Brain Aneurysm Support Community

Driving after clipping

#1

It’s 3 months next week that had my MCA clipped.
I’ve had a lot of ups and downs.
Pain in minimal most of the time. But is constant and becomes worse if i do too much. But too much isn’t a lot yet in my opinion.
I’m not back at work yet. My memory isn’t back to normal and I get tired out quickly.
Take for example yesterday I put a curry to cook in the slow cooker, no chance to burn it, decided to try driving and just went around a couple of blocks. I could barley walk when I got out of the car. I was shaking and my brain was so overloaded. ( here in Australia it’s 3 months before we are cleared to drive)
After a couple of hours it settled and I tried to pull out a few weeds from the raised garden bed. That was my whole day… I slept so long this morning and woke at 930 am ( I don’t sleep in ever ) and felt foggy all day today.
Has anyone else experienced this extreme fatigue at 3 months post op. Some days I wonder how I will ever get back to work.
Can people share their experiences with beginning to drive , tiredness. Does this sound normal for this stage?

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#2

I didn’t get a clip. We don’t have driving rules here in NC concerning brain surgery. But I was told not to drive until I was comfortable as a passenger and that took a long time, months in fact. I still cannot drive five years later in areas that are congested. I can’t drive when it rains or snows, my brain feels like it shuts itself in a dark closet and just goes on strike with no awareness of processing.

My big leap was driving on the freeway for about 60 miles. I was exhausted. Driving requires an immense amount of concentration. There’s a lot of information a brain has to process quickly. The person on the cell phone not paying attention, the one who decides at the last minute they’re in the wrong lane or decides to turn without warning. I learned to drive in Los Angeles area. Back then it was only five lanes each way. It was nothing to see people shaving or putting on their makeup and that was when the traffic was moving. Being in a rural area should not be difficult. But it is for me. I used to keep the radio off, but sometimes now I can turn it on, low. I also seldom have a passenger and the few times I do, we usually don’t converse. I go the back roads to places I want to go and I stay off the roads when the school buses are picking up or dropping the kids off. I actually have no limit on driving, but I limit myself. The school bus limit is due to the fatalities/injuries I had to respond to when a child got hit by the bus or a vehicle that didn’t stop when the bus put out their sign.

I still don’t bend without consequences and weeding the little rose garden is a half day chore. I seem to do better in the cold with bending, so I took the opportunity to rip out some plants I didn’t want and will probably have to wait until next fall to plant what I want.

Since I was released from the hospital, I set reminders on my phone to drink water. After every procedure, I have to drink three bottles of Gatorade per doctor, and the eight glasses of water. I love hot tea so by 2:00 pm I’m usually drinking some green tea or herbal tea or decaf tea. If I get stressed or excited or upset, I have learned my body requires hydration. The water helps my body and brain to settle down. I haven’t found a way to get past the type of exhaustion that sets in other than rest with no sounds on. The exhaustion is unlike any I experienced in the past.

Hang in, build up to what you want to do. I treat my brain like a muscle. One of the med students in ICU shared that tidbit with me and it works. I can stay on task for about 30 minutes and then I have to change or rest for 15-30 minutes. When I first got home, I’d be on task for five minutes and sleep a couple hours. It gets better but take it slow and easy so you don’t get frustrated.

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#3

Hey Annie,
I also found driving an issue. Busy roads were an issue but the sunlight flashing through the trees was chronic. For me I find that symptoms fluctuate massively from day to day. I’m now 5-6yrs on since my last operation and still today I find driving really depends on how I feel and what I’ve done the day before.
A bit like you I did a bit of gardening but I found getting up and down was a real issue, getting dizzy, wobbly resulting in a pounding headache.
This morning was a prime example. Got up, felt good, looked at some potted plants and thought “They all need watering”. Got a couple of buckets and started. I was OK for the first 4-5 buckets, then started to feel it, eye was aching but thought ‘It’ll be OK’, another 4-5 buckets and ohh, not so good. went inside and within 1/2 an hour I’m needing to laydown, feeling dizzy and a bit nauseas. Seems today even that was too much. But there are days I can do twice as much and be good. I’m sitting here 5hrs later and still feeling the effects. I just can never tell.

Merl from the Moderator Support Team

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#4

Ok thanks to you both for the information. I guess im having trouble figureing out what’s too much. And what else may impact ie weather, the barometer pressure dropping. Or is it brain exertion or physical exertion. So experimenting and keeping notes to try figure it out. I want to return to work but figuring out a plan of how to achieve that is difficult. I did buy really good sunnies prior to surgery and bright sun flickering through the trees used to trigger migranes. So far no migranes so appear it could of been the Annie , though the drs deny that.
Do you remeber when ou started to drive Mod support? Was it close to the 3 months they give us? I’m so impatient i guess. I want my life back the way it was. And I didn’t have a rupture so i thought id be back to normal by now.
I guess i gotta find the normal and what i can and cant do. Any tips on what makes things worse? I love gardening so its a bit sad that this seems to be a “no no”. What other activities/ chores have others found cause more pain and tiredness?

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#5

Hey Annie,
I too tried to work it out but for me no two days are ever the same, so trying to draw a straight line between cause/effect has been near on impossible. Weather (Both hot and cold), light, noise, physical activity, mental activity, fluid intake, medications, sleep, diet etc can all have an impact for me so trying to pinpoint has been impossible. I have varied each to try and compensate but I am yet to find the ‘key’. So trying to find a normal has not occurred.

