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Old 04-29-2004, 09:28 AM   #1
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Banker HB User
Help w/Alcohol Detox

My grandmother was just admitted to the hospital for alcohol detox. We found out that my aunt (who is nuts) has been letting her drink over a bottle of scotch per day. She feel a few weeks ago and broke her collar bone because she was drunk. She's always had one or two drinks at night but since my aunt moved here to 'take care of her'... Well, she's been giving her tons of scotch and now all my grandmother does is just drink all day.

We called DHR for adult neglect and they came in and admitted her yesterday into detox. My question is, what do they give someone who is detoxing from drinking? She's in her late 80's and she's starting to get really bad with her memory, etc. She helped raise me and I'm really worried about her. What do they give her, what do they do? My heart is breaking for her. She doesn't even know what she's in the hospital for... My other aunt (remember, this is my mother's mother and my mom overdosed and died) so my other aunt told her she was being put in the hospital for them to monitor her heart... But my grandmother isn't stupid and I'm just worried about her. Can someone offer any info about this?

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Old 04-29-2004, 09:41 AM   #2
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kayleighsmom HB User
Re: Help w/Alcohol Detox

I'm so sorry to hear about your grandma, Banker! That's terrible. I hope the aunt gets a good lashing from the drs and other family members. I have no experience with alcohol detox, at all, but please keep us updated on how she does, k?

Hang in there and I'll send some positive thoughts and prayers for your family.


Old 04-29-2004, 09:43 AM   #3
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kayleighsmom HB User
Re: Help w/Alcohol Detox

OOps! Of course, I meant tongue lashing, not "real" lashing. Egads!

Old 04-29-2004, 11:15 AM   #4
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Twinlynn HB User
Re: Help w/Alcohol Detox

Banker - I'm so sorry to hear about your grandmother. Please contact the hospital's geriatric dept. (probably Geriatric Social Services) and arrange to discuss the situation with a Geriatric Care Manager--or whatever that specific hospital calls the position. At your grandma's age, her memory problems will have been greatly exacerbated by her drinking....and she needs a geriatric care person to unravel this whole situation. If you don't get satisfaction from the hospital--then call the Dept. of Aging--and ask for a list of Geriatric Care Managers. When my Mom developed dementia, the hospital linked us up with their Geriatric Dept. and had a Social Services person come to see us. They will put the entire problem together and act on it.

In the meantime, you can tell your grandmother that she hasn't been feeling well and needs some tests. Wish I could suggest more....but a geriatric care person will help get the situation under control. Please try not to panic and get too anxious...I know how much you love her and that you will do all you can for her. .xxxLynn

Old 04-29-2004, 11:46 AM   #5
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Re: Help w/Alcohol Detox

Lynn, thank you. We already have a case worker assigned to her case that I've been speaking with but she doesn't know much about the details of her medical care. All she told me was that she could not have visitors for the fist few days. I'm just worried that they are not giving her enough meds to help with the withdrawals and that she's laying there by herself, confused and completely in D.T.s... Very scary. So I should call the hospital and ask for who her geriatric doctor is? Is that what you would recommend? I wish someone could tell me exactly how they treat alcohol detox. If I knew she was comfortable and probalby sleeping, I would feel so much better. Anyway, thank you and I'll make the call. VERY depressed today. I think my PMS is turning into PMDD becuase it's just about debilitating. I want to go home, crawl in bed and cry all day. And I don't even start for another two weeks... each month is getting worse. I can't get any work done. I'm just miserable. I'm alone in every way... family, friends, boyfriends... you name it. I'm blessed that I have my childen. I just wish I was off of Suboxone and could be a normal person. Seriously, it's misery.

I haven't been exercising because I can't even take a lunch at work becase i've been so busy and maybe if I did this, it would help... It's hard to get back into the groove again. I only did it for a short time and I felt really good when I was doing it. I just hung up w/counselor and I'm going in at 3:00. Thank goodness...she really helps me. Anyway, I'm just so damn depressed I don't know what to do. Lynn, thank you for the information. I just wish I was normal so badly. Is it weird that since I didn't go to church on Sunday that I feel like I'm being paid back and that's why I'm so depressed? I have always had that feeling that if I don't do what I'm supposed to do, God is going to 'get me' for it. Is that insane?

