Son-in-law refuses to stop driving after having seizures

Published 10:55 am Friday, July 17, 2020

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DEAR ABBY: My son-in-law was diagnosed with epilepsy 25 years ago. He typically has two or three seizures a year. He has seen a neurologist on and off over the years, but he has not been to the doctor for his medications in several years. He works in the medical field and gets his meds from the doctors he works with.
He recently had a seizure after dropping one of his children off at an appointment. Fortunately, the child wasn’t in the car when he wrecked it. My question is, how involved should I be? Should I confront him? Unfortunately, my grandchild reached out to her dad’s mother. Her answer was she would pay for spine alignments for him. Did I mention he refuses to stop driving?
I’m extremely concerned about the well-being of my daughter and four grandchildren and the lives of others on the roads who could be injured or killed as a result of his actions. Do I have a right to be involved? My friends and other family members tell me there is nothing I can do. — FRIGHTENED IN THE SOUTH
DEAR FRIGHTENED: Your son-in-law should not be taking medications for his epilepsy from doctors who are not intimately involved with his care. If the accident didn’t serve as a wakeup call to talk to his doctor, it should have.
Consider contacting your auto insurance company and asking what can be done about an epileptic motorist who is prone to seizures several times a year while still driving. If you can’t find guidance there, the state police where your son-in-law lives might be interested in what you have to say.
Your daughter and her family have been lucky so far not to have been seriously injured, but they may not always be. The only thing you should NOT do is stay silent.
DEAR ABBY: Over the last several years I have learned the value of counseling, which helped me deal with years of undiagnosed depression. I overcame my preconceived notions about therapy, and I’m happier now than I have ever been because I was able to let go of tons of burdens I carried from my past. It has been a wonderful and life-changing experience.
One of my relatives has mentioned several times that she has a very strained relationship with her mom. I can’t think of a nicer family, so I have never understood what could have caused this rift.
On Mother’s Day, I saw several social media posts from people celebrating their mothers, expressing how much they love them and how much they appreciate all their mothers have done for them. My relative posted something along the lines of, “My goal in life is to be a better mother than mine was” and some other things that demonstrated her disdain for her mother.
When I saw the post, my heart ached for her mom, but my heart ached for my relative even more. It seems she carries so much hurt in her heart, and I wonder if she could benefit from therapy as I have, but I don’t know how to suggest it. I am afraid of hurting her feelings or getting her upset with me. How should I approach this? — HELPING OUT IN IDAHO
DEAR HELPING: Approach it by telling your relative you saw her post and were struck by the pain she must be feeling to have put something like that online for all the world to see. Explain about the baggage that therapy helped you to overcome in your own life and what a difference it has made for you. Then offer her your therapist’s phone number.
Dear Abby is written by Abigail Van Buren, also known as Jeanne Phillips, and was founded by her mother, Pauline Phillips. Contact Dear Abby at or P.O. Box 69440, Los Angeles, CA 90069.
Good advice for everyone — teens to seniors — is in “The Anger in All of Us and How to Deal With It.” To order, send your name and mailing address, plus check or money order for $8 (U.S. funds) to: Dear Abby, Anger Booklet, P.O. Box 447, Mount Morris, IL 61054-0447. (Shipping and handling are included in the price.)

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