“I want my life back the way it was.” OHH DON’T WE ALL. And I must say this has been one of my biggest problems. I did not/do not want to accept that this is as good as it gets, but as time has past by I’ve come to some sort of realization That this may well be as good as it gets and that has been very difficult to grasp. I say grasp because I still have days when that ‘acceptance’ thing and me do not see eye to eye and I fight against it. But the reality is right there in front of me.

As for the dr’s, well, don’t get me started on dr’s. They all seem to have their own opinions and discredit any other opinion that differs from their own. The surgeons in my case say they operated, they fixed, but this ain’t anything like fixed. I too wanted to be back at work, so I did return but things got worse and I ended up back in the RAH (Hospital) needing further surgery (operations no. 5 and 6), after those surgeries I was told I wouldn’t be returning to my former employment. I was so annoyed, I tried to push myself to get back but it hasn’t happened. The more I push, the more my body pushes back. It has been so disheartening.

Annie even though you didn’t have a rupture, the blood flow within the brain has changed. Our brains develop around those ‘normal’ flows, when those flows alter the follow on effects can be anywhere from small to massive. It is not always just a simple case of continue on, our bodies need time to adapt. How much time? Well that’s a ‘how long is a piece of string?’ sort of question. As I say I’m 5-6 years on and things still haven’t settled. Now, in saying that, everybody’s situation is different so again trying to draw parallels is impossible. For many years prior to my surgeries I worked with people with disabilities and have worked with some of the ‘worst case scenarios’, I take some solace in the fact I’m not in their shoes. I’m not happy about where I am but I also know things could be worse, much worse.

Merl from the Moderator Support Team

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#6

I think you’ve gotten wonderful advice and will echo to drink lots of water. This was my biggest downfall and when I drink enough I feel like it’s my biggest help. I wanted to say kudos to you because it sounds like your drive was a huge accomplishment even though there are frustrations after. I will also echo to take it slowly bit by bit. And I agree with you that is it so frustrating when people say don’t do too much but for me I didn’t know it was too much until it was too late! I’m sorry I don’t really have more helpful advice but even though I know it’s frustrating I think it sounds like you’re making great strides and should be proud of that!

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#7

Hello Annie,
My surgical clipping was almost five months ago and I starting driving in just one month. Mostly short distances but when I tried making 1 hour trips it was a nightmare, I was sure I was going to pass out right there on the interstate and I was very frightened. I have tried it again this past month but I’m still not that comfortable. I wish I would have waited to go back to work as well. My surgeon didn’t think it was a problem to go back in 4 to 6 weeks…not so. I work at a computer all day and has been extremely difficult since I’ve been back. Headaches, dizziness, even nausea. My boss is great though and encourages time away from computer. Even trying to find the time to be on this website it difficult because it makes me feel so sick. Also, there has been a lot of weather changes and the change in the baramator really effects me. I’m having a lot of difficulty with a bad cold right now that I’m trying to recover from; so much more pain and pressure in the head caused by the congestion. This website helps me to know that I’m not alone in these things. I was so frightened about how I felt the first time I bent over, but now I see others experience it too. So glad for the sharing and advise. Hang in there! Drinking water helps me as well along with gentle Yoga and light stretching, as well as staying away from the tv and computers when I’m not at work. Be patient in your healing! Take care!

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#8

Gardening is not a no no, it’s just adapting. You have raised beds, that’s a great start. The best height I have found is about 16-18” so about 41-46 cm. It’s chair height or so. Also I just give myself more breaks. The further you are out from surgery, the more you will tolerate.

Merl is giving sound advice, it’s somerimes a day to day experience. But remember our story is different from yours and each other. You get to write your own story! Think how great is that!

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#9

Hello…I had my clipping done on Nov.16, 2018. Exactly after 3 months, I experienced a tremendous fatigue. It was worse than after my surgery. I couldn’t lift my head from the pillow, couldn’t eat and sleep. I am good now. Read Neuro Fatigue by Dr. Sullivan. It helped me understand what was happening with me. Hope this helps

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Driving after clipping contuined
#10

Hang in there it just takes time. I was clipped 16 years ago. It took me about 9 months to get back to a “new normal”. There are things you will learn with time. There were days, even after a couple of years, and still now, when my brain just gets overloaded and I go into a dark quiet room and chill. You will learn to listen to your brain and just quit when it is giving you signal. Slow and steady whens this race it is a marathon for sure. But I can tell you it will get better but you will learn when to push yourself and when to just say maybe I won’t do that today but I can tomorrow. Pace yourself but don’t give up. Robyn Bateman

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#11

I, too, am having a really hard time driving. I am just one year out from my ruptured 7.5mm aneurysm (and subsequent coils and pipeline in May 2018), and I can’t handle traffic or congestion of any sort. I can drive the one mile to our grocery store, but it is on a quiet two lane road, no stop lights, no traffic. The one time I tried to drive in traffic, I was overwhelmed by the congestion, all the moving vehicles, traffic signals and signs, and I panicked. I haven’t tried to drive outside of my immediate neighborhood since…and I really seldom leave it. If I need to, I either get driven by my husband, or I take a Lyft if my husband is traveling. I don’t know if this problem is a direct result of the rupture, or the medications I am taking to try to treat the ongoing symptoms (daily headaches and confusion). I am trying to be patient, and hope someday to return to a more normal life.

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#12

Sparky, I’m on no medication for my rupture and subsequent coilings and driving in congested areas still overwhelms me. We don’t live in a large city, the county I live in now has less folks in it then the city I grew up and learned to drive in. It took several years for me to go a back route into the larger city. I might do it once or twice a year. I have learned not to drive if I’m having an off day.

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