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My mother is 65, an alcoholic (half a gallon of tequila and a fifth of vodka every few days) and she's always been very quirky, I guess, but now she is downright crazy. She had a stroke a few years back, and a few years after that she was diagnosed with narcolepsy (I think it's more like early onset alcohol-induced dementia, with some kind of neurological disorder that doesn't allow her to sleep well at night, so she falls asleep whenever she sits down during the day.) She takes a prescription methamphetamine to keep her awake, but she doesn't take it like she's supposed to (7 am and no driving after 4 pm.) She takes it late in the day, then is up all night long, banging around, cooking, cleaning, moving furniture, with no regard for the rest of us who are trying to sleep, or worse--she will leave the house. It also keeps her awake and drinking and drinking, when without it, she would be long passed out. I have wanted to leave so many times, but if I do, she will be alone and there's no telling what will happen. She has a really bad habit of taking in stray people who take advantage of her, steal from her, put her in dangerous positions, and just use and abuse her. What I don't understand at all is why she is so kind and giving and compassionate with total strangers who always turn out to be horrible people, while she does her best to push away anyone who is good and really cares about her. At home, she is crass, inconsiderate, selfish, and sometimes really mean and nasty. She has outbursts and meltdowns, and screams and cries. Usually over something like a glass left on an end table too long for her liking. She makes very poor decisions, and she's gotten herself in a lot of hot water financially (and says that it's okay, because her children can take care of it when she's dead.) She has osteoporosis, arthritis, tendinitis, and osteonecrosis of the femoral head in both hips. She is about to have two total hip replacements, and I will be expected to be her sole caregiver after the surgeries. I'm afraid it's just going to be too much. I have three small children. I am hoping that the doctor will see that she needs rehab for the drinking and just send her somewhere. I'm sure that's just wishful thinking, though. I know that she doesn't tell her doctors everything. Should I start telling her doctors everything? I'm afraid she would find out and hate me. What to do? How bad does it have to get before I can call for reinforcements? How do I know when to use the power of attorney and start making decisions for her? She is still her own person, free to be as crazy as she wants and make all the bad decisions she wants, and I just feel very uncomfortable with the whole situation. I know I will have to do something, but I don't know what I'm doing. I want to just run away. Please give me some good advice. Thank you so much.

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I am very new to this support group, so please pardon me if any of this has been said. I don't see a referral to Al-Anon for you. Alcoholism is a very painful disease for family to cope with, and as the caregiver you need all the support you can get to be happy no matter what your mom chooses to do. I agree the doctors and surgeon should know about the drinking as it can affect what types of pain mess are given post surgery. Alcoholics can be extremely selfish, even when not drunk, and are great manipulators. But you didn't cause this, so you can't cure it. If she won't admit to the problem, then there are consequences, and one of those is that if you are responsible for her safety after surgery, then you have a right and responsibility to tell the doctors. It's part of her medical history. My mother is schizophrenic but never tells doctors that. If I didn't, they could treat her in a way that turns out to be harmful. It's in your mom's best interest for honesty to be paramount. Not easy, I know, but necessary.
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The kids are actually doing very well. They love her and love spending time with her. She isn't mean to them. Just me, and that's at night after they've gone to bed. They think she's awesome because they only know the happy drunk teenager-like grandma. The mean drunk comes out late at night, when she's had way too much and should be sleeping.
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Hip replacement isn't for sissies - or falling down drunk alcoholics. Are you familar at all with what the recovery process entails? If not - you need to educate yourself on it. There is a high risk of popping the new hip out of socket until the muscles, tendons and tissue knit up to hold the joint in place. This risk is quite lengthy time-wise. No bending at the waist, no sitting at a 45 degree angle. It requires a special type of toilet seat with grab bars to name just one accommodation. Then there's the physical therapy - learning how one is suspose to go up and down steps, daily exercises etc. Frankly, I'm wonder if your mothers Doctor really understood the level of her drinking - whether he would even do the sugery. And of course there is the matter of taking prescription pain medication and drinking alcohol - weeeeee! If you really want to do what's best for your mother - call her doctor - make an appointment to see him alone or even do a phone appointment. Be brutally honest with the dr regarding all aspects of your mothers behaviors but if nothing else make sure he has a full understanding regarding the booze. Then - get you and your children out of her toxic house. At a minimum you are enabling her behavior. And worst case senerio - you may be irreparably harming your children.
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I am working on moving next door to her, so I can take care of her but not be under the same roof. It will be a few more months before that happens, though. And she will be having her first surgery very soon.
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Are you able to move out? It's not a good situation for you or your family. Tell the doctors what goes on at home behind closed doors. Doesn't matter if she gets mad, it's the truth if she is a drunk. But find a way to get out of her house and have her pay all the bills associated with her house.
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This is not a good situation for your children! Would it be possible for you to move out?
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Document the fact that she's an alcoholic with the surgeon.

