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Smeg13

Driving

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Hi I am new to the site and would appreciate some advice relating to driving.  I suffered a subarchnoid haemorrhage on 2nd January 2017 and I am currently recovering.  I did not require surgery as the haemorrhage stopped bleeding.  Would appreciate some help as the advice I have received has varied.  

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Smeg13, welcome to BTG.

 

A SAH is a notifiable condition to DVLA so you must report it and often your license is suspended. You also need to inform your insurance company.

There are several threads on here about driving and different experiences of members.

 

In the search box on the top right of the home page put "driving" and search for the posts.

Hope this helps. 

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Hi Smeg,

 

I also received varied information, and spoke to the specialist nurse while I was in hospital. I told her that I didn't want to inform the DVLA but wouldn't drive until I had the all clear.

 

I had SAH and two coils with a further 3 aneurisms of which I don't yet know what they plan to do with.

 

My specialist nurse told me that I didn't have to inform the DVLA if I didn't intend to drive, and once given the all clear can then drive. I have looked on the DVLA site and it states the following:-

 

You must tell DVLA if you have suffered a subarachnoid haemorrhage.

You can be fined up to £1,000 if you don’t tell DVLA about a medical condition that affects your driving. You may be prosecuted if you’re involved in an accident as a result.

 

Now my take on this is that IF YOU DRIVE before you get the all clear then yes, you should inform the DVLA and you are liable for a fine and may be prosecuted if you're involved in a an accident as a result - however, IF YOU DON"T DRIVE until the go-ahead then how can you be fined?

 

So, therefore, in my view, there is no reason to inform the DVLA if you don't intend to drive. Doing it this way will result in less hassle as the DVLA have to correspond with consultants etc which can delay everything.

 

I'm not saying I'm right here, but to me it makes sense and the specialist nurse was clear to me that I didn't necessarily have to inform the DVLA.

 

Don't take my word for it, but ask your specialist nurse and see what she/he says and let us know, as my SAH was just 4 weeks ago and I am keen to find out when I will be able to drive. As in your case, the bleeding stopped and you had no surgery I would imagine that they would give you the all clear much sooner than I.

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To clear things up further, I have just spoken to the DVLA and explained to them what my specialist nurse told me, and they said that you do still have to notify the DVLA whether or not you are driving or intend to drive, but once you have been given the all clear then you will be able to drive without waiting for the DVLA to complete their paperwork.

 

I have therefore informed them today of my condition and they will be sending out a form for me to complete and return. I guess the complication will come if they revoke my driving licence in the meantime. 

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Thanks everyone for the information.  I have opted to contact the DVLA and the forms have been put out in the post today.  My SAH happened on 2nd January 2017 and I was lucky that I did not require any surgery, and there were no abnormalities found .  I am currently signed off until the end of this month.

 

The DVLA did state there were two options, the one being to revoke my licence myself and the second is to complete the medical paperwork.  I am concerned about how long this process will take.  

 

I have been surprised in the lack of information from the hospital that I was admitted to and if not for Headway I would have been completely lost.

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15 minutes ago, Smeg13 said:

The DVLA did state there were two options, the one being to revoke my licence myself and the second is to complete the medical paperwork.  I am concerned about how long this process will take.  

 

I have been surprised in the lack of information from the hospital that I was admitted to and if not for Headway I would have been completely lost.

 

Unfortunately DVLA do seem to drag their heels, you may as well ask "how long is a piece of string?". If you have read the driving threads on here you will see what I mean.

 

You are not on your own regarding the lack of information upon discharge, it seems to be a common problem. 

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Hi Smeg

 

I phoned the DVLA about a month after my NASAH to inform them, and they sent out the forms. I was told it was ok for me to drive while they carried out their investigations as long as my consultant agreed I was ok to drive. I phoned my consultant's secretary the next day and she got back to me within 10 minutes to say he said it was fine. It was actually 5 and a half months before the DVLA completed all their investigations and gave me the formal ok to drive but I was able to drive during this time. 

