Posted , 9 users are following.

Hi all

Following on from my last two discussions, I thought I'd share the latest saga on this subject. Regular posters will remember the problems my daughter in law had after discovering her mother was secretly drinking.

Any new members can see my previous discussions, rather than me repeating everything.

To cut a long story short, my daughter in law had a phone call from the hospital, informing her that her mother was back and being transferred to ICU, following an emergency admission.

Her mum had been doing so well ( previously given less than 24 hours to live) following multi organ failure due to alcohol) She had a physio visit her three times a week, along with a morning and evening carer.

She had been told it was a miracle she survived and that just one drink could kill her, which she understood.

When her morning carer came on Monday, the carer asked if she wanted any shopping. She needed a few basic things, and then added it was her son in laws 30th birthday  (my son, whose birthday is in December!).

He liked a certain malt whisky (he hates whisky!), so could the carer get him a bottle. She even asked her to get a bottle gift bag and card.

She came back with her shopping and then left as usual saying she'd see her in the morning and the next carer would come as usual at 6pm.

The evening carer came, rang the bell, but got no response, so let herself in using the key safe. She found her unconscious on the floor in a pool of vomit, urine and faeces. The whisky bottle was on the floor nearly empty.

So we are now back to square one. Whether she survives or not, remains to be seen. My daughter in law has seen her but has said she will go when she can, but as she is unconscious, sees little point in hurrying back.

Unfortunately she saw one of  the consultants her mum had last time who was very sharp with her. He wanted to know why on earth she'd let her mum drink whisky when he'd told her in no uncertain terms that just one drink could kill her.

At this point, my daughter in law had no idea where the whisky had come from. She was adamant the whisky wasn't in the house as she'd searched the house from top to bottom to make sure there was no alcohol before her mum came home.

She then went back to her mums to clean up and found the card and gift back, along with a receipt for her mums shopping. She knew then how she'd got the whisky. To say she was livid is putting it mildly. It's written and highlighted in the carers book that under no circumstances can the client have any alcohol whatsoever, even meals cooked in wine or desserts like sherry trifle!!

Shes now lodged a complaint with the agency who provides the carers, who are now carrying out an investigation.

What I find frightening is the depths people can go to to get alcohol. The fact she had a plausible excuse, even asking for a gift bag and birthday card, shows this wasn't a sudden spur of the moment thing. She'd obviously planned in advance a way of maybe getting alcohol .

A sad story which obviously affects not just the drinker, but the whole family, especially her two grandsons who'd got used to granny being back home and saw her 3 or 4 times a week. The carer has been suspended, whilst the agency carry out their own internal investigation. She's also been told she could loose her job for gross negligence of a client.

1 like, 31 replies

31 Replies

  • Posted

    Very sad story. Unfortunately very familiar in my sons case. The stories he would make up just to find a way to get alcohol. This disease is like a tsuanimi effecting everyone in its path. Very hard to hear she has so much family who love & support her. Sometimes AUD is not treated long term (usually a year or more) leaving many  who fall into to the old familiar patterns. It is not the carer's fault at all, this is simply manipulation by the disease. Once again the family is in pain watching someone they love and respect relapse. Relapse is part of the disease unfortunately. Stay well Vickylou you have shown great strength in the past! 

    Many prays and blessings sent your way!  

    God Bless


    • Posted

      Thank you Hope for your kind words and a lot of what you say I agree with.

      I would disagree slightly over the carer though. I admit she was manipulated, but she knew the client nearly died due to her drinking and knew one drink could kill her.

      Everything was written in the carers medical notes regarding the need for total abstainance from alcohol. So buying and leaving her with a full bottle of whisky was naive to say the least.

    • Posted

      My goodness, the pull of alcohol is surreal.  To be on the brink of death and still it has you in its grip is just horrible.  I feel for her; she knows what she is doing.  Just terrible.

      A traumatic but necessary read.


    • Posted

      Of course the whole picture was not entered in my reply only the facts from the post is what I responded to.

      take care, you are a survivor very open and have great insight.

  • Posted

    So sad, sounds like the alcohol deprivation effect in full force....

