Alcoholics

28 Jan

So I get the phone call to go and check on my relative who suffers from alcoholism, who verbalizes a wish to go to a detox center (again).  Me Nurse Jane with my never ending inkling of optimism and hope drive on over to pick up my relative with the intent of going to a detox center self paid.  I was not ready to detox my relative on my “couch” with a bottle of librium, folic acid, thiamine, multivitamin, bananas, and Gatorade like I just did last month. 

I get there, the place is a mess and there has to be at least 25 gallon or half gallon sized empty rum bottles, my relative can not talk, looks as though a stroke is taking place, and is covered in urine from head to toe.  My relative looks like an insane person.

If anyone ever doubts that alcoholismis not a disease, than they have never experienced it close at hand.  It is easy for those in the health care profession to become jaded, to give up, but it is easy to see the insanity, hard to feel compassion and hope. It is insanity. No one would “want” to keep doing the same thing over and over again. The sickness, the detox, the losing your wife, your car, your job, your mind, your family.

For the people caring for alcoholics the emotional drain can be great and is not to be underestimated. I include in this family members as well as those in the health care profession. The ED techs who keep these patients from falling, the nurses and doctors who “sober” them up before sending them out the door (if they are stable) and the EMTs who usually pick them up off the streets or out of their homes.

The bottom line is that drunks have to want to get sober. They have to get of the self pity train and on to the I am responsible train, and that is not easy for them. They have to relearn how to be a human again. One method that really seems to work is Alcoholics Annonymous.   I have not done the research as to why it works the best for alcoholics but it does. It is working through 12 steps, finding a sponsor, and helping other drunks get sober that helps others find and keep sobriety. Without this support it just does not work.

Unfortunately it was another trip to the ED because I could not possible get my relative to detox in that condition, and 18 hours later with a blood alcohol level back to acceptable levels my relative was released with some librium and we went straight to the detox center. Unfortunately it is only jails, institutions or death as the end point for alcoholics.

Anyway I will not give up hope!  There is always hope. People can get sober if they want to and when my relative is ready I will be there to help. There is always hope.

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One Response to “Alcoholics”

  1. rick January 31, 2009 at 05:57 #

    Nice post. It is true that we in the medical field often miss the other perspective of alcoholic patients.

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