View Full Version : Frustrated with alcoholic brother and his doctor

07-15-2009, 04:42 AM
New here. I am so frustrated I don't know what to do anymore. My brother is an alcoholic-he's 58 and been drinking for 30+ years. He moved away from NY where we live to FL and then to MS years ago. He would visit once every 3 or 4 years. He has quite a variety of "stories" of places he's been and worked. Pretty much a drifter. He used to be the sweetest guy. I guess he still is deep down, but now he just turns my stomach when he's around which has been every weekend for the past 3 months. He stays at my sister's during the week. All he does is drink beer-which we do not buy for him-and watches TV and passes out. My dad was an alcoholic and we did not have a very good childhood, so when my brother drinks it just makes me nauseous from the smell and from watching him stagger around.
He called my sisters and I about 3 months ago and said he was sick and needed to go do the dr and be near his family. He just got laid off from his job there and had no money-pretty much homeless. So my sisters and I told him we'd send him $ for the bus ticket here even though we all knew deep down we did not want him living with any of us but we knew we could'nt live with ourselves if we turned our backs on him. So now he's here.
He's been doing some odd jobs for my sister and she pays him-not much for what he does. He smokes also-alot. So she has been buying his cigarettes. We've tried giving her money towards it but she refuses. She's single and lives alone. She really doesn't need the worry of having him there.
We took him to apply for Medicaid for health insurance. They sent him a letter requesting him to apply for disability/drug/alcohol rehab. He refused to fill it out because he says he's not disabled. So here we are trying our best to help him out and he is just not getting it. He did have a colonscopy thru a free clinic about a month ago which they removed 2 polyps. He had to do it without anesthesia because he drank beer-yes beer-the morning of his procedure!!! How dense can you be?!!! So he went back to the dr yesterday because he has a VERY distended stomach. I am sure it is ascites from his liver. He is a very small man and his stomach is huge! He keeps saying there's something wrong because he can't eat much-he only eats supper. In the morning its 2 cups of coffee and then beer the rest of the day. So my sister just told me this morning that the dr gave him a prescription for Prilosec-for the bloating!! YOU HAVE GOT TO BE KIDDING ME!! He's to take it for a month and see if it helps. If not they will take a scope down into his stomach to have a look. So he's either lying to the dr or covering up and lying to us-although I don't know how a dr could look at him and smell him and not know he's an alcoholic. OR
the dr is putting him off because he has no insurance. I'm really at the point where I just want to wash my hands of him, but I don't want to put him out in the street and I don't want my sister to end up with all the burden because that's what she would do. She's already got enough problems of her own.
I know about AA because my dad joined years ago and it helped him so much, but my brother I have to say is worse than my dad ever was and I know my brother's mindset is that he doesn't have a drinking problem. He is so far gone mentally. I know the first step is for him to admit he has a huge problem but he won't. My husband even tried talking to him one morning while I was still sleeping when my brother was complaining about his huge stomach and lack of appetite. My husband told him point blank maybe he should try to cut back on the beer and see if that helps. He agreed, but hasn't cut back. If anything he drinks more. Sorry such a long post, but I don't know where else to turn. I'm glad I found this thread. It's good just to get it out.

07-15-2009, 07:21 PM
So sorry to hear about your brother and the situation your family is under. Unfortunately there really isn't anything you can do for your brother. I'm sure that you know that alcoholism affects the whole family, and probably the best thing you and your sister can do is take care of yourselves. Have you or sis been to an Al-Anon meeting? You should definitely try that. You will get some wonderful help there.

Good luck

07-16-2009, 07:00 PM
Thank you so much for your response. I have checked into the Al-Anon meetings in our area. I am really going to try to get my sisters to go. If not, I'd still like to go. I know he needs to do this himself. We can't do it for him. My sister said yesterday morning he was drinking coffee when she got up so she went and sat with him and he broke down and started crying. He said he was afraid to die. This was before he went to the dr with her. This is TOTALLY not him. He's always been so easy going and seemed to just not let anything bother him. I think maybe he's come to grips that he's not getting any younger and that maybe, just maybe, his body is trying to tell him enough is enough. I sure hope that it's nothing as serious as cirrhosis, but he has so many of the symptoms. The bruising, blood in his stool, loss of appetite, distended belly, tired all the time. My sister did say that the dr asked him if my brother had gotten the Medicaid ins. yet he applied for. The dr. also said that they would do more tests once he got the ins. in place. It's just so frustrating to have to wait because I know he's not feeling well. He just doesn't talk about it much, but when he's here, I can hear him at night sort of moaning in his sleep. I just pray it's not too late, and something can be done for him.
Thank you again for your input. I really do appreciate it. It's just good to have someplace to come to even if it's just to vent. Keepin' the faith...Dawn

07-17-2009, 12:22 AM
If your brother is experiencing distention of his abdomen (acities), not eating, in pain, and moaning and groaning in his sleep, he is probably in the later stages of alcoholism. When his stomach becomes large, it needs to be drained, as the fluid can become septic (poisonous) to his body. He is likely malnourished, a common alcoholic condition. He likely has cirrhosis, possible pancreatitus, edema, jaundice, and high blood pressure.

At this point your brother is quite ill, and eventually it will go to his brain, and kill him. He needs medical treatment, and likely qualifies for state aid. Although he may not be able to follow all the steps necessary to apply for aid, a family member can do it for him. It might take a visit to the emergency room to get the ball rolling. All you need are some blood work results to get a diagnosis of liver disease, and he's on his way.

I know how hard this is, but I went through it with a friend, and I am proud to say...it was worth it. I wish you the best.

07-17-2009, 04:32 AM
Thank you Writeleft for your response. According to what my brother says, his blood work for his liver came out ok. I don't understand how this could be if it's his liver. Maybe its a coincidence he has all these symptoms but it sure seems like thats what it is. Then again maybe he's not telling us the whole truth or he's just not understanding the dr. I am praying for him constantly and hope that he will stop drinking if it's not already too late. Thanks again for your response. Keepin' the faith...Dawn

07-17-2009, 04:51 AM
Yes this is very dangerous, I had an uncle that was an alcoholic and ended up screwing up good marriages and lived w/ his sister (which was my mom), my mom lost a good marriage also because she chose her brother over her husband because her husband refused to support his habit when he is not working....<My uncle died from alcoholism> He was my favorite uncle, set aside his drinking that none of us liked, but even love couldn't save him.....

It is so hard when you can see all the bad w/ someone you love and you can't help because they won't accept it....Hopefully Love will work this round and hopefully things will better for this family....

07-17-2009, 11:41 AM
Yes alcoholism often involves denial, lying, sneaking, hiding, and stealing. This is part of the illness, because without the alcohol the person becomes sick. It is a very painful thing to watch, especially when the person is beloved, and can't, or won't help themselves.

My friend has to go to the emergency room every so often to get his abdomen drained. He is strapped on a tilting table, a "plug" is stuck in him, and the liquid drains into bottles. The last draining yielded 10 liters of fluid! Because his veins are impossible to get an IV into, his IV is inserted into his neck. After several of these procedures, he decided he hated the hospital, and would not return.

I am so sorry you are going through this. It is really hard.