My mother in law is suffering from a severe alcohol abuse related emergency. - AgingCare.com

My mother in law is suffering from a severe alcohol abuse related emergency.

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Hi. My partner's mother, in her late 50's was recently in short term psychiatric care for severe, closet alcohol abuse. She came home & relapsed, keeping how much she was drinking to herself, from her doctors & her 2 children. My partner had been doing wellness checks by phone & she was telling him she was okay. Then she didn't contact him for a few days. We found her the other day, collapsed on her bathroom floor for 2 days, she said. She is incontinent but functioning enough to clean herself, when not drinking. She was laying in her own feces. She begged to be given her medication & some time to sleep. She could not move on her own. It was very difficult to spongebathe her, as she was so stiff, shaking & losing memory of what happened. I tried my best, as I am disabled as well. My partner was very upset in tears, dazed. We made a big mistake about letting her sleep after we had cleaned her up, given her fluids, medications & managed to lift her on a blanket to a clean bed we made. She may have had withdrawal induced dementia, seizures. Hence her not being able to move. It looked like she was changing herself but was backing up the toilet & her soiled adult diapers, clothing was all over the bathroom. Feces all over the couch & bed as well. She may have been living like this for a week before she quit cold turkey, then eventually ended up on the bathroom floor. We couldn't let her stay home another day, so we called the ambulance. They were very rough about it. She is able to speak for herself in a manner that may suggest functioning abilities but she was never. She is now admitted to hospital. They didn't give my partner any info or diagnoses while he was there yet. This broke my Partners heart & he is quite depressed, blaming himself for not going over to check, over those days she was wandering her apartment, obviously detoxing very hard. We are hoping they call tonight or morning. He's going to try see if he can get off work for more days, but it's only a retail job. They don't have extended family emergency leave, I don't think. The apartment's contents is ruined. Her landlord has called to complain about the smell. We don't have much money or access to her finances to pay for a truck to dispose of the furniture. She is no condition to give consent for us, for a heavy duty cleanup. Her furniture, bedding is a loss. I'm not 100% mobile with my own epilepsy related pain. She only has her 2 kids & myself. No other family. I am struggling w/sadness, guilt & anger. She hasn't treated me well in the past. She was abusive to her children when they were small. Her son still loves her & is trying to take care of it. Do you think she could have had a stroke, heart attack or other serious energency? I feel that the hospital staff was maybe unsure to trust her recollection nor my partner's. She was really filthy, more than what could have happened in 2 days. She has a severe rash from her adult diapers. I could understand if it might look like neglect or a complete mental breakdown w/multiple personality. She kept fading in & out in her understanding of how serious danger she was in. I don't know what to think, what to say to her son to support him in this or how to clean her apartment. There is a factor of discrimination by the healthcare staff. She is a person of colour. High functioning Alcoholic for most her life. Family dysfunction compounding this situation. I guess we focus on clean-up, I guess? She cannot lose her apartment. She is on extended medical leave from her permanent position at a college. Her funds have not been clarified by her union. We have no room for her in our small apartment. I don't think I can take care of her with my disability when my partner is at work. Can anyone suggest any options? We are located in Canada. She has basic health insurance. :(

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The circumstances are beyond you and your partner.
Have her placed in rehab, court ordered if possible.
Ask the landlord to assist by calling the hazmat cleanup, and if he must,
start the eviction process.
Do not take her in, do not allow her to return home, do not allow her to be released without rehab.
She deserves a chance to get better and save her life.
Don't worry about what color she is, imo.
Sometimes hitting bottom is a good place to start over.
There will be services to help her if she is at the bottom. imo.

Maybe Canada is different.  Can you write to the cute guy up there in charge, get her some help?
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Biohazard waste disposal might be covered by home owners or rental insurance. 
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Oh my goodness! What a terribly stressful situation for all of you! My heart goes out especially to your partner. He was raised in a dysfunctional household with an alcoholic abusive parent. He loves her, and, no doubt, would love to earn some recognition that she loves him.

I have this message for him: This is Not Your Fault. Mother has mental health issues. You did not cause them and you cannot cure them. You are worthy of love whether your mother is capable of expressing that or not. You are doing your best. That is all you can do. That your best is not enough to overcome your mother's long-standing problem is Not Your Fault. Dealing with your mother's problems and your own distress and guilt feelings must feel overwhelming now. Please do not hesitate to arrange for some counseling for yourself -- not because there is something "wrong" with you that has to be fixed, but because you deserve all the support you can get, and a professional therapist has good supportive skills.

For both of you, I make this suggestion: Advocate for this woman. Try to see that she gets the care she needs. But Do Not take on day-to-day responsibility for her care. Love is great, but it is not all you need in this situation. It requires training and objectivity and resources.

Getting the apartment clean is a priority. You have no financial responsibility for the apartment (unless your names are on the lease) and apparently have no extra resources to handle it. I don't know how things work in Canada. Is there an agency for issues of aging and/or disabilities? I suggest you contact them for advice about options. Is there a central organization for charities? (Here it would be United Way.) Call that and find out if there is any organization that can help in this situation. If there is no central resource, call individual charities, such as Red Cross. I think you should have the apartment professionally cleaned, instead of trying to do it yourself. They may come in wearing hazmat suits and they will know how to protect themselves from contaminates in the apartment. (It would be like cleaning up after a sewer backup.) There are firms that do this. Your role can be figuring out how to get the funds for this.

You really want to hold on to this apartment. I understand that. But might your partner's mom really need to be in a care center of some kind? Perhaps she could eventually recover enough to live on her own, but consider the possibility she may not be able to return to her apartment now.

I'm sorry to hear there is discrimination by the healthcare professionals. I once took someone who had just attempted suicide into the hospital. The doctor treated him and kept him for observation, but his attitude was quite disdainful. The patient was not a person of color. The doctor was just disgusted that he attempted to take his life. I think that sometimes healthcare professionals hate to see self-destructive behavior, and many of them would consider alcoholism in that category. Of course, many are compassionate, and some are both compassionate and disgusted!

In any case, one thing you and your partner can do is be Mom's advocate and keep an eye on any discriminatory practices.

Please keep in touch here with how things progress. We care!
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Does the hospital know she is an alcoholic? That is very important and will make a difference in her treatment.

I would find a disaster mitigation company to take care of the cleaning and disposal of her apartment. They can Bill her.
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