Thursday, October 08, 2009

Driving & Migraines: Real Issue Leads to Unexpected Backlash


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Blogger, migraine management coach, lawyer and migrainuer Megan Oltman of Free My Brain from Migraine Pain recently wrote an excellent, well researched article for My Migraine Connection on the possible legal implications of driving when you have a migraine. This was a follow up to her previous article about migraines and driving, which focused on driving after you have taken medication for a migraine (Migraines & Driving Don't Mix). Unfortunately the reaction to her work has not been as positive as I would have expected given the quality of the information and the importance of the topic.

Migraines and Our Driver's License

If you read the article, you'll see it came about because of an e-mail Megan received from a migraineur who had her driving privileges reviewed when her state's motor vehicles department learned about her severe migraines. Despite the fact this migraineur emphasized she never has and never will drive with a migraine, leaving no reason to worry about her being a danger on the road, she was forced to submit medical documentation and retake her driving examination.

I only know one other person in real life who has migraines as bad and frequent as I do and that person did lose her driver's license for a time because of her migraines. I hope it's clear this isn't just a speculative, stir things up issue. It is a real concern for migraineurs and something to think about now rather than after something happens and you lose your driver's license.

We have to make good choices or our ability to make those choices for ourselves may be taken away from us in the future. I think we're all well aware that driving after taking a strong pain medication or muscle relaxer is not a safe thing to do and avoid it accordingly. However, how many of us have ever considered whether we may be putting ourselves at risk of losing our driver's licenses simply by driving with a migraine? If we hadn't Megan's article gives us the information we need to realize this is a possible concern and the motivation to work on alternate strategies before we need them.

My husband is the only person I can ask to give me a ride in my town, but he works an hour away from home 5 or 6 days a week. I can take the bus if I have to, but I prefer not to because walking to the stops when I have a migraine is excruciating. I ordinarily take a cab. I even have the phone numbers of a couple of cab companies on speed dial on my cell phone so I can easily reach them when I need them. I also have a brochure listing the routes and schedules for the bus so I can easily find the information I need as an infrequent rider. It's also a good idea to keep cash on hand for these times whether you'll take the bus or a cab.

Sources:
Migraines & Driving & Driving Migraineurs Crazy
Migraines & Driving Don't Mix
Migraines and Our Driver's License

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DISCLAIMER: Nothing on this site constitutes medical or legal advice. I am a patient who is engaged and educated and enjoys sharing my experiences and news about migraines, pain and depression. Please consult your own health care providers for advice on your unique situation.