 

I would contact your consultant to ask if you can drive, and then contact the DVLA again if your consultant says it is ok.

 

 

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I have to be honest since being discharged I have been completely on my own.

 

I was advised by the consultant that it would take two weeks for the blood to disperse from my brain and that was basically it.  I had to call back the following week to find out my results from the MRI and upon speaking to the consultant he apologised and said that he had forgotten about me.  Not what you really want to hear.

 

I have been very lucky in the fact that the judge I work for has a sister who is a Consultant Neurologist and a neighbour who is a Consultant at the hospital.  The care in the hospital I have no complaints about whatsoever, and I cannot thank the staff at both hospitals for their care.  Headway have been so helpful in the advice and information they have provided me.

 

Where I am struggling is my return to work and the correct recovery time to take as I feel that this decision is being left to me and would I need to be referred back to the consultant to be cleared for work, or can my GP make that decision....?

 

I will contact the Neurology Nurse to make sure the Consultant is happy for me to drive.

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There is no correct recovery time, each person is different. You will find recovery for most is long and slow. Advice is to take baby steps, if you don't you will find yourself going backwards. Many of us end up being a "new me"

As for returning to work, it will depend on how you feel and the opinion of your consultant and/or your GP, although many GP's have no experience of SAH. You may find that to do a phased return is much better than jumping straight back to the hours you were working prior to the SAH.

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From the information I have been provided with so far and after speaking to a lady at Headway, she stated that technically I was still in the early stages of recovery,  I have been signed off now for a total of about 4 weeks so far.  I think it's just getting an understanding of everything and the information on this site has been so helpful.

 

It's great to have people to talk to.

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1 minute ago, Smeg13 said:

From the information I have been provided with so far and after speaking to a lady at Headway, she stated that technically I was still in the early stages of recovery,  I have been signed off now for a total of about 4 weeks so far.  I think it's just getting an understanding of everything and the information on this site has been so helpful.

 

It's great to have people to talk to.

Yes, you are still in the very early stages of recovery. It is not like a broken arm or leg that is expected to heal within a certain timescale. Your brain has taken a severe "hammering"  for want of a better word, causing injury.

Are you drinking lots of water? That helps the brain to heal and also helps to alleviate any headaches you may be experiencing.

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I am, but I don't think I am drinking enough.

 

The headaches are no where as bad as they were in the first two weeks, but you know things aren't quite right yet if that makes sense.

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Trial and error, try drinking more and see if it makes any difference.

It does make sense, you may well find that "things aren't quite right yet" for much longer than you anticipate.

 

I am 13 years post SAH and there are many things that were a pinch of salt to me prior to SAH, now I can't cope with them at all. I still feel that "things aren't quite right" and have given up any hope of them being right although that does not stop me continually trying.

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Hi

 

As Super says you are early days, my bleed was similar in yours in that there was no cause but I had the added complication of hydrocephalus and an EVD which led to an automatic 6 month driving ban. This actually led to 10 months off the road due to DVLA delays. Sounds like Susan has got it right with the DVLA, so long as the bleed did not involve any surgery you are ok to drive.

Smeg, things won't be right for a while but they will improve.  Keep up the fluid intake and rest. Eventually you will feel improvements, they may be small and infrequent but they will be there.

I'm nearing 2 years post bleed and if you had told me 2 years ago how I would be and what I  would be doing now I'd have laughed. I'm not laughing now (I'm too tired lol!) but I'm smilimg and I quite like the new me and my new life. I hope you get to like yours too :)

 

Clare xx

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I've really had my eyes opened.

 

To be honest my SAH was my very first time in hospital and I am not going to lie it was scary.  I don't think it was until the moment the Doctor said that they needed to monitor me I thought I had just strained my neck.  It then hit me that this was serious.

