The first few days after surgery are typically the hardest
The first few days after brain surgery are usually the hardest. You’ll be in pain and on lots of medication. You may need to rest a lot, so it’s important that your loved ones understand this and help you find ways to stay active.
In addition to being tired, you’ll also feel confused, disoriented, and clumsy (called postoperative dizziness). This is normal for someone who has just had brain surgery, but it can really affect your ability to drive after surgery because it affects your coordination, balance and thinking skills.
Your doctor will let you know when it’s safe for you to get back behind the wheel
While it may be difficult to temporarily cease driving, it is important not to rush the recovery process. After all, you don’t want to put yourself or others in harm’s way by driving before it is completely safe. Your doctor will let you know when it’s safe for you to get back behind the wheel after brain surgery, but in general, they’ll recommend that you wait at least three months before getting behind the wheel again. In New South Wales, there is a process outlined by the RMS regarding assessing someone’s medical fitness to drive following a significant injury, disability, medical condition or diagnosis. The first step generally involves your doctor informing the RMS of the brain surgery. Usually, doctors will make this notification to the RMS in the first few weeks following the surgery.
Your doctor completes a medical assessment about your overall health status, filling out the RMS medical fitness to drive form. Your doctor will also have to make recommendations about whether you can continue to drive, or if you require some restrictions on your licence. Commonly, doctors will recommend an Occupational Therapy (OT) driving assessment to fully determine medical fitness to drive. In this assessment, a qualified OT will monitor and observe the person driving. It is also worth noting that sometimes, doctors may have to recommend to the RMS that the person cannot drive for several months (e.g. 3-6 months) following brain surgery. Again, this timeframe will vary between individuals. It is best to have an open and honest discussion with your doctor about your condition and prognosis about returning behind the wheel.