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A danger to himself and others


KathieB
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Have heard the title phrase more than once, but it has come home to roost in a most difficult way.

I have spent the past two days talking to various law enforcement & insurance people trying to figure out how to get a friend off the road. He has diabetes, is totally unaware when his sugar is dropping despite the most up-to-date signaling pump, skips meals and snacks, and so tends to black out frequently. A week ago he totaled his truck. Luckily no one was injured, including him. His blood sugar level was 30 when the paramedics got to him. He is 70 years old, was diagnosed with diabetes at age 15.

His wife refuses to write to the DMV to request revocation of his license as she says there would be no living with him when he found out. A state trooper could also request revocation based on his accident & other incidents, but all the DMV will do in either case is call him in for retesting, and unless he has an episode during the test, he'll come out smelling like a rose.

There are a lot of us in town who want to see him off the road entirely, yet he is still driving their other car and actively shopping for a replacement for the truck. I asked his wife the other day what she thinks she might say to the parents of a child he kills when he runs off the road next time. All she could do was shrug.

I wrote to the CEO of his insurance company when I found out his local agent recommended that he not be totally forthcoming regarding his condition when speaking to the police re the accident report. I have an appt to speak with his pastor this afternoon. Am hoping his fellow church members can help influence him to voluntarily give up the wheel, but don't have high hopes.

The next step is to contact his endocrinologist, who I believe is being snowed by his patient. His wife does not sit in on his appointments so has no idea what her husband is or is not reporting to the doctor. She caught him filling out a form for one of the studies he participates in asking how many times he has needed intervention in the past week. He had checked None, despite her having to give him glucose tablets twice that day and in injection during the previous night, never mind similar actions on other days. If his wife won't speak to the doctor, I will.

Neither Lloyd nor I have been sleeping well because of this. When the friend finds out what I'm doing, I may well lose both his friendship and that of his wife, who is my best friend in town. Sorry to vent, but I am so steeped in this that is is almost oozing out my pores.

Oh, by the way, when asked in casual conversation how he justifies driving with his condition, he turns the topic to a diabetic who petitioned the FAA to retain his private pilot's license so long as his condition is controlled. The operative word being: controlled. Yet he uses this as an argument in favor of him driving. This is a very intelligent man in total denial of the reality, even after the crash.

Stepping off soapbox now. Thanks for listening if you're still here. :)

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Kathie,

Everyone is sleeping in at my house and for some reason I stopped by the forum and this caught my eye. I'm glad it did. Yes, I read it all.

I know how you feel. I have experienced and am experiencing now, the same type situation. That whole feeling of betrayal/I've gotta do what's right combo can be more stressful than any experience ever. Here are my best words of wisdom based on what helps me.

#1- LISTEN to every person who encourages you to do the right thing. I have found that no matter how wrong doing the right thing can feel, no matter how few people are brave enough to do the right thing themselves, just about everyone respects and supports you.

#2- Visualize yourself explaining to someone you love why the man who killed someone they love, was on the road. It might not be strangers you are protecting. This man could drive into a crowd, through a group of children, into a car with a family going to the hospital to have a baby........

Would you choose to be friends with people who play russian roulette? Seriously, if this mans wife is your best friend in town, fine. But tell her, you can't be friends with someone who does not value your life (remember, it could be you he kills) and she needs to make a choice.

I wish I could give you more support. My prayers are with you. Do NOT give up.

Morgan

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Please do whatever you have to do to get this man off the road!! It may be YOUR loved one he kills, you know. My mother is 83 and my brother finally got her off the road by taking her drivers license, canceling her insurance, turning in her tags, and putting the car on blocks!! Otherwise, she'd still be driving. She is blind in one eye, has bad cataracts in the other, and would occasionally just pass out before her pacemaker was put in. But she thought she was ok to drive and that insurance would pay for whatever damage she did! There was no talking to her...and yes, it took her awhile to accept that she could no longer drive, but she had no choice but to deal with it!! If it was MY husband, he would NOT be driving no matter HOW many tantrums he threw!! His wife needs to grow a spine!