Old 04-29-2004, 01:04 PM   #6
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Philster2003 HB User
Re: Help w/Alcohol Detox

There is a whole well defined alcohol detox protocol defined and one of the main ingredients is valium, lots of valium. Alcohol detox is dangerous and its good to have your Grandmother in a professional facility to help with this.

You can do a Net search and find all sorts of good info on the components and process for alcohol detox


Old 04-29-2004, 07:24 PM   #7
Join Date: Oct 2003
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Twinlynn HB User
Re: Help w/Alcohol Detox


I wish so much I could just give you a giant hug right now! You sound as if you coud use at least a dozen of them. :-) I finally got a second to come back on line--big crisis at work (not involving me, thank heavens)--but my boss forgetting she had an extra column to write by tomorrow. All this came up, just as I was reading your post--and answering it--so I was forced to go right off-line and help my boss out. So, I am so sorry I couldn't get back to you again until now.

Just a few points I wanted to say to you:

1. Your grandmother may be alchoholic--and certainly in need of detox--but she is also an elderly woman with the complication of memory loss. And just how much of the Scotch she's been drinking is contributing--or causing--her memory problems, is not something that can be answered immediately.

2. Your grandma might be experiencing the beginnings of dementia and memory loss--that started some time ago (pre-Scotch days) and is just becoming apparent. Some huge percent--like 50 % of the elderly, who reach 85 + years--will suffer from this. She needs to be evaluated once she has been through the detox program.

3. BUT---I can't begin to tell you just how many of the elderly become "confused," disoriented...and deteriorate while in a strange environment, like a hospital. When there is already brain cell loss, as there may be in your grandmother's case, hospitablization only contributes to the memory loss and distress of not knowing or understanding where she is. I am NOT saying this to frighten or panic you---this occurrence is inevitable, because almost EVERY elderly person becomes ill enough to require a hospital stay at some time--and any memory loss becomes intensified. My mother would go into the hospital (the geriatric ward)...and within 24 hours, become so helpless and disoriented from suddenly having her world changed, while she was aleady dealing with so much loss of her memory and reasoning powers. It was always shocking to me to see how fast it happened. Of course, once she was back home--she would begin to very slowly get back to "normal" again. But it required so much time and patience to reorient her back to her familiar world again. So, we tried to make certain that all her hospital stays were minimal.

3. A Geriatric Care Manager will know all this about the disorientation--and I believe will suggest that it is better for your grandmother' to see her loved ones daily and minimize the confusion and the memory loss. A woman in her late 80's with the possible beginnings of a dementia-relatedl illness, is not your typical detox patient--and the "Rules' may need to be changed in her case! But I'm not certain the regular staff of a Detox Center would actually call in a Geriatric

4. This is where it would be so helpful to get the attention of of a good Geriatric Care Manager, who can evaluate and supervise the recovery of your grandmother...NOT just for the alchohol problem...but for the "total care" needed, so that your grandma's needs can be coordinated between the hospital medical staff...and the Care Manager.

5. I am no authority on this detoxing situation--but do know how carefully an elderly person's care has to be balanced between her body...and her mind. It sounds as if you are taking those steps to help her out..and have started that process. That is just what she needs.

6. I am just as concerned, Banker, at how miserable you are feeling., YOURSELF! :-( First of all, you are under all this it is understandable. But, secondly, I worry so much that you are taking some of the posters' negative views on Sub (telling you that all you're doing is switching opiates) to such an extent, that you are feeling guillty about a drug that, as you say, has "saved your life." It is wearing you down listening to others whose physical chemistries--and whose adament anti-Sub philosophies--are so different from your own. And...because you are in a weaker emotional state right now, you are blaming yourself for doing the one thing that has made such a dramatic difference in your life--the Sub. Please try to believe in yourself and your knowledge that you did the right thing. Because you HAVE! The way you have changed your life is one of the bravest stories I have read here. And you KNOW you made the best decision for yourself. Look at all the other posters who agree with you every step of the way--and have their own miracle stories to tell about Sub.

