE WAS OKAY AND I DIDN'T HIT ANYONE ELSE!!! Your son might not be so lucky.

    I am not a Dr and I am not trying to preach to you but I can not relay the dangers and unpredictability of seizures and if you have had one then I wouldn't drive. I would check the law's for your state and follow that. Better safe than sorry. Good luck!!!

    balmayne replied to AmyC18's response:
    Hi Amy,

    You learned the hard way. I am glad you are still with us to tell us what happened to you and your 4 year old son.

    I am glad that it is illegal in CA for people with seizures to drive. Since, I am a pedestrian, I could be run over by someone driving during a seizure. I would be killed and the driver would be held responsible. That could result in a manslaughter charge.

    thestump replied to balmayne's response:

    I appreciate all the responses to my post. I am a former paramedic and ER Nurse in L.A. for several years. Unfortunately I have seen first hand the results of accidents caused by a seizing driver on more than one occasion. This is the impetus of my concern. Since my first post I have called the DMV, all they could tell me was that his license is valid with no restrictions thus far. My son is a great kid and is naturally upset about this turn of events, however he is also civic minded & understands the gravity of the situation. The problem now is that he believes that since he is now on medication and the DMV hasn't shut him down that he is ok to drive locally (like to the grocery store etc.) since he is staying close & going slow down residential streets he figures he is relatively safe. I'm trying to impress upon him that "relatively safe" when your talking life & death of innocent bystanders and himself is simply not acceptable and that he doesn't have the right to endanger others simply because he figures it is "Relatively Safe".

    Now having said all that, I can understand his frame of mind as a 24 year old tall good looking young man. He doesn't like the thought that he is "Flawed" and taking his keys away would be tatamount to castrate him with a dull spoon...

    Seriously, he feels that without the ability to come and go on a whim that his life is over...LOL

    Frankly my view on this is screw your vanity and ego! Do you want to be responsible for killing some old lady in her garden or a kid playing in his own front yard?

    It is truly a complex many headed monster that he is dealing with for the first time in his life.

    Anyway, thanks again ladies, for your time and concern for my son & I


    balmayne replied to thestump's response:
    Your son is not "Flawed." He needs to be educated. Since you have warned him of the dangers of driving, he should listen to you.

    He is an adult. Epilepsy is not a "many headed monster."

    I have 3 sons who were not able to drive due to epilepsy. They were more responsible than your son. They chose not to drive. I had a discussion with them. I had educated them that many people have illnesses and epilepsy is one of them. They accepted that fact because I did.

    My husband and I had paid $3000 in driving lessons for one of my sons. Then he started getting dizzy spells and told us that he did not feel that he should drive. We agreed with him.I am thankful that he made the correct decision.

    If my son was over 18 years old and decided to drive, having dizzy spells, he would have been told to move out of the house. I would not be responsible for paying for his reckless driving. Making him move out, he would not be able to buy a car, get insurance or drive.

    If your son kills someone, you are just as responsible. What if your son gets killed?
    dancer86442 replied to thestump's response:
    Hello JD,

    Knowing/seeing first hand what can/mite happen has got to be frustrating to you. Didn't the DR at least explain that our meds can take 4-6 wks to prove effectiveness? He may understand the gravity of his situation, but, he has no clue that his meds may not work for him. :(

    I have a son same age. I know how he would feel about no driver's license. But, he has friends/family who will take him anywhere he needs to go. (Since his vehicles (3 trucks ) are always 'under repair' he learned to Ask. :) ) Is this an 'option' for your son? Do you think you could get him to consider it, at least till he Knows for sure his meds are working?

    Question: Have you considered reporting his Status to the DMV yourself? Or reminding his DR to do so?

    Love Candi
    thestump replied to balmayne's response:

    My son has lived in his own place for more than 5 years now. I can't tell him what to do but if I could I would CERTAINLY tell him not to drive. However, since he is his own man that is not an option... I can talk until I'm blue in the face (And believe me I have) but ultimately the descision rests with him...

    As far as my son being "flawed" that is HIS word not mine. I know he isn't flawed...

    As far as my being responsible for my son's actions, would you please explain just how that works?

    He takes his responsibilites seriously as that is how he was raised. However, he does need to be educated surely, and, since he knows that, he is taking the initiaive to learn what he can on his own. Hopefully he will learn before something tragic happens.



    PS This first event only happened a couple weeks ago so it is new to all of us. We are doing our best to cope with this sudden & dramatic change to our lives...JD
    dancer86442 replied to thestump's response:
    Hello JD,

    Thank You Very Much for answering Ruth. She misunderstood your son's living situation.

    I am glad to hear your son is doing some 'homework' of his own. I do hope he joins a support group, too. They will be able to help him w/ Resources & give him a better understanding of his situation. The Plus side is he will find out he isn't alone & he isn't 'flawed'. :)

    As a parent of a Child w/ Epilepsy, I can fully understand your angst/worries. My daughter is like your son. But, after 10 yrs I think the DRS have finally found a med combo that works for her. She has just finished the 'trial & error' phase w/ this med combo (Topamax & Lyrica) & so far has had no 'episodes'. The side effects were the Pitts, but, I convinced her to wait it out. She has grown up w/ Epilepsy all around her. But, now realizes there is more to it then what she witnessed. Witnessing us having our 'episodes' did make her a stronger person, though. She was able to talk w/ her DRS & she has no qualms about telling Them what she thinks/knows is happening in her situation. She is her own Advocate. :) Which is Great, since we live several States apart & I am unable to be w/ her for her appts. She has learned to take her BF w/ her to some of her appts. That way both of them can hear & discuss what is happening. And BF is there in case she forgets what to say/ask or what the DR has to say. This is a Very beneficial arrangement for ALL!(Especially since she refuses to keep a Journal) And highly recommended by DRS & others w/ EP.

    Hugs & Peace to you!

    Love Candi
    balmayne replied to dancer86442's response:
    Hello JD,

    I apologize for my misunderstanding the situation. I am glad that you corrected and cleared it up for me.

    Only 2 weeks ago this happened. This is all new too you and a shock to your whole family. Candi is giving you great advice. I do hope that your son will join a support group. It will really help him,

    (((HUGS))) Ruth
    Forgive me?

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