 

I remember my mum dialling 999 and thinking it's just a headache this is silly.  I just wanted to go to bed.

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I'd just like to thank everyone for all the helpful information and advice.

 

If I find out any additional information for others I will be sure to post it.

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Yes it is a scary experience. You might find yourself rerunning the events in your mind a lot in the early weeks - I know I did - still do sometimes more than a year later.

 

Try to take it easy and don't worry too much about getting back to work - wait until you are sure you are up to it - that could be months rather than weeks.

 

Xx

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Smeg,  I remember lying by the side of the road vomiting with the headache from hell thinking, ambulance? What are they going to think? Headache and sickness do I really need their service? Well I did and so grateful to them too.

 

I still re-run it now. 

 

You will get there, just take your time. 

 

Clare xxx

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Smeg, so much information on her about driving post a bleed. It's never clear cut I am afraid as there is confusion in the exact process but I posted links to all the current guidance here 

basically here is my summary and opinion of three 'typical' scenarios.

1. Bleed but no anneurism and no surgery

You have to notify DVLA, a brain bleed is notifiable condition and even if you are not choosing not to drive if you are in possession of a current license you are obliged to inform them BUT if you are seen and cleared to drive by the GP then you can continue to drive. They can give that assessment and the DVLA will accept it. This is like assessment they often do post stroke or TIA

 

2. Bleed but with clipping or EVD placed.

 You have to notify DVLA as the anneurism bleed is notifiable condition and that you have had invasiv surgery . Typically have to surrender license and it is minimum of 6 months clear of episodes since surgery until you can reapply and then you have to wait until you are cleared to drive by the treating neurosurgeon report back to DVLA...this takes time....only then can you resume driving.  

 

3. Complications like hydrocephalus or balance or eyesight challenge post bleed.

these can all require further assessment and even driving tests from DVLA before a license is reiuused so allow for this. The six months 'clock' starts from each intervention so if like me you had the SAH and then later had a shunt placed it is the last procedure they count out from.

 

whilst you are without licence in the U.K. For medical reasons You can apply for a free bus pass which is helpful and you can also investigate Access to Work which can help with transport if you are back to work. 

 

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Hi Daffodil,

 

You mentioned clipping or EVD but do you know about clipping and further aneurysm's that haven't bled but need monitoring? Do you think that would be 6 months and surrounding of licence? 

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I honestly can't say Julie so definately speak to GP and seek their opinion if you have had clipping. What is without doubt in my mind was you have to notify them of an SAH even if you didn't have surgery and then go on to have your GP declare you fit to drive. 

 

Below is what I wrote in the thread back in 2013 I think which you can find via the link  in my reply above; my opinion hasn't changed since then and I read every word of the guidance and spoke the DVLA many times whilst I waited for my license to be reinstated. My two operations meant I didn't drive for over 13 months.

 

Quote

My understanding from talking to the DVLA a lot is that if you had a seizure, a EVD , a shunt placed or clipping then it is 6 months clear from any of these episodes ( plus the lag to get them to get clearance from your consultant which takes AGES!) if you have just coiling then it is handled on a case by case basis but you need the DVLA to confirm that your licence is still valid. But it is a minefield of confusion and no clear answer...what one medical person says another disagrees with....best of luck.

 

But this is just the interpretation I have made, others may differ.  

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From the information I have been provided with so far and after speaking to a lady at Headway, she stated that technically I was still in the early stages of recovery,  I have been signed off now for a total of about 4 weeks so far.  I think it's just getting an understanding of everything and the information on this site has been so helpful.

 

It's great to have people to talk to.

 

Could I just ask one more question.....?  Is it better to ask my GP to refer me back to the Consultant before considering returning back to work or should I contact the Neuro Nurse myself....?

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Hi

 

If you have a telephone number for your Neuro Nurse, I'd call her and ask her advice.  My consultant didn't sign me off work throughout my recovery it was my GP who provided the absence certificate.  

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