This week, I want to share an email I received and my thoughts about it. Here's part of the email:
"I read something you wrote on Facebook saying that nobody should drive with a migraine. Just who the hell died and left you in charge? I don't get an aura with my migraines so I'm just fine to drive thank you very much. I have a migraine 20 or more days a month. I have to drive to pick up my kids, get groceries, go to the pharmacy. If your migraines were as often and bad as mine, you'd sing a different tune..."
So, for those of you who don't know, I've had periods of chronic Migraine during which I've had up to 30 days of Migraine in a month. I couldn't work, take care of our home, or do anything for my family. This isn't a contest, but I feel I should address that part of the email. And, I don't need to change my tune. It's just fine as it is.
The question of whether it's safe for us to drive when we have a Migraine is quite simple. No, it is not safe. It doesn't matter if we have visual aura symptoms. It doesn't matter if we're extremely sensitive to light. The quite simple fact is that a Migraine attack slows our reaction times, making it unsafe for us to drive. Period.
If we drive when we have a Migraine, endanger ourselves AND others. Some people may say that we have the right to take risks. That's debatable. Even if we say we have the right to take risks for ourselves, we do NOT have the right to risk the safety and very lives of others.
Maybe this needs to be put in very practical terms. A fellow Migraine patient shared her story about driving with a Migraine with me. She doesn't mind my sharing the story, but she does wish to remain anonymous. One day, she decided she just had to drive to the grocery store instead of waiting for her husband to get home. On the way back, she wasn't able to stop the car in time and hit another car. The car carried a man, a woman, and their daughter. The woman with the Migraine walked away from the crash. The people in the other car sustained injuries. Fortunately, they weren't very severe, and they were all discharged from the hospital in just a few days. The police cited the woman for the wreck. She paid a large fine and spent a few months in jail. Her problems were just starting. The family from the other car filed a civil suit for damages, and the jury awarded them a huge settlement. She and her husband lost everything, including their home. Her husband filed for divorce.
She said something to me that is so horrifically sad. She said, "I simply didn't believe what you said about not driving with a Migraine. I believed I was fine. It took losing everything — our home, our boat, our fancy cars, and my marriage to the love of my life — to make me listen. And now it's too late. My life might as well be over. The only thing I can be thankful for is that nobody died."
So, there you have it. Migraine specialists and researchers have told me that our response times are slowed. If that's not enough to convince you, please consider what happened to the woman who shared her experience. We absolutely should not drive when we have a Migraine.
because a migraine is NOT "just a headache"