Sharp Opinions on Epilepsy

I have had an emergency room nurse say to me: “Epileptics should not be allowed to drive.”  I have several problems with this statement.

First of all, how are people who have epilepsy supposed to live if they cannot drive?  How are they supposed to work?  Several states have laws concerning epilepsy and driving to protect the general  public.  However, if your medicine keeps you seizure free for awhile, you can drive again.   Clearly, not allowing large populations of people to drive in order to travel to their place of employment would be very problematic.  Placing all of them on disability would not be a viable solution either.  The government already has financial problems.   I wanted to tell this person that there are millions of americans with a seizure disorder that are capable of doing many every day activities including driving without a problem.  They are also capable of doing this for years at a time, but this nurse was not in the mood for a debate.

I also didn’t like her use of the word ‘epileptics’.  Epilepsy is a disease that varies greatly from individual to individual.  It is impossible for you to generalize when talking about this condition.  What works for one person may not work for another. The term ‘epileptic’ also tends to define by person by the disease that they have.  This is a practice that should be avoided.  People are complex and shouldn’t be labeled because of one characteristic or disease that they happen to have.

I eventually forgave her because this nurse’s opinions had probably been formed after seeing the results of some tragic accidents.   Have you had any experiences like this one?


3 thoughts on “Sharp Opinions on Epilepsy

  1. I agree with you wholeheartedly. I would never want to be called an epileptic. None of us should be defined by our jobs, what we do, or what diseases we have. There are millions of things that make up our lives. “A big thing is always made up of a lot of little things.” She also should not have said that in front of you if you indeed have epilepsy.

    I understand the state laws about the driving part, but depending on the severity of the seizures. I don’t think we should have to wait 6 months to a year in Illinois, but wait at least until we’re stabilized.

    I just got diagnosed with a seizure disorder two months ago, and I got my driving priviledges taken away, so I have to move to the city to take public transportation. I know that everybody can’t do that though. I’m on disability through my work, but it still stinks.

    The driving situation should be left to whether or not the person is stable or not. Not a diagnosis. Plus, the onset of seizures can happen at any time for any reasons, so if you really think about it, we’re all in danger! 🙂


    • With public transportation you will not have to deal with car related issues, which can save you money. I take public transportation where I live and find it to be liberating. I can work on stuff while going to work!


      • True! I was thinking of that. 🙂 Public transportation has become dangerous for me too because I have acquired a new thing to deal with… pseudoseizures. Now even walking down the street by myself is dangerous. Hopefully they can figure this one out!


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