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My story of my Alcoholic mom (now in the hospital)

Old 01-14-2012, 08:48 AM
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My story of my Alcoholic mom (now in the hospital)

Hi everyone. I am new to this site, and thought it looked like a good place to realize that I am not alone, having an alcoholic parent (my mom). I would like to share my story to anyone who will listen.
My mom lost her mother before I was even born, which led to her becoming an alcoholic (it runs pretty heavily in her side of the family). She struggled from about 1993-1996, when she ended up joining AA and got sober for about 5 years. Then she started up again around 2001 and has been drinking heavily ever since. Last wednesday (today is Saturday), she called me and told me she dumped all of her alcohol down the drain and was going to quit. I was so happy for her, not knowing the consequences that can come from a heavy drinker quitting cold turkey. So thursday night I got a call from my dad saying my mom is in the ICU. Here's where I get worried...
So she is experiencing all sorts of odd things. She is talking so weird... just mumbling random thoughts. She keeps saying "who's day is it? Dr Robert day" (Robert is her dad). She seems very aggitated and keeps cussing more than she normally would, and saying she wants to kill the drs and nurses that are taking care of her. She has had nausea and was throwing up Wednesday and Thursday. Her blood pressure is up and she isn't sleeping well. From what I have researched online, these are all symptoms of pretty serious alcohol withdrawal.
I would just like to hear from some other ACOA who have gone through similar situations. How long does the mumbling, aggitation, and confusion last? I just want her to be better... hopefully this will be the final straw for her and she will join a group and be sober.
Thanks for much to anyone who read my story and can give me any insight!
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Old 01-14-2012, 09:47 AM
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Welcome to the SR family, so glad to have you here, thanks for sharing.

I have been through this with my mom (in the ICU twice in the last 18 months), every person is different, and probably each detox is different.

Your mom is going through a very rough time, she is just going to have to ride it out, I wish I could give you concrete answers but I cannot, if you are up to it, then just be there for her.

After 40+ years of my moms drinking I could not do it, my sister flew to Florida to be there with her the first time, since my mom went right back to drinking between 3-6 bottles of wine a day after the first incident, she decided not to fly back down for round two.

Please remember to take care of YOU, get enough rest, eat right, and pray or meditate if that's your thing.

Come back often, let us know how you are doing, you are among friends here.

Best of luck,

Bill
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Old 01-14-2012, 02:04 PM
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Hi there,

I'm glad you posted on here, it's good to reach out and actually find a hand or two to grab onto. I'm new to ACA also, and I've been really appreciative of this site since I started using it a few days ago.

I am not a doctor, or an expert, but I can share my personal experience with you, and hope that it might be helpful.

I did work at a detox center for about a year, and my step-dad is a late stage alcoholic who has had to be hospitalized numerous times for various reasons, but delirium tremens have always been present when he has a stay at a hospital.

When I worked at the detox center, people who were suffering from DTs were usually in that state (on average) for about five days. Some more, some less, but they were always very agitated, sometimes disoriented (especially because treating DTs requires a lot of medication, like Librium), and often very unsteady when they tried to walk (they often required assistance, due to the withdrawal symptoms as well as the heavy doses of medication).
Also, delirium tremens by nature can cause extreme confusion for the people experiencing them.
I know from seeing many family members and patients have to take pain medications and anti-seizure medications that the medications can increase the state of agitation, nervousness, and confusion that people who are going through DTs are already experiencing, but the medication is necessary, as DTs can be very scary if not treated medically.

My grandma had to take pain medications heavily for a while, and they made her uncharacteristically irritable and agitated. I don't know what medications they're giving your mom, but they could be exacerbating the nature of withdrawals to make people agitated and irritable.

I can't tell you how long your mom will feel the way that she is feeling, but I hope for the best for you and your family, and I hope that you will find others who have been through similar experiences to help you get through this, and possibly understand it more thoroughly.

I hope that sharing my experience is helpful to you on some small level.
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Old 01-14-2012, 04:29 PM
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Thanks for the responses. That's what I was looking for... people who have been in similar situations. It's good to hear others have been through this as well.