7. You ARE normal--the Sub is letting you recover. You are such a strong person to have done what was necessary to turn your life around. Right now, it's your distress and tiredness talking. It is so "normal" to feel depressed with all the stress you are under with your grandmother, your boyfriend, and the strain of doing just what's right for your kids, etc, etc. You WILL come out of it. Just let the waves of the depression wash over you, knowing that you have been doing the right thing. There are just times in life that ARE depressing--no matter what choices we make.

You have helped yourself, your kids....and now you are helping your grandmother. PLEASE don't let other people's varying goals--and their ways to achieve them--affect your OWN. You always sound so wise....and so willing to help others through their problems. You WILL get past the depression...and you WILL feel more confident again.

Everything you have done is for the love of others....and God does not for a moment think less of your selflessness because you were not in a pew last Sunday. As far as I've learned about God's powers, your religion of love and helping others puts you waaaay up there in His estimation! :-)

Love, PLEASE keep us updated as much as possible about your gran....and YOURSELF! Banker, I would love to talk longer, but I am so, so tired from work today..and my eyes are actually closing as I write. So, I have to say good-bye for now...and I pray that you will be feeling better very, very soon.

xxx Much, much love to you, Lynn xxx :-)

Old 04-30-2004, 11:16 AM   #8
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Banker HB User
Re: Help w/Alcohol Detox

Sweetest damn post I've ever read. You are an angel. Thank you so much!!!

One quick note - the dementia has been going on a while and it's getting worse fast. I'm sure from the scotch but cannot imagine how she will be when she's off of it. Last time I saw her, she thought my kids were my sister's kids. Also, for almost two years now, she asks the same questions over and over again... Literally 2 minutes later, the same question. I cannot stand to see her like this and I've found myself backing away and I know that is so damn selfish. Anyway, we MUST talk later because you are right about this Sub thing and I'm seriously considering getting off... for several reasons and I don't think they are valid reasons but well, we'll talk more later on. Thanks again for your caring words. I know your experience w/your mother is going to help me w/my grandmother. To say thank you is an understatement!

Old 04-30-2004, 11:27 PM   #9
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howard678 HB User
Re: Help w/Alcohol Detox

Typically a regime of Valium or Phenbarbitol is given to alcoholics in detox to prevent seizures, ward off shakes, high blood pressure, other symptoms. Alcohol withdrawal is a piece of cake with the help of these sedatives. They are typically up and kicking in 5 days but for someone quite elderly the situation may be different. In any case, the biggest problem for alcoholics is not getting off but staying off. That is where AA can help.

Last edited by howard678; 04-30-2004 at 11:27 PM.

Old 05-01-2004, 06:28 AM   #10
Join Date: Oct 2003
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Twinlynn HB User
Re: Help w/Alcohol Detox

Hi, Banker - How is your gran today? Have you seen her? Yes, I think the Scotch greatly added to her disorientation. But if she's had the dementia before--ie, the constant asking of the same questions and inability to retain the answers--this will not just go away, even with her sobriety. I just want you to know that it is SO NORMAL to be frightened and feel unable to cope when a so-much-loved family member seems to be disappearing into a world that you cannot enter or understand. Your grandmother sounds so talented and so intelligent. And as the alchohol leaves her system, she may be more aware of the mental skills she is losing. All you can do then is just be there when you can...and try to reassure her over and over that she is "okay." At this point many hospitals get the person involved in out-patient programs, and, also, assess very carefully the patient's living surroundings, how much they are on their own, etc. etc. That is the point at which a program is usually put together. For example, your Grandma could attend painting classes.

Believe me.....when I first realized that the Mom I loved so dearly and had depended on so much for her love, her advice, her humor was slowly moving away from me... no longer able to be aware of my hopes, achievements, sorrows, etc...this was the biggest blow I'd ever dealt with. My whole world...and her whole world just changed. I wanted to run a grief, fear, loss, etc. And it was only after a period of letting this role-reversal with my Mom sink in, that I came to accept that now it was MY turn to do the "mothering."

For so long, I had such cruel dreams...where I'd realize my Mom's illness was just a "mistake"--and we were all back sitting around her kitchen table, talking and laughing and drinking pots and pots of her strong brew!!...but then, of course...I wake up!! :-( In a sense, I never stopped grieving over the loss of the Mom I knew....but the Mom I was now faced with, needed all my concentration....lots and ots of loving care and reassurance.