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Kathie, you know where I am on this issue (having been struck by an elderly driver who was legally blind). Does his wife ride with him? He just might kill her, or both of them, next time (and as long as he's driving there will be a next time). We lost a good friend to a drunk driver with multiple DUI citations, who is probably already back on the street after finally getting her butt conviccted and a 13-year sentence, since it was considered a "nonviolent" crime...

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Kathie, I'm so sorry you have to be doing this, but bless you for being willing to step up and do it! You would think that an adult would have more sense, but I find that stubbornness often overrides intelligence especially when independence is involved. His wife should be the one taking the keys away, no matter how much he complains! Real friends tell each other the truth even when it hurts...hang in there and keep us posted :hug:

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Good for you, Kathie. It takes love and a lot of guts to do what you are doing. Such a pity that his own wife hasn't the 'gumption' to recognize and vehemently protest her husband's active denial of just how dangerous this has become. Losing one's own life by such denial is one thing ~ but risking the lives of ANYONE in this man's path is absolutely criminal. He sounds like a ticking bomb behind the wheel..just a question of when, where and HOW MANY will be hurt or killed when he 'goes off'. I'm quite sure he is a great guy and does not intend to hurt anyone, but reason seems to go out the window when people feel threatened of losing their privilege to drive.

My mother is 84 this year, and while she has had no accidents, etc., we have all noticed that her reaction time while driving is becoming questionable. The day is coming that we will need to 'confiscate' her keys, and I dread that day, as I know how independent she is (and always has been), but putting her and others in jeopardy for the sake of her independence alone is NOT worth it.

I applaud your courage for stepping up and doing what is RIGHT. ♥

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Unfortunately, his wife is just as guilty as he is, seeing as how she is doing nothing and knowing the situation. If I was the parent of a child he killed and found out his wife did nothing....well, all I can say is God help her when I got my hands on her!

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Many hugs to all of you for your support and understanding. :hug:

I thought I'd convinced his wife to go talk to his diabetes doctor next week, but she just texted that she'd rather not do that just yet. I have no idea what she thinks waiting is going to accomplish. I don't have her standing, but I'm going to try to get the doctor on the phone or make an appt to go see her myself.

The pastor was less than helpful. His take? "Oh, I'm sure we can find volunteers in the congregation to pick him up to bring him to church." Shoot. He can walk to church or ride his bike the few blocks. He takes 20 to 30-mile bike rides for an afternoon of fun, f'goodness' sake.

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Kathie, How frustrating this must be for you and I really admire your resolve. I hope it doesn't take a tragic occurance for all those who could have done something to realize the seriousness of the situation.

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Note of hope: had an email from the insurance company this morning. His case has been kicked into underwriting. This is good. Those guys & gals are tough!

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While I most certainly and positively agree that this is a tremendously serious situation and a tragedy waiting to happen and it is right to be concerned about his and others safety, this scenario gives me another concern.

I guess I am also concerned as to the apparent ease that someone, other than a person’s family, has access to another person’s seemingly private records. In this age of privacy issues, this gives me pause to think about who can access and alter my private records.

Just thinking …

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When you contact all these people, put it in writing and keep a copy. Keep pushing - you may well save a life! His wife must have greater issues to contend with, to make her shrink from this confrontation. Maybe it's not all sugar and spice behind those closed doors.

All this talk makes me thankful for my mother's wisdom. She has always been an excellent driver - her dad was a mechanic and she started driving at about 14. She drove taxi and city bus and was a government chauffer in Seattle during WWII. She's driven across the USA umpteen times, and to Central America about 10 times. But she always told me she would stop driving when she felt she was no longer sharp behind the wheel. She slowed down about 10 years ago, determining never to go over the speed limit. Then she would drive only in our "home turf" where she knew all the roads. She's 89 now, and about 6 months ago she started asking me to take her places, even the 3 miles to get her nails done. She admitted she didn't think she should be driving any more. She cringed every time there was a news item about a car accident, and one driver was over the age of 80.