She will be in the hospital for a few days after the surgery; she will then be transfered to a rehab facility for intense PT; does she realize that she's going to have to REALLY work at the PT while in rehab for several weeks?

Make sure she goes to see the rehab facility where she will be staying so she can see other patients in actions, get familiar with the machines and the therapists.
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I and my children are staying with her. She owns her house. The electricity is in her name and water, phone, cable and internet are in my name. There is no house note. I do have siblings, but they don't or can't help. She is supposed to have one hip replacement, heal from that, then have the other one. They said she will be in the hospital for a couple of days after each surgery. They said that they worry about falling, and I told them that she does fall sometimes because she gets super drunk. I did tell them that she is an alcoholic, but it was just in a phone conversation with a nurse when we talked about the falling. She will tell them that she falls because of "narcolepsy," but every fall I know of has been due to drunkenness.
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Tell us about the living arrangements. As CTTN55 says, that does make a difference in your options.

But one way or the other, her doctor MUST know about her alcohol consumption before she has surgery.

And you MUST NOT be her sole or even primary caregiver when she returns from surgery.
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Do you live in her house, or does she live in yours? Who pays the household bills?
You write "her children," so I'm assuming you have sibs? Where are they in all of this? If they aren't in the picture at all, then why are you the one who has to deal with everything?
Won't she have to go to rehab after the double hip replacement?
If you own the house, then you can tell the medical people that she can't be released to the house, as you cannot care for her. But if your mother owns the house, it will be different.
So tell us more details.
I will say that you owe your three young children more than you owe your mother at this point, particularly since she made choices that have put her in the position she is now in.
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LAmama If mom is alcoholic make sure it is in his medical records. A friend of mine, an alcoholic had a bone infection, osteomyelitis, alcoholics are more likely to develop all sorts of medical problems. This friend was treated for the osteomyelitis with intravenous antibiotics. Because of liver damage the antibiotics were not processed correctly. He became septic, went into septic shock, and died at the age of 54. He had not told medical staff he was alcoholic. So make sure this is in your dad's records so he is appropriately treated.
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Expected to take care of her after a bilateral hip replacement? Says who?

Take Rainmom's advice and send her surgeon a certified letter outlining how much your mother drinks and stating thatyou will not be available for careging after her surgery, that other arrangements will need to be made.
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You must tell her doctor about her drinking. Not to scare you but this is what happened to my sister-in-laws father. He was a drinker but his adult children had no idea how bad it had become. He lived alone and owned his own business repairing large comercial vehicles like garbage trucks. He had several employees and the business was doing well. Then her father had a fall that landed him in the hospital- broken arm mainly. He was only expected to be there a night or two. He did not tell his doctor or any of the nurses that he was an alcoholic. Naturally without any alcohol he began to detox - had a heart attack and passed away. He was in his early 60's. So - better to have your mother mad at you than the possible alternative.
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