She was always aware that she was "losing her mind"--halfway thru her illness, she was able to describe what thhis loss felt like. She said "It's like holding butter in my hand...and slowly it begins to melt...and I just watch it slip through my fingers. And I can't hold on...." I never got over that she had that moment of extremem clarity in the midst of all that dementia--and had actually been able to verbalize the agony she felt. It was such a tough time for us all....but mostly, I know, for my Mom.

I think you will feel better when a longer-term plan is made for what to do when your grandmother comes out of the hospital. But you mustn't ever feel guilty about all the thoughts that will go through you. That is soooooo normal. You are not in a situation where YOU can care for her at YOUR home......(we had full-day aides for my Mom in the apartment we got for her, in our own apt building)...but you CAN give her your love...and patience. It's not an easy time....but you learn to accept that you cannot go back to an earlier time. And that, even if the dementia should get worse, there will always be a way of communicating with her, so that she knows you love her.

My Mom was such a independent person--but she'd always shown such kindness towards others--whether she knew them well or not. Even at the very end...when her mind was so far away..she would still do things like tell her aide "Listen, it's late now and you have a little one at home to take please go home and I'll be just fine!!") Well, she sounded so rational that the aide would come knocking on my or Alice's door and say "Your Mom says she doesn't need me, so I'll get going!" And Al and I would be screaming "noooooooo.......don't leave!!! She only SOUNDS okay!" :-) (Actually it was pretty funny at times!!) Anyway, even in her last few weeks, whenever a visiting nurse, or social worker would stop by to check on her, she would always say "thank you for coming...that's very nice. But I'm fine!")

I can't offer advice about your own meds, not having been on the sub or your other Rx's. But I will say, again--please do NOT go off Sub for the wrong reasons. All of us here on the board are "operating without a license" (unless there ARE some MD's on board!). So, we can speak only of what we know and what we've experienced in our OWN situations....but nobody is YOU...with your OWN personal medical needs. That's for your own doctor to talk to you about the pros and cons of what you are taking.

Your combination of depression with ADD must feel crippling at times...trying to hold such an important job plus run your family. I would suggest you ask the doctor's office to list you for any cancellations that come in before your June appt. Perhaps you can get to see him sooner. Just try not to feel overwhelmed by things (but of course you WILL! Who wouldn't?!? :-). But, one by one, you will deal with each difficulty...and you WILL feel better again, like you were so recently. Be sure to ask me any questions about dementia that may be bothering you. Also, there are some good websites.

My little baby, Theo, (all tubby 28 lbs of him) is stretched out half-under my bedroom dresser at the moment, looking like Scarlet O'Hara will his long wavy hair spread out around him! :-) He wants so badly to run and play....but when he tries--ie, shoves his ball into my lap--he just collapses. He can limp only about one block, before he has to lie down. It is so difficult to judge his pain level--he doesn't really show pain--but he moves as little as possible and is definitely depressed by his "new" body. I hope to schedule the surgery very soon. His "rehabilitation" period will be long (six weeks) and, I'm told, painful--so he will need painkillers (uh oh--Lhasas on Lortabs!!! :-) Also, I was told he'll need to be pretty immobile during that period, or the new synthetic ligament could snap. Soooooo. I will probably have to put him in his old puppy crate during the day when I'm at work. It's a large crate--room for food and water. I can put up with anything....except if he is in pain. So, I will refuse to take him fhome rom the hospital without very strong painkillers. A very knowledgeable dog person I know, said a friend's dog was in agony after that surgery...not enough pain management. But I won't let that happen with Theo. (And don't worry--I won't snoop in his medicine cabinet and sneak a few 'tabs!!! LOLOL!)

gotta run now. I'll be off and on-line as I get all my shopping done and go thru my list of dispicable chores!! Tomorrow is the big "Dog Walk for Cancer" and this is the very first time Theo will not be walking....and taking part in the agility sessions. I feel sooooo bad. He LOVES that walk. Each year we get a photo taken and made into a button of him and I grinning at each other. I'd take my little Celeste...but with her heart problems, it's just too much excitement for her. (Tho she would just LOVE checking out the butts of all those handsome little Pekes, Maltese, Shih Tzu lads, strutting their doggy stuff!!!)

