Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Alcohol, Dementia, or Both? (9/28/16, part 17)

Bottle on the left...half consumed since 9/20. Bottle on the right just a little bit since 9/20. More than half of the middle bottle is gone since it's purchase on Saturday 9/24.

Since I posted that photo last night I've been thinking. Thinking that maybe some of you saw it and thought yep, that's how it happens.....or maybe you have an alcoholic in your family and are thinking about all the things that could be potential clues and pointers and examples that someone has a problem. Maybe often it IS RIGHT THERE IN FRONT OF YOU and you still miss it.

I can't count how many people I know with an alcoholic spouse have told me "there were signs", "I chose not to see it" or "there was always an explanation". I swear, if you and I sat down and I looked you in the eye and told you some of the clues we missed - and how each one appeared to be explained logically - you'd probably agree.

The other half found my mom on the floor Monday evening when he got back to her house. He had to wake her up, she wasn't very responsive and was slurring her speech. She'd probably been that way for several hours. After he called the ambulance she went to the emergency room and was then admitted, I spoke to her and my heart sank. The way her words came out, the pattern of her speech and even the sound of her voice had changed. "She's had a stroke" I told myself...."this is likely the beginning of the end". And yet Tuesday night back at her house I'm baffled at what I see....I MISSED SO MUCH.

Tuesday at the hospital I learned that in addition to the rapid onset dementia, she has a portion of her heart which has stopped "firing" and is causing the remaining part to work extra hard and occasionally skip or pause, possibly leading to the blackouts she has. It's ironic that while she is "forgetting" to take her 5 prescribed medications, she also refuses to follow doctors orders to avoid alcoholic beverages, and while she isn't supposed to drive she is willing to sneak to go out for her fix.

It's doubtful if I could consume the amount of alcohol it appears she has been, without some serious personality changes; at 120 lbs over half of the 1.75 bottle of brandy was gone in a little over 48 hours. Today is a 2-3 hours exploratory heart procedure and possibly a pacemaker. How much of this could have been avoided I may never know - but we know now from a close look at her house and receipts just how much has been hidden.

"Life on Delmarva" • #delmarvausa