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Old 15-07-2014, 19:31   #46
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Re: Seizures and Sailboats. Do They Mix?

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Originally Posted by Ujin View Post
I do have a question that I can not answer.



Should someone who suffers from seizures be sailing?



Of course the risk of going overboard is heightened. A tether would/could do more harm than good.



Does a new lifeline system need to be developed to instantly grab the person and sail the boat too?



I would like to know if anyone has delt with the issue of a crew or passenger who is prone to seizures and how they delt with the situation.



Or just what your opinion is.

I just received an eAd from Hanse Yacht promoting a sweepstake that's featuring/benefiting a group of handicap sailors. I bet they could be a great help. The website is sailorswithdisabilities.com
Best of luck!


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Old 15-07-2014, 23:51   #47
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Re: Seizures and Sailboats. Do They Mix?

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So, people with seizures should not be in control of any moving object unless they can afford to hire a caretaker to monitor them during that time.

A person with seizures every 60 days who refuses medical treatment or for which medical treatment is ineffective (OP has not made clear which) should not be in control of moving objects that can harm others. The issue of what it should cost someone to ameliorate that limitation is not a cruising specific issue.

IMHO this thread is drifting toward the breakers...
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Old 16-07-2014, 09:59   #48
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Re: Seizures and Sailboats. Do They Mix?

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So, people with seizures should not be in control of any moving object unless they can afford to hire a caretaker to monitor them during that time.

Okay, I'm good with that.
And that is a very reasonable solution.

So what about a system that integrates GPS, radar, perhaps EPIRB, and autopilot wrapped up and similar to how the Google car is piloted plus interfaces with an IR module which, in essence, reads body function. The lack of body function or at levels that would indicate problems the system takes over automatically as another person would do.

Does that constitute another person?

Does that then make it safe?

Maybe health insurance could pay for that and that would make it more affordable than hiring a caretaker?

I think this is a great discussion and it has put out a lot more information than I would have ever thought possible.

I also reached out to some of the nonprofits that work with people with seizures. As I hear back from them I ll post it here.
The technical solution you outline is very expensive and unlikely to work very well.

I'm a bit confused by your first statement. Nobody said you had to hire a caretaker. They said don't go solo. Something like 99% of sailors sail with somebody else on the boat. They don't pay them. They're usually friends or spouses.

I seldom have a problem finding a friend who wants to go for a sail. Most people don't have the opportunity and many will jump at it. In fact, when I move to a new town I use the boat as a way to make or cement friendships.

In your case, you'll want the friends who come with you to at least be able to manage the boat safely. That isn't so hard to learn for them, really. They only need to know how to handle the boat, drop the sails, start the engine, drop the anchor, read a chart.

There are lots of competent crew around who don't have a boat and would like to go for a sail.
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Old 19-07-2014, 18:15   #49
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Re: Seizures and Sailboats. Do They Mix?

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Originally Posted by jongleur View Post
What's the difference between someone disabled
by a seizure for a while and someone singlehanding
going to sleep for awhile?
According to the doc who posted earlier, there may be hours long difficulties in coping and neurological sequelae of the seizure.

Going to sleep for a while is a planned event. The seizure event has about 5 seconds, the OP reported, from being okay to very not-okay. Not enough time IMO to get sails down, maybe enough to kill engine, depending on how far he is from the kill switch when he starts getting signs.

Finally single handed passage making, the single hander usually heads well offshore for his first 24 hrs. Coastally, it's making day hops, only subject to a heart attack type unexpected calamity, not a known pre-existing condition.

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Old 19-07-2014, 18:58   #50
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Re: Seizures and Sailboats. Do They Mix?

I understand that, but if one is asleep, what
does it matter how they got to be asleep.
They're still asleep. Asleep is not watchful.
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Old 19-07-2014, 22:03   #51
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Re: Seizures and Sailboats. Do They Mix?

In reference to the heart attack, it has been clinically proven that people with similar conditions as I are 98% likely to die from a heart attack. And that is a medical fact.

Throughout the year I have a 22% chance of having a seizure based on the maximum of 6 a year.
Or 11% based on 3.

So either way you are going to find me dead on a boat. Just when and where is the mystery that only you will know. Unless as I go to the light I get tangled in the rigging - Argh that darn anchor light!

And to answer the comment about hiring a caretaker versus spouse/friend - if any one of them happens to be around to watch a person bug out in a seizure it will be the last time they are around.
Or so has been my experience.

I noticed one poster said his wife had seizures and I think that is awesome he is able to go through those times with her.

Everyone's comments are really amazing. They really are.

Oh, and the difference between sleep and seizure out is a big one!
When asleep you are still conscious; you can feel motion, hear sounds, etc. that your body or brain will respond too.
Out from a seizure and you are out!
I think oxygen can help, but I am not sure how much it can.
There is definitely a difference.

With that being said there are also conditions that foster problems.
For example; offshore passage with crew - I am the most rested person on the boat.
Cruising along - sun up till about two hours prior to sun set. Short days yes.

What happens on long solo ocean passages with storms and seas - I don't know. I have never put myself through those circumstances alone.

That is partly why I originally posted the question 4 pages ago.
And it is okay to hear, you shouldn't be on the water.
I have been fired from two employers for disclosing the fact I did have seizures and I wanted to let those around me be aware.