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While I most certainly and positively agree that this is a tremendously serious situation and a tragedy waiting to happen and it is right to be concerned about his and others safety, this scenario gives me another concern.

I guess I am also concerned as to the apparent ease that someone, other than a person’s family, has access to another person’s seemingly private records. In this age of privacy issues, this gives me pause to think about who can access and alter my private records.

Just thinking …

Other than what the wife told me and what I personally have observed, the only information I have is from the accident report, which is a public document. Anybody can access those, which is how many small newspapers used to run a daily blotter to let folks know who was getting into what kind of mischief.

I, too, am concerned about who knows what. I read an article on line a few days ago about a blogger -- whose main topic is internet safety -- whose account was hacked and the hacker deleted some important files as well as damaging his credit. And this was an expert in internet safety! He, of course, has a high profile in the world of hackers and was a prime target. I don't guess my accounts would be of interest to much of anybody. But one never knows.

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When you contact all these people, put it in writing and keep a copy. Keep pushing - you may well save a life! His wife must have greater issues to contend with, to make her shrink from this confrontation. Maybe it's not all sugar and spice behind those closed doors.

God bless your mother!

I am keeping a printed record of phone calls, emails, letters, etc. The file is growing. And I'm afraid you're right about the wife. There is something terrifying her that she is not sharing, even with me, and believe me, we've had some deep discussions over the years.

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God bless your mother!

I am keeping a printed record of phone calls, emails, letters, etc. The file is growing. And I'm afraid you're right about the wife. There is something terrifying her that she is not sharing, even with me, and believe me, we've had some deep discussions over the years.

The fact that he is so adamant about doing what he wants, with no regard for others, and her inability or unwillingness to confront him, probably means that he is abusive and she is afraid of him. That is typical behavior of someone who has been or is being abused. Read up on the signs of spousal abuse and you will probably recognize some of the same behavior in her.

A responsible wife who is in a normal relationship without abuse would have no qualms about curtailing her husband's driving if he was obviously a danger. How about children? Any children in the picture? If so, maybe they should be contacted.

Once someone's behavior becomes a danger to the public, it ceases being a private matter and becomes a public matter. If his wife is afraid of him and can't get up the courage to do what needs to be done, then others need to step in and prevent him from killing an innocent person!

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Sally, I understand where you're coming from. When I lived in Virginia, I worked with domestic violence agencies throughout the state. I do not see signs of physical abuse, and the emotional turmoil has roots on both sides. He makes unilateral decisions and always has; she likes to talk things out. This has been going on for 29 years. She gets more frustrated and he remains oblivious.

On the positive side, the wife is going to see his local general practitioner on Friday, armed with the form that needs to be mailed to the state. The doctor knows why she's coming and his nurse told her they do this all the time.

She spoke to the insurance agent today and learned that her husband never turned in claims for previous accidents, including one I didn't know about that resulted in the court giving him an 18-month probationary period instead of taking away his license. He paid for the repairs himself, thus keeping the insurance company out of the loop. She and her husband have an appointment to meet with the agent on Monday morning, at which time the agent will outline for him exactly why it makes sense for him to voluntarily turn in his license instead of waiting for the state to revoke it. She says she will ask the doctor to hold off mailing the report until after that Monday meeting.

I have not told her that I contacted his diabetes doctor with all the pertinent information. Although doctor/patient confidentiality laws prevent them from letting me know what they do, I came away from a conversation with the clinic administrator feeling that they will be contacting the state asap. I have not told the wife I did this, as she expressed a desire to "handle this locally." I figure if he agrees to give up the license on Monday, no harm done. Even if the state gets the report, there will be no reason for them to follow up. If he doesn't turn in the license, the gears will already be in motion.

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Yes, glad to hear things may get some resolution. Living down here in Florida, I see way too many elderly people driving who definitely should NOT be on the road, and their children live up north and don't know what's going on. I have seen them make a turn and drive all up on the sidewalk, nearly hitting pedestrians and then continuing on their way. I once saw an elderly lady pull out across 4 lanes of traffic, come to a complete stop, THEN look to see if anyone was coming....the list goes on and it's terrifying!