Please write me and let me know what's going on, when you have a chance. lotsa love to you, Banker---and take care, xx Lynn xx

Old 05-01-2004, 07:43 AM   #11
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jorob HB User
Re: Help w/Alcohol Detox

Hiya Banker,

So sorry to hear what a difficult time you are having. It sounds like you certainly have your hands full! My sister is a rehab assitant on an alzheimer's unit in a nursing home, I don't know how she does it because it is so very sad for people going through that as well as their loved ones. I also have an employee whose dad, at 69 years old, is progressing very quickly into his alzheimers disease and it is very hard. He has become very sexual and devient in his disease and it's very embarrassing for the family.

Hopefully your grandma is in a good facility because it is very difficult to say what type of medications they will put her on. She has so many things going on at once that my guess is they will start with what they feel will help and then adjust along the way according to her behavior and comfort levels.

Somebody mentioned that you should call the psychiatrists office back and go on a call list for cancellations, I think that's an excellent idea. Good for you that you recognize that the medication isn't working and that you need some adjustments. You see, some people get in these situations and they just linger and don't recognize that they need some help or adjustments to their medications. However, since I have been on this board I have NEVER seen you display anything but courage and will to get better. You have never given up or wallowed in self-pity - do you even realize that?? I know that sometimes it takes other people to point these things out and then you go "you know what, they are right I am doing a good job". That's why it's so important to be on this board.

You are very loved and appreciated on this board and if you forget that, just do a search of every post you have put out here and you will see all the positive feedback people have put out there to you.

You're in my thoughts, I wish for you a day full of serenity.


Old 05-01-2004, 09:54 AM   #12
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Banker HB User
Re: Help w/Alcohol Detox

You guys are too kind. Kathi, thank you for pointing that out. I haven't thought about it and it does make me feel good. You're right about the fact that I do NOT like, enjoy or tolerate being depressed, miserable, etc. It didn't take me long to get over the ex (although, still miss him some) but I'm starting to talk to other guys... had a date last weekend and it appears that I'll have one next weekend (when I don't have the kids). It takes some patient men to date me since I don't allow them to meet the children early on. That means they only get to see me when I don't have them (which in reality, is not that much) but also, we can meet for lunch and stuff. Also, in the summer... the children will be gone longer than normal so that should give me some 'social' time which I desperately need. I think!

I've had a really bad habit of judging my own 'well being' on whether or not men think I'm attractive or whether someone is interested in me. I KNOW this stems from not having a father and needing that male approval. I had gotten better prior to me dating my last boyfriend and I'm trying to get things under control now. However, my counselor says 'you will never be alone'... It's just the type of person I am. I enjoy, crave people around me. Unless there is depression, and then it's a whole different story.

Anyway, both of you had a good idea but I've already done it. When I called the office to schedule the appt. and they said June, I told them to put me on the list. I asked on average, how much sooner could I get in and she said it just depends on how many are on it now. She's a great doctor but I'm scared of everything... I'm really scared that she's going to try and get me off of benzos. That would be like someone making me get off of Sub or an anti depressant. I'm a little nervous.

An example of how my anxiety hits --- I was on the phone the other day w/my boys dad and we were talking about my sons problems and the fact that he just got glasses and I'm really worried about how he's going to tolerate the 'teasing'. Although, he's an extremely popular kid (can you believe they have popular kids in 2nd grade???) but even his teacher said that EVERYONE wants to be with him. Anyway, hopefully that groundwork will assist him during this. Kids can be so damn mean. Then, my middle child is SO ADD it's not even funny. Well, his dad is in complete denial about it and doesn't want me to take him to his doc to discuss it. JUST to discuss it... I do not think he's hyper, but he is extremely ADD - he's exactly like me.

What's happening is he's always in trouble for acting impulsively or not completing tasks... talking in class... He cannot focus on one thing. Well, I have to be 'on him' all of the time and it's absolutely killing his self esteem which in my opinion, is making things worse. I don't want to have a child that truly believes he's a bad kid and that's where we are now... He needs help. My ex says that all I do is worry and that I need to calm down. He says I find things to worry about and obsess about until I end up driving myself crazy. If I got off of a benzo, I could not function. I could not drive on the interstate... therefore it would take me about 2 hours to get to work and 2 to get home. There are tons of things I couldn't do. K - enough about that. I'm just worried about it.

