Author Topic: Health Issues might make me give up driving-is it okay that I transferred to NYC  (Read 1602 times)

c awesome

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Hi my name is Christine. I have been reading the blog of Mr. Money Mustache for a long time, but this is my first time on the forums.

I am currently living at home with my parents, massively paying off my student loans. I already paid off $20,000 in a year and I only have $2300 to go. I also have a $1000 emergency fund, and a roth ira and a 401k. However, unlike Mr. Money Mustache, I am not blessed with good health. Two years ago, I had a seizure. In addition to racking up a terrible emergency bill, with an ambulance bill included, I could not drive anymore. This is a serious problem because my metro area has the worst public transit in the USA. I wish I was kidding but I am not. My parents did not buy the house with public transit in mind or even sidewalks in mind. The nearest bus stop is 2 miles away and the sidewalk ends on the busiest section of the road. There is no shoulder on this road and I see cars nearly hit the poor cyclists that dare to use the space.

Well, why not move out? There is also a problem with that. Remember the worst transit in the USA? Yeah they cut off weekend service and night service to my job. I work weekends and nights because it is the shift that pays the most. Even if I was able to move out of working weekends, then I could not do any essential shopping or medical care on the weekends because the bus does not exist. This bus service also doesn't cover half the county.

Well....I have resigned myself to driving and watching money fly out the window when I lost consciousness 2 weeks ago. People told me that I just passed out but I don't remember. Also no one directly witnessed the incident. See 2 years ago, they found a brain lesion in my brain. It was benign but the neurologist said I had a 50/50 shot of another seizure. Well, instead of complaining and crying in my room, I remembered something. My old manager transferred to nyc and offered a job transfer. At the time, I said no but this time I applied and it was accepted.

Another thing to mention was since my first seizure, my driving has not gone back to 100%. It has gone back to 80% at most. I can't drive on the interstate during a thunderstorm at night because I get headaches of death. My driving reaction time during night time is worse than before. When I am tired, it gets even worse.

I am wondering if I am crazy for transferring to nyc? I mean I just worry if I stay in my current city that jobs will not be available to me because I just can't get to any of them because of the poor public transit. Also, any tips for grocery shopping via a bus? I never have done it.

SKL-HOU

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is there a neighbor that takes thesame route as you or a coworker thatlives nearby? NYC will be very expensive.
I don’t know if you were cleared to drive but I wouldn’t drive at all. A college friend of mine had seizures but it was under control with meds and was permitted by his doctor to drive. He ended up having a seizure while on meds and ended up killing a family of four when he hit their car from behind. He was in jail for a couple of years until his appeal finally came through. He was cleared by the doctor to drive but he shouldn’t have been.

MayDay

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Moving to NYC sounds very sensible. You are young, this is the time to try new things. If you don't want to go to NYC, there are lots of other options too. Minneapolis has good transit with lots of options where you wouldn't need a car.

Many people take transit to the store, and if they are doing a big stock up they take an Uber home. Perhaps you do small trips most of the time and stock up monthly. Grocery delivery is also very common in NYC and elsewhere. If you are compared slightly more expensive delivery with the cost of an Uber it may make sense.

Cranky

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I don't know where you are, but I live in a rust belt city with lousy public transit, and I don't drive.

Number 1 - see what the public transit offers in the way of disability services, because in my area, while the buses don't run very often or go where I want very fast, there are a number of other services available for people with disabilities.

Number 2 - Uber/Lyft have been a game changer for me. They are not cheap, but they go where I want to go when I want to go there.

Number 3 - consolidate your errands. Your parents must go to the grocery store... go at the same time, or give them a list and some money. Delivery? Amazon? Those things are a blessing for nondrivers.

Number 4 - grocery shopping on a bus: take a backpack. A crossbody tote bag (long strap) is pretty comfortable because it lets you put more of the weight on your hip.

Good luck!


havregryn

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Hey Christine, I can't help with your question as I have no first hand experience of the US, but wanted to say hi as I also had a neurological affliction that now makes me, among other things, unable to drive (medically I would be cleared but I can't, the anxiety I feel about it would make it very likely that something could go wrong and I have small kids). I live in Europe (so a much more public transit kind of culture) and still I get to listen to a lot of people telling me that I should just go and drive because...reasons, who doesn't drive blah blah. So I want to say well done on your mature take on the problem and the search for solutions.

I rarely tell people my driving phobia is mainly medical, I often just act smug and say it's about fighting climate change ;)

lilactree

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NYC could work out well. What will your budget be for housing?

