DEAR ABBY: My mother is 66 and has had two major epileptic seizures. The incidents occurred in the middle of the night, and each time she was unconscious for a long time (45 minutes or more) and was taken to the emergency room by ambulance. She also has "minor" seizures that last only 30 to 60 seconds. I have seen them.
Her doctor has told her not to drive and that it's against the law in our state for her to drive until she has been seizure-free for six months. The problem is, Mom and her husband believe she can drive safely. She even bought a new car so she can get "better gas mileage."
I have offered to take Mom to doctors and other appointments, etc. She allows me to, but still drives herself to the grocery store and hairdresser and other places because they are "close by." (Not!)
Abby, I lost a brother in a car accident. I don't want to lose my mother in one, too. I'm also afraid for the safety of pedestrians and other drivers in her path. What can I do or say to get Mom to follow the doctor's orders? -- WORRIED IN THE WEST
DEAR WORRIED: Nothing. Because your mother refuses to use common sense or listen to reason, accept that talking to her is like talking to a wall.
A person doesn't have to have a major seizure to cause an accident. A blackout lasting a few seconds can cause a driver to lose control of a vehicle.
If your mother's physician isn't aware that she hasn't been complying with his or her instructions, let the doctor know. Write a letter explaining that you have seen her having minor seizures and that she's still driving. Urge him (or her) to notify the Department of Motor Vehicles, and you should do the same. The more time that goes by without this being dealt with, the greater the chances your mother could kill herself or kill or maim an innocent person who happens to cross her path at the wrong time.