Epilepsy

Releasing The Keys – Epilepsy & Driving

When it came to driving, in preparation for my driving exam, I vigorously practiced in school and church parking lots with family as to pass the official exam with flying colors. I was very elated to have my license to take myself places on my own without assistance from others. To have the freedom to go where I please. I dreamed of summer days with the windows down, wind in my hair and music paving the way to where I go. Vigorous practice paying off, receiving my drivers license was definitely a very good day. It wasn’t long after that I purchased my very first car. It was nothing fancy. A little gold Kia Sephia that I nicknamed ‘Nugget’. My little piece of gold that would take me on all sorts of adventures around town and further. And yes, my summer dreams of wind in the hair and music paving the way came to be. It was a nice piece of independence that I cherished very much. All of this was before I were to be diagnosed with Epilepsy. I lived a happy healthy life during this time. No health issues. No seizures. I had no idea what lie in wait about two years later. Me and my Kia often drove to quiet parks to watch the sun rise and sun set. Drove winding roads to watch horses roam the pastures. Drove to just get away and have me-time. Yeah, my Kia wasn’t fancy but I have plenty of fond memories with that little gold car. December 11, 2008, I hopped in my car to spend the day Christmas present shopping for my husband and family. This was to be my husband and I’s first official Christmas together, having just gotten married 4 months prior. This day was like any other day I had ever driven. It was Kia and I on another adventure. A beautiful winter morning. Snow glistening like diamonds and the rising sun pouring beautiful colors on everything it touched. I drove one road. I drove another road taking notice of a beautiful farm field lined with a white wooden fence. Taking a left on the next road was the last road I ever drove with my little gold Kia. I immediately lost all vision. My body weakened. Leaving me only seconds to slip my foot off of the gas pedal and onto the break, not knowing what was happening, I blacked out and suffered a seizure behind the wheel. Paramedics and witnesses say that my Kia and I drove through two front yards, over a cement curb, through a white fence and slammed into a pine tree in a third front yard. After receiving the official Epilepsy diagnosis and leaving the hospital, days later it was time to pick up my Kia. When we arrived at the impound, I had no idea what to expect. Chris came around the corner with my car. My battered and beaten gold nugget. It sat in the drive way for a while as I came to grips with my Epilepsy diagnosis. Knowing that this was the end of my ability to drive. I decided to sell my car to a man who wanted to fix it up and give it to his son for his very first car. Watching my very first car be driven away never to be seen again, I also made the decision to give up driving for good. I thanked God and I still thank God that I didn’t hurt anyone that day and that I only walked away with minor whiplash. I never want to put anyone or myself in danger so long as I live. I’m happy that I had the opportunity, as short as it was, to experience what its like to drive. To be in the drivers seat, to feel the wind in my hair and sing with the songs on the radio wherever it was that I was going. To watch the sun rise or to watch the sun set. I now learn to embrace the many great ways of transportation still available to me. Driving was nice but making the decision to release the keys to stay safe and keep others safe is also something I’m completely okay with. Maybe one day, when a cure can be found, I will get behind the wheel for another great adventure somewhere great.

I am a happily-ever-after wife, an Epilepsy Diagnosee, Advocate for Epilepsy Awareness (The Epilepsy Network), life lover & Christ inspired! Life is a journey and I'm loving every moment of it. Even the bumps in the road!

6 Comments

  • Sue

    I also can not drive in kind of being an epileptic. I have to depend on everyone else to take me every where I need to go. It is frustrating, I have had to come home in my wheelchair from the ER after 9:00 PM, almost got run over 3 times. I live alone, all but my dog. I do not want anyone feel sorry for me, I move my furniture and I am paralyzed from the hip down on the right side. I sit on the floor and drag the furniture. It is very heavy but I do it. I have tor I have no one but myself to do it. I get frustrated but learned I have to be strong. So in my closing please everyone PLEASE stay strong.
    Sue

  • Sue. Shine

    My 17 yr old daughter has been seizure free for 18 months we were in the process of getting her provisional licence over the last 6 weeks she suddenly has had 2 seizures not sure why but it will be at least another year before the subject comes up again very selfish but I will have peace for that year

  • Nortelle

    (Ran out of space there). 🙂
    I have not driven since then and it is one of the hardest things I have ever had to do. Now I rely on everyone else to take me everywhere.

    It is crippling but you know what? I am alive and I am here to help push our cause as well. Maybe one day they will find an answer.

    Stay strong
    Fellow Epileptic Nortelle

  • Nortelle

    Tiffany:

    I feel you and totally understand where you are coming from, stay strong.

    Sometimes we try to manage and follow Dr’s orders but we still run into a roadblock. I was diagnosed at the age of 20 after giving birth to my daughter and we are still trying to figure out why. I managed very well (usually one every 3-5 years) until last year August when I started having them more frequently. I have had 6 in the past 12 months and we are typing tests to determine why they have increased. I have not driven since th

  • Dave

    Tiffany,

    Thank you for sharing your story; it’s incredible you walked away the way you did. I, too, was diagnosed with epilepsy about 5 years ago and remember what it was like not being able to drive for a year and a half.

    Taking the bus, walking and staying home were my only options for a while but I am now, like Mark, under control and able to live a virtually normal life. While all seizure types are different perhaps you will some day find your balance, whether it be through the right medications (I went through 4 kinds before finding one that worked well for me), meditation, proper diet and exercise or a combination of it all.

    Keep strong and keep sharing your stories. I remember being so lost when when I was diagnosed and tried finding (non-medical) books about people with similar stories. I’m sure your blog is an inspiration to many, not to mention a healthy focus for you.

    Stay in touch.

    Dave (@grenierdave)

  • Mark

    Dear tkairos
    Read your post. Now obviously everybody who has epilepsy is different in the way it effects them. But it’s all down to management of the condition both by the GP and also how you yourself manage it. I was diognosed at the age of 13 and as I’m sure your aware there’s the testing period for finding the right drug . Im now in my early 30’s and have been stable for 15 years, i now drive And it is because I am compliant with the drug regime that i have managed to stay stable. So I wouldn’t throw things to one side and say I can’t do that . Instead say maybe in the future one day again I will be able to. If you find the right combination of drug therapy and you don’t allow docters and pharmacists to change the patents of the drugs your on then all things are hopeful.
    Take care

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