Linea_Norway

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You really shouldn't drive if you get seizures! Moving to a city with good PT is a good idea. You can easily do groceries without a car. I did that for years, before I owned a car. You should shop more often with smaller amounts. You can also buy a trolley ( http://www.harkema-lederwaren.nl/wp-content/uploads/2014/04/secc-le-touquet-boodschappenkar-groen.jpg ), which is very practical if you want to buy some more stuff at once.

Is it an option for you to move abroad? (Europe, or maybe Asia)

c awesome

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Thank you for the advice. I chose nyc because I at least know some people there. The job is on staten island and I plan to live with lots of roommates. My parents are not mustachians but my grandfather is. My parents understandably don't know how to live without a car and I don't think they have ever took a bus in our city. Meanwhile my grandfather remembered his family only having one car in the middle of nowhere and my late grandmother remembered a time when she did not have a car at all. My grandfather has now made me think about responsibilty and duty to other people among other things. In other words, he is a good influence. I think it is because he grew up during the great depression.

You know my current city is bad on transit when you look at the rust belt cities public transit as awesome and wish you had it. I plan to look at a job that is not in a warehouse but more in an office building. That way, I can eventually move to a city like Minnapolis when I have job experience. If my neurological symptoms are back I need to reajust my career goals to something more reasonable even if I actually like my warehouse job. This is just buying me time. 

Ynari

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Grocery shopping by bus is easiest with a little roller cart. Move is from Ikea but I'm sure you can get them on Amazon.

I lived in Chicago, and I truly miss the transit. Never owned a car there. It sounds like city life is an exciting next step for you! Good luck!

Laserjet3051

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depedning where u live in nyc, you may not even need a bus to go shopping. look carefully at the neighborhoods your interested. some are very well connected with walkable shopping (where you would use a cart). And shop 2-3 times per week to keep the load manageable. NYC public transit is outstanding! the best in the USA. But keep in mind some train routes are better than others, so use train (and/or bus) schedules to help you locate a living place. Good luck!

Hula Hoop

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Unfortunately, Staten Island is probably the most car-centric borough in NYC.  That said, it depends where on the island you live and work and NYC in general is very do-able without a car.  Just research public transit routes carefully before commiting to an apartment.

frugaldrummer

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NYC is a great idea if you have a job there. Subways are a great way to get around.  You don't want to drive with a seizure disorder, imagine trying to live with having killed someone else driving and having a seizure?

A hopeful thought for the future - I think in ten years we will all just summon a self-driving car and you'll be able to live almost anywhere!

Laserjet3051

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Unfortunately, Staten Island is probably the most car-centric borough in NYC.  That said, it depends where on the island you live and work and NYC in general is very do-able without a car.  Just research public transit routes carefully before commiting to an apartment.

Agree. Only 4 of the 5 boroughs should be considered given the OPs requirements.

c awesome

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I did look up neighborhoods in staten island. Some neighborhoods in the north shore are doable. I just have a take a bus, which I would have to do from the other boroughs. It shortens my commute from 2 hours to 40 minutes. I also plan to get a bike. I am not paying extra to live father from my job. That makes no logical sense. Buses in the north shore run every 15-30 minutes, 24 hours a day. Several neighborhoods in the north shore are walkable.

It might not seem walkable to you, but to me I have never lived in a place with 24/7 bus service before. I live in a place where half of bus routes don't operate on the weekends and half the county is not covered by bus routes. Besides in college, I got by on lesser quality bus service.

Hula Hoop

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I'm a native NYer so I guess I have pretty high standards for public transit.  I didn't grow up on Staten Island but whenever I've been there it seemed like there were a lot of drivers and cars.  It seems more like the "rest of America" (which to us New Yorkers =s New Jersey <jk>) in that people there seem to own cars and drive to things a lot.

In your situation, if you're used to zero public transit then I agree Staten Island would be an improvement.

c awesome

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http://www.tampabay.com/projects/2017/data/public-transportation-worst/. This article explains where I am coming from. Staten island is definitely car centered but hey, better than that. I don't look down on buses or sidewalks. New Yorkers don't know how good they have it.

Cranky

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If you are actually in Tampa, there may be areas where you would find it more walkable than where you are now.