I went to visit her again today, and she seemed better. Still disoriented, but more off and on rather than the whole day. So that is good news. She was actually laughing rather than cussing at everything. I know this will be a slow process to recovery, but I have faith that we can get through it.

Thanks again guys!
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Old 01-15-2012, 05:04 AM
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I have just had exactly the same problem with my mum just before Christmas. She was taken into hospital suffering dt's. She didn't know my name, thought that it was 1924 etc, the usual stuff that I have read about. I was having to give her step by step instructions on how to use the toilet. She was taken in an ambulance on the friday, they sent her home and we took her back in Sunday as she had been in the park all night hallucinating her dog, which I was looking after, in the frost with no shoes on.
Anyway, she was in 10 days. Although she was a lot better, she is still not totally right but she is 73 and had alcoholism for about 14 years without a break so it was obviously going to take time.
The sad thing is that she sits and laughs about it, has no remorse whatsoever and is drinking again. I have given up, life is too short to worry about someone that doesn't care for either herself or me and I have a life to live.
Good luck with your mum and try not to worry, loads of people get dt's and come through it fine.
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Old 01-15-2012, 06:42 AM
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Originally Posted by NeverLoseHope View Post
Hi everyone. I am new to this site, and thought it looked like a good place to realize that I am not alone, having an alcoholic parent (my mom). I would like to share my story to anyone who will listen.
My mom lost her mother before I was even born, which led to her becoming an alcoholic (it runs pretty heavily in her side of the family). She struggled from about 1993-1996, when she ended up joining AA and got sober for about 5 years. Then she started up again around 2001 and has been drinking heavily ever since. Last wednesday (today is Saturday), she called me and told me she dumped all of her alcohol down the drain and was going to quit. I was so happy for her, not knowing the consequences that can come from a heavy drinker quitting cold turkey. So thursday night I got a call from my dad saying my mom is in the ICU. Here's where I get worried...
So she is experiencing all sorts of odd things. She is talking so weird... just mumbling random thoughts. She keeps saying "who's day is it? Dr Robert day" (Robert is her dad). She seems very aggitated and keeps cussing more than she normally would, and saying she wants to kill the drs and nurses that are taking care of her. She has had nausea and was throwing up Wednesday and Thursday. Her blood pressure is up and she isn't sleeping well. From what I have researched online, these are all symptoms of pretty serious alcohol withdrawal.
I would just like to hear from some other ACOA who have gone through similar situations. How long does the mumbling, aggitation, and confusion last? I just want her to be better... hopefully this will be the final straw for her and she will join a group and be sober.
Thanks for much to anyone who read my story and can give me any insight!
There may not be a good answer to this one. When my Dad had the hospitalization that pretty much led to his death in 2010, he had some of the symptoms you describe, and his doctors decided it might be alcohol withdrawal. He was 90, and although increasingly frail in recent years, his mind was still fairly sharp most of the time... although that had also started to be spotty. There would be times when he seemed confused, but also times when he could still give you a detailed explanation of scientific work he had done 50 years ago.

Before he went to the hospital, he had been abstaining from booze for a week or two, of his own volition. My Dad wasn't a falling-down drinker, for most of his life, but he did drink quite a bit, and as he got older, would get drunk on smaller amounts of booze than in the past. He was clearly alcohol-dependent -- he'd sneak up in the middle of the night and make himself a Manhattan, etc. He became quite depressed after my mother died in 2008 (after her own 11-month ordeal of hospitalization, rehab, nursing care, and so on, which I've described at various times).

I'm still not sure exactly what caused his decline and death. He may have had a stroke at some point in his last few months, but I don't know. The important part was that basically there was nothing much I could do to change things, for a 90-year-old alcoholic -- one with whom I had a badly strained relationship in the first place. There's a lot of wreckage left over from that time, and I'm sorting it out with help from my ACA sponsor and my Mom's old shrink (who treated her for almost 50 years -- which is great, because that means he knows more about my life than I do!).

Most important, whatever happens, it is not your doing -- there isn't much you can do to change the outcome of things one way or the other. Good luck.

T
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