Monday, July 28, 2008

I Don't Know What To Think

A while back I wrote a post on my dLife blog about a very scary situation that happened to a friend of mine from church.

He is a Type 2 that recently started taking insulin. Anyhow, he totaled his truck after passing out while driving due to an extreme low. Luckily he did not hurt himself and hit no one either.

Yesterday at church I asked him how things were going.

“I lost my license. I have to go to court but I can’t drive. There is a lot of crap going on right now.” He wanted to change the subject and I could not blame him. I could see he was getting upset.

My heart ached for him.

At first when I heard this I was so angry. Was it his fault? Did he ask for this? Who is to blame?

I would say Diabetes is to blame but does that mean he shouldn’t have a license?

He could have killed himself.

He could have killed someone.

He could have killed me.

I could have been behind that wheel.

I am not sure what to think. One side says he should not drive and the other says if he shouldn’t then anyone at risk of anything shouldn’t either.

Whatare your thoughts on this?


micksmom28 said...

That's a tough one. Maybe he needs to get in control first and prove that he doesn't have anymore extreme highs or lows for a while before he can drive again. I had a friend who had a seizure at the wheel and crashed her car and was hurt really bad. They took her licence too. Who makes the decision to take their licences away anyways?

Shannon said...

I recently read a blog post written by a friend who was at a totally safe number to drive before he started off. While he was driving, he dropped so quickly that his thought process was cut off and couldn't remember what happened next. Luckily his "autopilot" parked him at a store.

So, even the most cautious and controlled PWD could be caught off guard by a low.

Honestly, it sounds reasonable to take the license away from someone who was low while driving. I'd expect that to be the knee-jerk reaction of a judge who knows nothing about diabetes.

But, if his reasoning is to take away your friend's license because of his lack of control during his low, then he should take away the license of every other diabetic AND those who are epileptic....

or people who have had heart attacks behind the wheel....

or those who have had some other attack caused by a health condition.

My point is that your friend's license shouldn't be taken away. I hope he can find an understanding lawyer who is willing to educate himself and thereby educate the judge to see the reasoning behind returning your friend's license.

Scott K. Johnson said...

That is a tough one. Any of us in his position would be pissed, but like you, can also see the reasons behind the decision.

I also empathize with Shannon's friend (who is my friend too), and was scared crazy by his story. What the heck could have possibly been done differently? I don't know...

I have to get a form from my state's DMV signed annually by my endocrinologist saying I'm in good enough control to operate a motor vehicle.

I am the first to tell you that my control is different each and every day. It is also frustrating when reading these stories and those DMV forms that what they mean by "control" means "no incapacitating lows". So what do we do, run high to avoid them? I don't know...

I sure don't want to hurt anyone, but I also need to drive. Where's the balance?


Nicole P said...

Oh boy, George, this hits close to home...

Read here... - you have a password, I know...

Robert said...

Last year I totaled my car. I always check before I get in a car and drive, but I was with a friend and got so low that I didn't even know that there was anything wrong with me. At the time I was taking Cosopt, an eyedrop that can (in less than 1% of the patients taking it) interfere with a diabetic's abilities to detect hypoglycemia. For months prior to my car wreck I kept telling my doctors that I felt something wrong, but nothing ever came of it and I stayed on the medicine.

I have very limited memory of my car wreck or the events leading up to it. I was with a friend, my blood sugar dropped, my friend noticed something was wrong with me and offered help, but I refused everything and appeared to be normal (functional and responsive). I decided to leave, managed to get down a flight of stairs, got in the car and drove out of a gated apartment complex, drove a few miles down the road and purchased a cheeseburger, but didn't eat it. I drove a few more miles and rear ended a car at an intersection.

I talked briefly with the people I hit and agreed to pull over into the nearest parking lot. I didn't pull into the parking lot and kept going down the road in the general direction of my home. A few miles later I rear ended another vehicle (a truck) and disabled my car.

Someone called 911, the fire department was the first to arrive and noticed something was wrong with the way I was responding to questions. I was more disoriented than someone should have been, and they noticed my wallet on the car floor with a medic alert card in it.

The fire department tested my blood sugar and I later found out it was 37. The fire department tried to start an IV but I was combative. My first real memories of the situation was waking up in an ambulance. I had no idea where I was, when, or how I had gotten there. I talked a little bit with the police officer, who ended up not writing me any tickets, I think because I was trying to be as nice as I could. Basically he said that things could have been a whole lot worse, and even though the situation sucked, no one was really hurt bad. I was the worst off because my car had been through two accidents.

I only have a few memories... at one point in time I tried to unroll my window. Another point in time I remember a pillow... which was probably the airbag. I ended up driving over 7 miles, through several lit intersections. I managed to purchase food, although it never made it in my mouth (and probably wouldn't have helped that much).

My endocrinologists recommendation (over the phone and through a receptionist) was to always check my blood sugar before I drive. That angered me more than anything, as it was something I already did.

I no longer take Cospot, and don't have any of the problems that I used to have. I got real lucky with the ticket situation, but it sounded like my primary care physician understood the amount of effort I place in trying to be a responsible and healthy patient. He said ultimately the decision for licenses is left to a judge in a situation where a ticket has been issued, and they'll often take a doctors opinion into account. Overall, I feel awful about the event. But I'm still, in a weird way, glad that nothing worse happened.

Bob Hawkinson said...

Been there, done that, a long time ago. He will have to get a letter from his doctor stating that he is in good enough control to drive. He will have to check his bloodsugar before driving for the rest of his's ok though because it is a good trade.
We are all truly accountable to each other and I expect maybe he needs to improve his management.
He might look into a sure has been a big help for me...
Keep going.......Peace, Bob

Andrea said...

You know, as a person without diabetes, I would still constitute this as unfair. Perhaps if he had a history of diabetic induced accidents, I could understand why the court would yank is license. But one time? Even drunk drivers get a second chance, and they are deliberately putting other's life at risk. They purposely impair their judgment. Your friend just had an episode cause by a disease that is unpredictable.

Any person behind the wheel of a car can get distracted and take a life. Anyone. A car is a human operated machine and humans are far from perfect. I hope your friend doesn't lose his license for long. I personally think him losing his license at all is ridiculous.