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6 days ago, my cousin was taken to the emergency room because she was out of her head and couldn't walk. She's always been a drinker, but she lost her job last summer and I believe the idle time and depression caused her to hit the bottle harder and harder. According to her "boyfriend", the week before he took her to hospital she was drinking from the time she woke up till she fell asleep. She ate nothing for 4-5 days. She lost feeling in her feet and he caught her walking by grabbing hold of furniture to assist her. A couple of days later, she was butt-walking across the floor because she couldn't stand. A day later, she was unable to move at all.
He finally took her to the ER and they found her potassium had bottomed out and her blood count was extremely low. They gave her 2 units of blood and put her on a potassium drip and also gave her something called a rally pack IV. She remained in the hospital until yesterday and was then relocated to a physical rehab center. Medical tests on her came back pretty clean. She has a fatty liver but her enzyme levels are not at a dangerous level. Here's what I'm trying to understand and what has the family concerned. She's been talking out of her head since she went in and it's not getting better. She knows who I am, who she is, where she is, what day it is, etc, but then she'll say something completely bizzarre, like ask how my fishing trip with the Kardashians went or tell me Marilyn Monroe stopped by last night. At first, they told us the potassium deficiency caused the mental problems, then we were told it was withdrawal symptoms. I can understand both things, but she doesn't have any other 'withdrawal' symptoms and she's not getting better. The past 2 days it's been hard to get her to wake up and she's not on any medication. She can talk to you with perfect sense and even makes jokes. They told her she could take anything in the hospital room with her when she left and she cracked that they should be careful telling her that, because they might come back and find the television missing! The next minute she's wondering what happened to the kitten that's been in her room keeping her feet warm. She's weak and slurs her words like she's drunk or drugged but she's not. Today, we discussed her condition with a nurse who is also a little puzzled by by her seeming lucidity and delusion. After we told her the circumstances, she said it could be alcohol induced dementia. I looked that up but it doesn't seem to really fit her particular symptoms either. We know she's in trouble and no one is taking this alcohol abuse lightly, but I'm concerned about her mind right now. She's not craving alcohol or even talking about it, (except to ask if she'd be able to have a drink at the new place) and she's not in any physical discomfort except for her tingly feet. Has anyone had any experience like this? Is it common? Is it simply withdrawal? Any help or answers is greatly appreciated. -- Polly
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