My mom lived in New Port Richey, and there were tons of places to walk to. I will say that NYC is dazzlingly expensive compared to Florida, so be prepared.

c awesome

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New Port Richey is a surburb with no high paying jobs. In addition, the bus service in pasco county is not great...Most people who live in pasco commute at least an hour to jobs in Tampa or St. Petersburg. It might be walkable...but with no jobs, it does not matter. It might be a good retirement destination...unless you need specialist service then you are commuting all the way to Tampa. 

alsoknownasDean

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http://www.tampabay.com/projects/2017/data/public-transportation-worst/. This article explains where I am coming from. Staten island is definitely car centered but hey, better than that. I don't look down on buses or sidewalks. New Yorkers don't know how good they have it.

Read the article and some of the comments...wow.

Yeah get the hell out of there, sounds like you’d be much happier living elsewhere. Surely there’s somewhere else cheaper than NYC that’d have a suitable transit network.

https://www.mrmoneymustache.com/2011/09/28/get-rich-with-moving-to-a-better-place/

Cranky

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New Port Richey is a surburb with no high paying jobs. In addition, the bus service in pasco county is not great...Most people who live in pasco commute at least an hour to jobs in Tampa or St. Petersburg. It might be walkable...but with no jobs, it does not matter. It might be a good retirement destination...unless you need specialist service then you are commuting all the way to Tampa.

It's not clear to me what kind of job the OP has now, but she mentions a "warehouse". For jobs like that, I think cost of living matters a LOT. NYC is a hard place to live if you don't have a high paying job.

Imma

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I have no idea if NYC is the right place for you to move to, but I am in similar circumstances (health issues and don't drive) and when we bought our house we paid a lot of attention to the transit options from our house. We made sure we are within walking distance of all the places we need easy access to like a supermarket and pharmacy, we have a bus stop around the corner that is served 2-4 times per hour from 6 - 24 (our city has no night bus service). On top of that we are within 20 minutes walking from the train station and live in a very bikeable city. My partner works shifts and he walks or rides his bike to work, I work office hours and I take the bus.

This means we live a great life without having to rely on a car. I think this would be a great life for many people, but when you don't drive, living in a place like this is a necessity - unless you want to be dependent on other people giving you rides or paying for a taxi all the time, which I don't. All in all my transport costs (bus, train, bike maintenance) are €100-€150/month and my work reimburses me €80, so it's also a lot cheaper than car ownership.

Villanelle

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I don't think we have nearly enough information to tell you if this is a great idea.  There are other places in the US wtih good public transport, especially if you can select a home based on that need. 

You really need to run the numbers.  Check out Craigslist and see what a roommate situation costs in the areas you need to live.  Do some research about other costs for the area.  Do the numbers work? If you are moving to be a barista, the numbers are probably dire.  If you are middle management or above, they may work.

It does sound like you need to move, but you may be better off starting an aggressive jobs search, focusing on any middle to large city with decent public transport.  Before you can decide if that or NYC is a better deal, you need to run the numbers.

What will your salary be?

Hula Hoop

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I agree that NYC is crazy expensive and since SI is that that public transit friendly why don't you move to the center of a cheaper city with OK public transit that's a lot cheaper?

freya

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Christine - I agree it's a good idea to think about this before jumping in.  If you're excited about the idea of moving to NYC that's as good a reason as any to do it.  However, most people I know who live on Staten Island own cars, and the subway doesn't extend there - it's all about buses and ferries.  It really depends on exactly where you might live & where the job is.  Staying within walking distance of the Staten Island Ferry is probably a good idea - it will get you quickly to Manhattan and it's free.

If you like where you live now apart from the transportation issues, perhaps there are alternatives to moving out of the area?  Finding an apartment within walking distance of work, and using Uber/Lyft and other rideshare services can work for you.  There may also be other services you're eligible for.  The Epilepsy Foundation has information on its website that you may find helpful, and if there's an office near you I strongly suggest you visit it.  They will have specific local tips as they are well aware of the transportation issue.  I also suggest getting evaluated at a major epilepsy center, where you can also find useful practical advice.  The Foundation can point you in the right direction, or message me for more info.

Finally a quick note about epilepsy and driving.  Thanks to those who posted their stories - a very good thing to talk about!  Typically you're required to report your condition to the DMV if you have had an episode of loss of consciousness in the past 6 or 12 months (depending on the state) which appears to be true in your case.  Except in a small handful of mandatory reporting states, doctors only have an advisory role.  They have no authority to "clear" people to drive - that is a decision that must be made by the DMV.  Anyway it sounds like you've already made the responsible decision not to drive.  Good for you!