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Can You Come for a Visit? My ME/CFS Says No
My daughter and son-in-law just had a baby last week. We are thrilled. But we won't be able to see the baby or hold her any time soon. We won't be able to take over little gifts or help out with housework or babysitting.
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HELP! Daughter with ME falling asleep at the wheel

Discussion in 'Lifestyle Management' started by me2, Sep 24, 2012.

  1. me2

    me2

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    My daughter has to commute to college 1and 1/2 hours one way on Tuesday and Thursday. Our local primary doc just told her that "everyone gets tired and it is just part of working and going to school." They actually told her to try a lot of caffeine and to start smoking (I am not making this up.) What do I do? She falls asleep when driving that far. We are trying to sell our home and move to the college town, but until then, what can she do? Medication advice? Please help us. I am so worried about her.
     
  2. madietodd

    madietodd Senior Member

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    I think she has to stop driving immediately. Obviously, this upends your and her lives, but an accident would do worse.

    I've stopped visiting my mother, because at 45 minutes away, it's too far for me to drive safely. I don't fall asleep, but I lose my focus and my reaction time gets very slow. So your daughter might be a dangerous driver long before she actually falls asleep.

    Caffeine would work to get me there, but by the time I had to come home I'd be crashing, and doubly-dangerous.
     
    Little Bluestem and SOC like this.
  3. Dainty

    Dainty Senior Member

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    And with good reason. We cannot give medical advice here, but it certainly sounds like it'd be wise to seek out a second opinion!

    Common sense indicates that she should not drive when there is a danger of falling asleep at the wheel, since she could end up causing major harm or even death not only herself but to others on the road as well. DrowsyDriving.org might be a useful resource.

    I stopped driving several years ago - after multiple indicators that I was struggling, the final straw was when a brainfog moment very nearly caused an collision that would have been 100% my fault. We have a responsibility to make sure we're fit to drive before getting behind the wheel, and it ought to be taken very seriously. Whatever she feels she "has" to do now will seem insignificant compared to death or serious injury. It's not worth it.
     
  4. SOC

    SOC Senior Member

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    I had to stop driving for quite a while, too. It is a very difficult decision, as many of us know personally, but it's better to give up driving for now than to put your life, and the lives of others, in danger.

    It sounds like this is a good time for your daughter to focus on getting good treatment for her illness and improving her health. Pushing through ME is likely to make her condition worse in the future.

    This illness really sucks, doesn't it?
     
    Valentijn likes this.
  5. me2

    me2

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    Thank you to everyone, and I, myself, had to quit driving due to ME so I understand the importance of being mentally alert when driving. However, my daughter has a full scholarship and child support from my ex who is looking for ANY excuse to cut her off. If she stopped attending now, she would lose it all. Isn't there a short term solution? What about those "shift worker" medicines? My husband works night shift and has heard of them. What do you all think?
     
  6. Dainty

    Dainty Senior Member

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    How would "shift worker" medicine be any healthier than caffiene and nicotine?
     
  7. allyann

    allyann Senior Member

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    The college would have some disability officers and assistance programs. They may be able to offer you some other suggestions or alternatives. Lean on them as hard as you can to get the assistance you need. I ended up getting extra time for my assignments and exams that helped me get through some of my units.

    Another suggestion, can she board during the week with someone close to the college until you move? She could then catch public transport on the other days to get there when she has more time and energy to travel. Most colleges have host families that are willing to put up students for a minimum fee. By the time you count petrol and maintenance costs for the car, it might not be that much more expensive.

    Hope this helps...

    Allie
     
    Little Bluestem, justy, Sushi and 2 others like this.
  8. Sushi

    Sushi Moderator and Senior Member Albuquerque

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    I also use the disability office at a college and they have a lot of resources. If your daughter is not in contact with them it is worth a try to see what ideas they might have.

    I agree with others that the type of drugs you are thinking of might not do the job or be reliable. A lot of ME/CFS patients have tried them but with very mixed results.

    Best wishes,
    Sushi
     
  9. Vincent

    Vincent Senior Member

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    You have to determine if risking your child's life, and the life's of anyone she may hit on the road, are worth the extra income. Unless it will throw you out of your house, I would say no. You might have to just let your ex 'win' this one to save your daughter.
     
  10. me2

    me2

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    Dainty, I think you raise a good point because I really don't know anything about the prescription meds I was referring to. I would have said that the government makes sure medicines are safe before approving them BEFORE I got ME, but I sure know better than that now.

    Vincent, I am sorry if I gave you the wrong impression. My daughter earned the scholarship which pays for all of her tuition and books all by herself and it wasn't easy to get especially given her ME. The child support is certainly not worth fighting over much less risking lives. I just think if, and I mean "if", there is a way to help her stay in school, I would prefer that she not have to choose between an education and her/someone else's li(ve)s. Allie and Sushi, thank you for your thoughtful responses. I am excited at the possibility of host families and maybe the disability office would even know of some car pools from our small town to the college (because it is the only college for miles!)