My mother browbeat the eye doctor into signing forms to allow her to keep driving, even though he knew she should not be on the road. He knew she would hound him until the forms were signed. When I spoke to him, I told him he should have just dismissed her as a patient if she harrassed him about the forms, instead of putting others lives at risk!

Elderly drivers is something I am very concerned about as the population ages and the elderly refuse to give up their cars and their freedom, despite the fact that they know they should not be driving!

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Elderly drivers is something I am very concerned about as the population ages and the elderly refuse to give up their cars and their freedom, despite the fact that they know they should not be driving!

We're all gonna be elderly drivers some day. Just sayin'.

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We're all gonna be elderly drivers some day. Just sayin'.

So true. Lloyd and I have talked about this, even before the current incident. At 75, he is still a very alert and well coordinated driver, but feels his eyes will be his downfall. He's prepared to give it up when the time comes, as am I. We're making efforts to lighten the load in the Missouri house, as one day we won't want (or be able) to tool up and down the highway to New Orleans. We'll sell the Mo house and move to the condo, which is on the ground floor, no stairs, within walking distance of grocery, pharmacy, etc., and on a bus route.

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With small cataracts I already don't drive if I don't have to, although both DH & I have always been good, safe drivers; and at 88 his mom has hung up her car keys except for trips around her neighborhood to the store, church, the doctors and her organ teacher. When our reflexes slow down we both intend to stop, as well, and move into Pensacola. I guarantee any wreck I have would be more than enough to convince me to hand in my keys and sell my car.

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So true...we are! With the baby boomers aging, we are going to have a LOT of them....but down here in south Florida there is a very high number of them and it can be a real hazard when they should not be on the road at all...there is ample transportation down here for the elderly who can't drive, so they DO have an option!! Personally, my husband and I are planning for our old age now while still in our later 50's. We are moving soon to Gaineville, FL to be near one of the kids..we know we are not getting any younger and the time will come when we should NOT be driving ourselves. We trust our kids and their judgement and feel that when they say it's time to stop driving, it will be time to stop..no arguments!

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Kathie, as some one else said earlier here, you are my hero fo taking this on straight up. I've confronted a similar situation with a neighbor recently (in this case, a hard-core visitin' the bar every afternoon and drivin'home drunk every afternoon drunk old guy - WHY doesn't the bar take his keys???) and had to make a choice myself. Had a talk with the local police, gave them his timeline of when he's driving back every day from the bar drunk - and right by the consolidated high school and junior high school OMG!! - and gave them a description of the var and its license plate. He's already had one DUI, but still has his license, heaven kn ows why. Police said they'd keep an eye out or him but he's still free as a bird out there, even though his driving has gotten so erratic his hard-core drinking buddy is afraid to ride with him, though he still does.

What does it take to get these people off the road?? And I'm so sorry you're going through this, especially with a dear friend involved. My biggest hugs and applause to you for taking action, any action, because so many don't or won't.

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My friend saw her husband's GP on Friday. He told her he couldn't sign the report because he had only seen one episode of hypoglycemic unawareness and it wasn't enough. Doh. She gave him the name of his diabetes doctor and he said he'd phone her to learn more about the guy's condition. He called the wife back an hour later and told her the diabetes doctor is in Pakistan until Sept 9. Sheesh! I only hope that she was still in town and able to act after I contacted the clinic last week.

I told the wife that I had contacted the clinic despite her wanting to keep it local. She thanked me. She doesn't believe her husband will turn in his license voluntarily either.

Meanwhile, she is scrambling like mad to keep him from behind the wheel. He was supposed to deliver Meals on Wheels a few days ago. She called MoW and told the director the situation, and lo and behold, his partner for the delivery phoned to say he'd him pick up. She said her husband was a bit confused, as he customarily drives, but he went along with the program.

I know there are safeguards in the system to prevent competent drivers from being targeted by those who just are out to get them for whatever reason, but lordy, getting the system to do what it's meant to do is like swimming upstream in a vat of molasses. *sigh*

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