The navy said no, the coast guard said no.
Graduated HS with a 4.0 and college with a 3.9 gpa and could bench press nearly 400lbs.
Physical and mentally capable, I think.
So seizures do mean no to a lot of things.

We all deal with our limitations.
Like many of you said.

My dad made it just into his 40s before his heart exploded. I am not far behind. And I do plan to take this boat across an ocean or two before my heart explodes too.
If my body does not make it by whatever reason along the way - at least in sprite I might.

The chances of something happening on a day sail or a similar short circumstance are slim ~ I would have already drowned kayaking if that was the case. Or white water canoeing- does class three count as white water? Anyways,

All of your comments are extremely well valued. I hope they do help another folks that may have similar situations because they have helped me immensely.

P.S. I've been contemplating doing the water tribe challenges as an endurance test prior to the - alone on an ocean voyage in storms and high seas thing I'll name that boat, Tsunami Seizure yes I am serious!
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Old 19-07-2014, 22:10   #52
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Re: Seizures and Sailboats. Do They Mix?

Why not Tsunami Tseizure?
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Old 19-07-2014, 22:12   #53
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Re: Seizures and Sailboats. Do They Mix?

"When asleep you are still conscious; you can feel motion, hear sounds, etc. that your body or brain will respond too."

Are you saying that a singlehander asleep is still keeping watch?

I respectfully disagree. A singlehander asleep is not keeping a proper watch.
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Old 20-07-2014, 07:20   #54
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Re: Seizures and Sailboats. Do They Mix?

Ujin, it sounds like you have had some selfish people in your life. Out of curiosity is there any medication/treatment that reduces your seizure frequency?

I would guess stress may be a factor. I'm basing this on the roommate I had years ago who had epilepsy. They weren't allowed to drive. I witnessed many grand mal seizures and reacted as requested and never bugged out. That person eventually got married and as far as I know still is after 20 years.

What I recall of that particular situation was the meds had a lot of ugly side effects but did help. I can't help but wonder if you avoid treatment because of the side effects.

The world is full of self centered nasty people but not everyone is that way. My question to you is are/have you done everything to help yourself manage your health problems?

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Old 20-07-2014, 09:39   #55
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Re: Seizures and Sailboats. Do They Mix?

Aren't there service animals, particularly dogs, that can sense when you're about to have a seizure and warn you and/or get help? If only they could sail as well....
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Old 20-07-2014, 15:26   #56
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Re: Seizures and Sailboats. Do They Mix?

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Aren't there service animals, particularly dogs, that can sense when you're about to have a seizure and warn you and/or get help? If only they could sail as well....

There are service animals yes. Most will happily accompany their partner where ever they want to do.
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Old 20-07-2014, 16:01   #57
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Re: Seizures and Sailboats. Do They Mix?

I haven't read the entire post but was it mentioned why the seizures are occurring? Brain Tumor or what?

Have you tried the anti seizure drugs Dilantin or Keppra?
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Old 20-07-2014, 18:40   #58
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Re: Seizures and Sailboats. Do They Mix?

If the seizing sailor is sailing solo, the dog won't help much. The sailor still goes down and the boat out of control and now, you can add in the complexities of sailing with dog.

If the seizing sailor is crew (as opposed to someone who's just gone sailing by themselves) then the dog is pointless, as "man down" happens in any case and if there's more crew, they deal with that.

Any crew can have medical fallibilities and it is up to the skipper to decide if that's an acceptable risk for that particular trip considering all circumstances.

Even "simple" seasickness can be debilitating and there's nothing that guarantees to stop it. Except perhaps Scop, and the warning label for that does suggest the user may become an ax-wielding psychopath, stroke out, go blind, hallucinate, and a couple of other wonderful things spontaneously after using it. But pretty much everyone who uses it seems to agree that's better than what being truly seasick can be.
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Old 21-07-2014, 08:51   #59
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Re: Seizures and Sailboats. Do They Mix?

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If the seizing sailor is sailing solo, the dog won't help much. The sailor still goes down and the boat out of control and now, you can add in the complexities of sailing with dog.

If the seizing sailor is crew (as opposed to someone who's just gone sailing by themselves) then the dog is pointless, as "man down" happens in any case and if there's more crew, they deal with that.

Any crew can have medical fallibilities and it is up to the skipper to decide if that's an acceptable risk for that particular trip considering all circumstances.

Even "simple" seasickness can be debilitating and there's nothing that guarantees to stop it. Except perhaps Scop, and the warning label for that does suggest the user may become an ax-wielding psychopath, stroke out, go blind, hallucinate, and a couple of other wonderful things spontaneously after using it. But pretty much everyone who uses it seems to agree that's better than what being truly seasick can be.

Hellosailor, most dogs alert 30-90 minutes ahead of a seizure. I personally know one and she alerts 60-90 min ahead.

That IMHO is plenty of time to secure a boat and get to a safe place.
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Old 21-07-2014, 09:18   #60
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Re: Seizures and Sailboats. Do They Mix?

Wow, 60 to 90 minutes, and I was under the impression it was an order of magnitude less....like 5 minutes. Even that would give the afflicted person some time to get into a safer position, and take some precautions with the boat. Thank God for dogs! I guess it would mean choosing and setting up a boat that is docile, predictable and reliable. Of course, if you want a bearded monkey that can pass as human and understand basic commands in English, I'm volunteering. Got any banana-flavoured beer, and do you mind if the monkey smokes a pipe?
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