    Even if these ideas fall through, I think you are exactly right that seeking the advice of the disability office is the way to go. Don't know why I didn't think of that. Oh, wait, yes, I do - some months ago, I asked my husband to bring me a bowl of chocolate covered raisins. I meant a bowl of Raisin Bran. Well, I was sort of close....

    Thanks, again, to all.
     
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  11. Vincent

    Vincent Senior Member

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    Ok I'm glad to hear that you aren't putting your child in the middle of anything. Sorry about that but I have a real sensitivity to that and I will not allow it on any forum that I'm a member.

    I would look into provigil or nuvigil, they are approved to treat 'excessive daytime sleepiness'. Be aware though, the stuff costs a fortune off insurance and with insurance, it's a high tier drug so expect resistance from insurance companies.

    I've personally tried both and I find nuvigil gives less headaches; it works best when I take half of the pill that is in the trial sample box, whatever MG it is. Nuvigil is the newer of the two.

    Good luck.
     
  12. caledonia

    caledonia

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    1-1/2 hours is a hell of a commute for anyone. I would get her an apartment in the college town asap. She can come home on weekends if she wants.

    When I had to go visit my dad in the nursing home and was too tired to drive, I would do a little bit of chocolate. It was enough to wake me up to drive, but not so much that I was buzzed with caffeine anxiety. It takes 15 minutes or so to kick in.
     
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  13. taniaaust1

    taniaaust1

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    Id say definately not. Falling asleep probably means she is NEEDING to rest more. Taking stimulants so one can push oneself throu things better can cause some a very very serious crash to which she may not even recover from. It isnt worth that risk.

    I tried pushing myself throu college and ended up due to that bedbound for 9mths to the point where I couldnt even walk to the toilet a lot of the time and needed to be cared for, then was housebound for quite a few years after that. All cause I'd tried to get throu college and pushed myself one time too many.

    When I was able to leave house and was driving again.. social security tried making me work for 6hrs a week (under threats of no payment otherwise.. and I was driving very tired and often almost falling asleep at the wheel when driving. I ended up due to being forced to drive while tired, smashing up two cars (the other car I hit like was only a few years old). It was me then who unfortunately was up for the costs even thou I'd be forced to drive (the whole thing isnt fair, I'd still like to sue for being forced to drive.. for my sickness certificates from doctor being refused by the gov dept etc etc). Me being forced to drive could of not only killed me but could of resulted in killing another too, fortunately neither me or the other I'd smashed into was injured.

    One can get special disablity support throu schools and colleges.. I got that for the year I tried to push myself throu collage while having to drop more and more subjects as I went on.. unfortunately i then crashed bad at exams so never could even finish after all I'd done.. everything I'd spent the whole year learning, was gone from my brain, couldnt make sense of anything no more...... and just then ended up bedbound. That as 14 years ago now.

    Your doctor will not be being held reliable if she falls asleep at the wheel and great harm is done.. she herself will be in the eyes of the law for driving while unsafe. She needs to be boarding close to her college if she's to continue in the manner she currently is.

    Your daughter has limits she should be trying to stay under and that should be the upmost priority if her health isnt to be put at great risk.
     
    Valentijn likes this.
  14. Dainty

    Dainty Senior Member

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    The doctor in this case might actually be held liable in such a scanario, depending on where she lives. Canada, for example, has a law which makes it explicitely mandatory for a doctor to report if one of their patients are medically unfit to drive.

    It looks like in the USA it is recommended, but I have not found documentation of it being enforced.

    me2 you haven't actually indicated whether your daughter has been diagnosed with or appears to potentialy suffer from ME/CFS, but if she does then I agree with tania in that the priority should be to enable her to rest as much as she needs to rather than force her way through it. Even if it doesn't seem like she has chronic health issues, falling asleep at the wheel generally does mean one needs the rest. I'm glad you're looking into other possibilities, let us know how it turns out! :)
     
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  15. taniaaust1

    taniaaust1

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    True but it could be very hard to prove as ME/CFS is known to not be a stable illness but a very up and down one and I think a doctor could easily get out of it due to its a fluctulating illness, if one took it to court (if one even had the energy to take it to court if someone bad did happen).
     
  16. Little Bluestem

    Little Bluestem Senescent on the Illinois prairie, USA

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    If you daughter has a health problem, could the scholarship be deferred until she is better?

    If the disability office does not have information on car pools, you could place a notice in your local newspaper (if you have one) and/or put up notices around town seeking another student she could ride with.
     
  17. nanonug

    nanonug Senior Member

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    It would probably be a good idea to determine why she falls asleep at the wheel. Meanwhile, maybe she could try (legally, by going to the doctor) some stimulant medications such as Adderall or Concerta.
     

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