    I really don't know if it will help, vickylou, but at least if I tell you what I know, then you might have another option. But I don't want to get any hopes up.

    Stanford University in California are currently doing clinical trials using TSM with visual cues, rather than actual alcohol.  The intention, I believe, would be that TSM could be used for those in prison who can't drink, or those like your daughter-in-law's mother who just simply can't take another drink.

    They are, apparently, getting very good results based on taking the naltrexone tablet at the usual sign of a craving, but then using (I think) pictures of their go-to alcohol.

    They are testing the theory that the reinforcement process actually begins at the first thought of alcohol - in the sense of popping open the bottle, the smell of the alcohol etc - and so although the consumption of alcohol produces huge endorphins, perhaps enough endorphins are released by visual cues and thoughts around alcohol to enable TSM to still be effective.

    As I say, so far they are apparently getting some good results.

    Hopefully, her mother survives this episode and perhaps her daughter in law can discuss if naltrexone would be safe for her to take and/or maybe we can get her consultant in touch with Stanford University to learn more about what they are actually finding so far about 'visual-cue TSM'.

    • Posted

      Hello joanna

      so sorry I have not replied  earlier, but I wanted some time to go through all you were saying.

      My DIL actually asked her consultant if he would prescribe campral or naltrexone prior to her discharge from hospital . Apparently her liver wouldn't stand it

      Thank you for your help and input in this case alone. You're a people person, who genuinely cares about people and wants to help

      Thanks again

  • Posted

    'What I find frightening is the depths people can go to to get alcohol. The fact she had a plausible excuse, even asking for a gift bag and birthday card'

    But this is so normal. Drinkers when denied their alcohol, are the most devious in the world (it is carelessness that gets them found out) and will go to lengths that a non drinker finds completely plausible.

    As Joanna has said, classic ADE. People get biologically and neurologically changed over decades of daily drinking. A week of detox merely stops the physical symptoms and makes it possible for the person to get through it without reaching for the bottle.

    This is why I say, that people should be given Campral (patient was not suitable for TSM) from the moment the detox is started. Your DiL's mum would have been an ideal candidate because her expose to alcohol would have been less than a person that was up and about.

    As regards the carer, I know it is very personal to you, but I can stand back a bit. Carers are paid rubbish money, quite often given very small time slots to help a patient that are clearly not enough. It is all very well having a patient book, but if the carer does not have time to read the book on each visit. They are often only given a 15 minute slot with the patient, just time to make a tea, make them a sandwhich, and do a couple of simple jobs like put some washing on.

    Personally, I lay the blame at the care industry's door.

    • Posted

      Your reply is almost identical to what my daughter said. She's manager of a residential home for people with mental health problems, five of who suffer with wet brain.

      She said if you pay peanuts, you get monkeys, simple. However she did say that the carer has to fill in dates and times and record exactly what they've done, that's their proof they've actually visited, even if it makes them late for their next client. She would class it as a disciplinary matter as the carer also gave her, her medication which the carer hadn't recorded and signed on the mar sheets. Had she done that she'd have seen all the warnings about alcohol.

      I personally blame the medical profession. My DIL if some of you may remember, specifically asked her consultant if the hospital or gp would prescribe campral prior to her discharge from hospital. The answer was no she couldn't take campral due to her liver damage.

      Campral is not metabolised (think that's the right word) by the liver, so basically the consultant either lied or didn't know what he was talking about 

      I was once told by a psychiatrist that "if an alcoholic wants a drink desperately, short of being sectioned, they will find one by any means, regardless of how they get it. It's quite common in supermarkets for someone to put alcohol secretly in a handbag whilst pushing a trolley full of shopping. They abandon the trolley, nip to the toilet, drink a huge amount and leave the rest in the toilet. They then carry on shopping normally, safe in the knowledge they can't be accused of shoplifting,as the security tag is still on the bottle"


    • Posted

      never thought of the supermarket trick! Hiding it in the hand bag..moving on to mother in law...scary story and now again close to death due to drinking...hard times for your daughter and the rest of the family....Robin
    • Posted

      I know I was often hiding bottles round the house when I used to drink heavenly. Trouble was the next morning I couldn't remember where I'd put it!

