First, thanks in advance if you take the time to read my ranting. I hope I donÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t scare anyone away before I can get the help I desperately need.
My mother has been a chronic alcoholic for as far back as I can remember. She is now 62 years old and has just been hospitalized with the classic symptoms of KorsakoffÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s syndrome. I had no idea about this syndrome prior to coming home from the hospital tonight and searching her symptoms - Ã¢â‚¬Å“alcohol, thyroid, delusionÃ¢â‚¬Â. When I came across this syndrome I knew it was it.
I need to give you a bit of history so that you can understand my dilemma.
As those of you with a simalarly affected loved one can imagine, my relationship with my mother has been difficult, and her having mental health issues compounded our issues. At one point, years ago, I fully removed myself from her life for the sake of my own mental health. After 4 years of torturing myself with if she was even still alive I did re-enter her life (in a long distance way) to find that she had remarried, was medicated and was (I thought) being forbade liqueur more than once a week. We are now 10 years later.
To the point at handÃ¢â‚¬Â¦
I usually talk with my mother a few times a week and visit every couple of months. The last time I was there was in December finishing up a dress for her Christmas gift. She was ok, for her, but weak and told me that she was going to her Dr. for tests. She complained of not having much of an appetite and not being able to walk for any huge distances. But while I was there she did eat and was able to stand for her dress fitting so I foolishly assumed that she was just getting older and knowing her history of abuse I assumed that these were probably the normal results for an aging alcoholic. Both she and her husband assured me that she was seeing her Dr. regularly and that they were searching for a cause.
After that visit I had my usual calls with her but the first week of January when I called she got on the phone she said - Ã¢â‚¬Å“I know what I want for ChristmasÃ¢â‚¬Â. I thought to myself first - sheÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s drunk so hang up and I ended the conversation. Then I started to wonder about early AlzheimerÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s. I wasnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t too worried for her safety or anything like this, again going on the assumption that she was seeing her Dr. (completely my fault). The next couple of times I called she would tell me that she wasnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t eating too good and that her Dr. had ordered an MRI to check out her neck and throat. I hoped for the best and tried to be patient hoping for a diagnosis and her getting better.
This brings us to yesterday.
Her husband called me. A first for everything rite? Well, he sounded worried and said Ã¢â‚¬Å“she wonÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t eat, maybe you can talk to herÃ¢â‚¬Â. When he put her on the phone and I heard her little weak, mousy voice say hello I asked her Ã¢â‚¬Å“are you ok, you have to try to eat somethingÃ¢â‚¬Â her response was Ã¢â‚¬Å“daytime or nighttimeÃ¢â‚¬Â.
My heart fell in my lap. I told her Ã¢â‚¬Å“mom you have to eat somethingÃ¢â‚¬Â and she didnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t respond so I asked her to put her husband back on the phone and she just started saying Ã¢â‚¬Å“yeah, yeah?Ã¢â‚¬Â Finally she put him on the phone and I told him to hang up and dial 911 because there is something really wrong with her. They took her to the hospital and I went down there.
My mother was a rail. She reeked of urine. Her skin was like tissue paper. Her hands were like ice and she could hardly keep her head up. She could not hold a conversation being completely confused, but was too weak to be anything but calm as a cucumber. I though she was dying.
In the usual admittance procedures I found that not only did she not have any appetite but that she actually hadnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t eaten anything of significance since Christmas. I thought to myself how is it possible that she is still even alive without any food. But later in that day I found out how. She was living off of vodka and iced tea highballs. Her husband admitted to me and the doctors in the ER that she has for years been insisting on a drink by her bedside for wakeup and at least 8 shots a day. I am OUTSIDE myself with anger, guilt, frustration, fear, you name it.
My dilemma? I have to get my mother help. From what I just learned about this syndrome, her symptoms, and the fact that the first courses of treatment for her have been I.V fluids with dextrose and a B1 shot, leads me to believe this is what weÃ¢â‚¬â„¢re dealing with here. She is safe now in the hospital, but if they let her go what then? I mentioned to her husband even prior to learning about the severity of her situation that it may be best for them to get some home health care a couple/few times a week so that she can be bathed and fed and looked after for her health, but his attitude is that he donÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t want anybody in Ã¢â‚¬Å“hisÃ¢â‚¬Â house (not). He has always been controlling (part of the reason I donÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t visit more often) and throughout the day he insisted that heÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s been caring for her and they donÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t need any help. I am really terrified that if she starts coming around from the B1 (and I hope and pray for that miracle) her alcoholism is going to take her rite back home to a bottle of vodka. And he will be more than happy to fix it for her.
I have to get her help.
I learned from talking with the DrÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s last night and today that PA doesnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t have any laws prohibitting a person from drinking themselves to death, and with her husbands rights probably coming before mine as a child of hers I am so lost.
What should I do next? I do plan on talking with a social worker tomorrow I hope, but whatÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s the best way to deal with this? I just want to try to be prepared. I know itÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s late and IÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ll be leaving for the hospital tomorrow morning, so IÃ¢â‚¬â„¢m hoping thereÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s a few late nighterÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s out there with some advice for me.