Also, worried about how in the hell they will treat depression, anxiety disorder and ADD as well as the addiction piece. Talk about dual diagnosis... Well, let's see, I guess I have quadrupal diagnosis. lol Not to mention the food issue - I'm starving myself then binging. (I don't throw up or anything) but it's just not healthy how i'm trying to lose weight. Maybe the depression is causing a lot of that too. But with all of these disorders... there is no telling what they are going to do as far as medication is concerned. Most of the time with ADD, they often prescribe a stimulant, which will only make me 1,000 times more anxious so it's like I'm just stuck with this.

Goodness, could I talk about myself anymore that what I just did? I'm really sorry. I can be so damn selfish and I do apologize.

Kathi - how in the heck are you feeling? I know you have got to be just absolutely miserable with your pain. Does the PT help with the pain or make it worse? Did you say it's just one knee or both? Surely you didn't have both done...??? How's your girlfriend? Is she helping more? How are the cravings? Have you made it to any meetings? I know that has got to be hard but how determined and strong you must be. It's amazing....

Lynn - my grandmother... SO SAD. I believe she now knows what she is in the hospital for because my aunt talked to her last night and my grandmother asked her if she had 'talked to anyone' and my aunt said 'Banker' :-) And my grandmother said 'did you tell her why I am here?'. It's the first indication that she knows why she is there and it just breaks my f'ing heart. If my other crazy aunt had not been here pouring the booze down her throat, she would not have to face this right now. It makes me so angry.

In addition - the dimentia is killing me and always have. I cannot stand elderly (and these are people I don't even know or am related to) that come to the realization that they are 'losing their mind'. I can't stand it. It must be the most horrible feeling in the whole world. To know these are your last days and that you get confused and I swear, it just tears my heart out. My grandmother is so sweet. Had it not been for her, no telling what would have happened to me growing up. She wasn't there all of the time, but sometimes she was. She's normal and seriously the most classy, intelligent lady in the whole world. Lynn, just like you said about your mother, she's always been so loving and caring for those around her. One thing that I have always been so dissapointed in is that she is extremely racist. I know it's her generation and that there is nothing I can do to make her stop being that way but it bothers me so badly. When I was in 8th grade, I was head cheerleader and when basketball season came around, she made me quit the team because she didn't want me 'cheering for those black people'. Can you imagine? Gosh, it was horrible. She stereotypes people terribly. But again, that's all she's ever known and it's just plain 'ole ignorance that most of the older southerners (you know, the ones that voted for George Wallace) have. But, can't help but love her still.

About Theo - Lynn... you need to go ahead and schedule this appt. I know it's misery on you and I know you are dreading it with everything you have but the sooner you do it, the better he will be. Seriously, I know how difficult it's going to be for you seeing him in pain, but you know (and I don't want to upset you) but his little pride is hurt right now not being able to do the things he knows he should be able to do. I truly believe that animals have a great sense of dignity and we want him to have that dignity back as soon as we can. If it's expense related as to why you are waiting a little longer, than I can completely understand that. There is no telling how much this surgery is going to cost but isn't it amazing how every dime will be worth it, and I know you know this more than anything.

Well guys, I'm sorry my post was so long. I didn't mean for it to be. I AM very thankful that all of you guys care so much about me and I appreciate it more than you know. Take care and keep in touch.

P.S. Lynn, long story here too but I believe my grandmother will not be allowed to return to her home since that's where my crazy aunt is and she's the one that's been feeding her the scotch. They are going to try to put her in assisted living as soon as she is released. It's odd to think about but I believe it's the best place for her. She will be able to make friends yet still feel somewhat independent. My other aunt is wanting her to come live w/her with a daytime sitter but that's just not a good idea as that aunt has no patience and as you know, it requires ALOT of patience to take care of an elderly person. Also, she has pain as well watching her go downhill and when she experiences pain, she get mad and it comes out toward my grandmother. I pray that the social worker will force the issue and make her go to assisted living. She makes enough money to be able to afford a nice place, according to the social worker. K - I've taken too much of your time anyway and thanks again for always being here for me.

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