      I would also go to great lengths when craving a drink. The supermarket trick staggered me. As to her carer getting her whisky, words fail me. On the other hand, it must have seemed plausible with a card and gift bag!

    • Posted

      I agree she might have stood a chance had she been given campral prior to discharge home. However 5 months without a drink, unable to leave home alone, she must have plotted how to get one.
    • Posted

      What people don't understand, is how much thinking time people have, when they are not mobile. I experienced this when I had my two months in hospital and for 95% of it I was immobile.

      Your brain cannot switch off, in fact it is constantly running at full speed, because you can't just get up and think, I'll go for a walk in the park, which would distract your brain from the numbness.

      As an example, I give the following - Vicks, you can read this, but please do not go through the imagination process, as it would not be good for you on Campral, this is for others to try.

      Sit on your sofa, no TV on, nothing to do. Remain there doing nothing, for as long as you can, no alcohol, just sit there and see how long it is, before you start crawling up the wall with boredem. Now, imagine you had to do it for an hour - not good eh? But if you were given a bottle of wine to drink, now imagine how much easier it would be, when the first buzz has hit you.

      The two points I'm making are, when you don't have enough to occupy your mind, you will find something to focus on. And how alcohol makes boring things so much easier to tolerate. Your DiL's mum would have been planning this for weeks, going through every scenario. How to make it plausible and how to distract the carer from thinking that it might be for them. Make it a special malt, no one buys malts for everyday drinking and a high percentage are bought as gifts for men.

      But it wouldn't have stopped there. She would have analysed the carers that came in, seen which might have been most susceptable, seen which ones read the book and seen which ones sometimes skipped the book. Having picked her target, she would have waited until, they had done other things, knowing that the book would have been skipped and chosen a time when they were running late and their focus was on catching up (distracted) and would want to just speed through things, not question and delay.

      When you are just sitting there with little to do, it's amazing how much ingenuity you can put into things and how you pick up all the subtle signs. When I was in hospital, I could recognise all the sounds of the foot steps of the regular staff and could tell who was coming down the corridor and into the ward. I knew the exact response I would get to a question by any of the staff, and would tailor my questions to individual sfaff.

    • Posted

      Ok yes I probably would go round the bend, having nothing to do.

      All the carers must sign the book with date and time. She should have 8 different medications at lunch time.

      i admit and other close friends and family all say I'm a black or white person. Right or wrong. I don't do grey areas. I can't or won't see the bigger picture. My daughter, like you says she'd probably been thinking of this since she came home. 

      I know i am wrong, but I've no sympathy now at all for her. I did all I could to ensure she saw her grandsons, the ones I wasn't allowed to look after due to my drink problem. She on the other hand was super gran, always there, but  I only got them more or less full time when she was ill.

      Maybe you can talk some sense into me. She is now conscious and has asked to see me. I don't want anything to do with her. Yes I know I am being childish as my daughter has told me.

      I have to think hard here. Her daughter won't see her, so she won't see her grandsons. My son is away so he can't go. She has a son with 3 other grandchildren who won't go either. 

      Yet at the the back of my mind, I got given loads of chances. I'd never have got my degree if I didn't have had the support of my family. So maybe I'm being petty. My daughter says knowing me I'll dwell and ponder then probably feel guilty and start drinking again. No I won't, but I am not going to see her.

    • Posted

      I didn't actually mean to send my previous reply. It was what I was thinking I would do. Now I've had my daughter on at me saying "mum you need to see her, otherwise you'll just dwell and feel guilty" so yes I'm going later if only to

      appease everyone.

    • Posted

      Do it for yourself and not for everyone else. But I suspect what is going around in your head at the moment is; I am resentful, she had her chance and she got plenty of support and has thrown it back in mine and others face. I am angry. But there will come a time when I am not angry and I too have made mistakes in my life. If I don't go and she dies, it will haunt me for a long time and my family will blame me.

      If you're going, think beforehand about how it is going to pan out, what will be said by both parties. It will make you better prepared. And, don't expect the hospital staff to be very sympathetic, this just reinforces their opinion of people with an alcohol addiction.

    • Posted

      You know me too well  yes I am going and yes I do feel resentfull!

      I will listen to what she has to say. My daughter is taking me. She has read things on this forum and said "if he wants a job, tell him the job is his" she is looking for a deputy manager. Life skills and criteria, more important than qualifications!

    • Posted

      When I read vicks post and before I had read yours, I was bursting to respond - but you beat me to it.  I ditto ditto ditto your words.

      But, at the end of the day, I still feel for the mother.  That was pretty desperate what she did knowing it could kill her.  That is the pull!

      vicks, you must do as you feel fit - yes you had help along the way, and that probably saved you.  I, personally, could not handle the guilt in my head, even though I can be stubborn at times.  But it is the alcohol issue that I am understanding.  It is the very devil incarnate.

      Sending you love and strength (but you are a strong un).


    • Posted

      What an experience RH for you!  Your family must have also gone through hell. 

      Your theoretical breakdown of the mind is right - that is how the mind works.  It is hard to imagine how one can be so very calculated.


    • Posted

      TBH, it isn't so hard to imagine how the mind can be so calculating. No, I'm going to change that, it is hard to imagine, unless you have been put in that situation yourself. Once you have been there, it all looks so simple.

      As for my family, I'll post a short comment tomorrow, on what it is like for the family of a patient. I'll keep it short, as I do not want to hijack the thread.

    • Posted

      I'm not sure if you went this eveing, if so, I hope it went well, if tomorrow, I hope it goes well. I had some further comments to make, but I thought I'd leave them until after you've been.

      As for the bit in bold, I'll send you a PM. Tell your daughter, I'm very flattered by her comment.

    • Posted

      Well I thought long and hard. I decided I wouldn't be able to live with the guilt if I didn't go.

      she was more or less semi unconscious, she knew I was there, but couldn't speak much. She managed to say she knew she was dying and wouldn't last long.

      She grabbed my hand and asked me to bring her grandsons in. The eldest one (9) has been quite confused as to what's the matter with his grandma. He's already been told that she might die, now she seems ok to him. Not my decision to make.

      Told DIL I'd been. She asked how she was. She won't take the boys, but said she might go in her lunch break.

      Shes glad that she went. Even more so as she died late afternoon.

      So many thanks for the advice and for helping me to look at the 'bigger picture'. Not a saga I'd like to repeat. I'm picking the eldest from school and have the little one in his pushchair. DIL has said I can tell him about grandma. Don't feel it's my place, so won't tell him. That's her job, but will be there if she wants.

    • Posted

      So sorry it has ended this way, but the body can only take so much.  This is a life-threatening condition if left untreated.

      I think you have been very strong because the emotional turmoil must've been very overwhelming. 

      Be sure to keep doing whatever you need to do to keep that way.


    • Posted

       I have never in my life read anything as traumatic as this.  I am soo very sorry for you vicks and your family. How utterly utterly sad.

      G x

    • Posted

      I didn't post yesterday, as I felt you would have other things on your mind. My sympathies to all concerned.

      I didn't show you the bigger picture, you saw that yourself. I just reassured you that it was normal to think that way. You were always going to make the right decision, you just needing thinking time to gather your thoughts without external emotional blackmail.

      It's so normal to go through the stages, anger/resentlfulness - the why, oh why, how could she do this, after everything.

      Then the sadness stage - the what if, if only it had been different.

      Logic/action stage - the coming to terms with what has happened, it can't be reversed, things need to be done and one of those is to see her.

      You would have got there, you just didn't want to be 'bumped' through the first couple of stages. People need to go through the thought process and come out at the other end.

    • Posted

      Wise words and very true.

      Ive been with DIL to see her. We also took the eldest son who wanted to see his grandma. We both thought long and hard. He said he wanted to see her so he knew she was dead! He wasn't upset and just said she wouldn't hurt anymore. My son, like my husband is concerned we took him. Will pm you later

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