The story continues …
As you probably won’t remember our conversations from the last couple of days I have decided to put these and what has happened over the last few days in a letter. Hopefully you will read and possibly reread what I have put down. You seem to be suffering from lack of memory any way, so this will help you to remember.
Tuesday 2nd May
Last Tuesday afternoon I rang you only to hear that you were expecting the doctor to arrive. Most people would be worried to hear this in its self, as usually most children are as concerned for their parents welfare as their parents are for their own. You told me that your ‘dizziness’ had become much worse than usual and you were hoping the doctor could do something for it. I asked you to phone me when the doctor had been to let me know what he had said.You phoned me back just before I left work and said that the doctor had arranged for the chemist to drop you down a prescription for a possible inner ear infection.
You also told me that the doctor told you that on no account were you to drive your car! I was dubious that it was an ear infection as you have been suffering this dizziness for some time now. I was happy with your answer and told you I would speak to you the next day.
Wednesday 3rd May
I rang you to ask what you wanted to do that evening as you know we have the routine of seeing each on a Wednesday evening, sometimes to have a takeaway or go out for something to eat. You seemed better Wednesday lunchtime when I phoned you, but you were then unsure as to whether you wanted to go out or stay in. You told me you had been out in the car to pick up your prescription from the chemist. I said that you had told me that the chemist was supposed to have already dropped the prescription down to you. You told me that the chemist had only given you one tablet. I thought this strange at the time, but gave you the benefit of the doubt – in other words I believed and trusted you. You broke that trust. I asked you to ring me before 5.00pm that evening to let me know if you wanted me to bring fish and chips around or for us to take a run in the car to get them. You said you would, but didn’t. I went home with my husband and not long after I got in, I tried phoning you. I must have tried about 6 or 7 times, but no answer. I told my husband that I was going straight round to see you as I suspected the worst had happened.
Not quite, you were not dead. I tried ringing the door bell a couple of times and then went around the back of the house. The window was open. I went back around the front and looked more closely into the lounge. I could just see your arm and head as you were lying on the floor.
I ran across to your neighbour and told him you were lying on the floor and I did not know what to expect. I feared the worst. You will never know what goes through someone’s mind when they think their mum might be lying dead on the floor. He came across with me and helped me through the window. We ran into the lounge and both saw you lying on the floor. You were lying face down in a very strange position with your legs crossed up against the door frame. I thought you had broken your back or neck as you could not move by yourself. When we spoke to you, you started moaning saying that your arm was broken. At this point I still did not realise you had been drinking.
I immediately called 999 for the ambulance to come. You were saying ‘Don’t get the ambulance’. They arrived within what seemed about five minutes. One of them at that point smelled the alcohol and asked you if you had been drinking. The blood in my veins froze. I could not believe that you had had a drink after a supposed 16 months of sobriety. I wish I had had my camera to show you what a state you were in. The two paramedics, neighbour and myself managed to get you on to the pouffe. Your legs were all bent and you could not stand.
Three times you told us you wanted to go home! You were home, except you did not know this was where you were. I started to lock up the house, all the time looking for the cats to ensure that they did not get locked in. As I was looking for them I saw the empty quarter litre whisky bottle between the sofa and the armchair. I don’t think it was even the brand that you usually drank. Thinking back, you must have gone to get the whiskey Wednesday morning before you spoke to me, but then you were lying to me again weren’t you?
I snatched the bottle up and showed it to both the paramedics and the neighbour. I pushed past them and rammed the bottle into my glove compartment hoping it could be used in evidence or something later. (I was to retrieve it and leave it with you on the Friday as I left). At that point I was working on adrenaline and sheer anger was driving me forward. I went with you in the ambulance and one of the paramedics was asking lots of questions, luckily one of us could answer them. He could see from my face and by the way that I spoke that I was furious.
We got to the hospital and you were connected to a heart monitor etc and you were moaning loudly due to the pain of the suspected broken arm. At one point, I even told you ‘Suffer it, you brought this on yourself’. You kept saying ‘what about my cats’ and ‘I want to go home’. I told you to shut up several times. You were making things much worse for me. You were eventually given morphine for the pain and you were taken for an x-ray. As I was sitting outside waiting for you, a woman who was sat with her two children asked me what was wrong. I said you had a suspected broken arm. She asked why you looked so drugged up. Do you know, I thought about this for a second or two. You know I had two answers forming in my mind. Do I tell her the truth that I had just found my mother lying blind drunk unable to get up by herself or do I say that the morphine she has just had for the pain relief has just affected her.
I decided to lie for you and told her it was the morphine. I decided that this was the last time I would lie for you or your alcoholic escapades. Had the two children not been there, I know my answer would have been the former. I waited there in that hospital for 3 ½ hours. You did have a broken upper arm. You kept telling me to go home. You did not and don’t realise that when you are taken into hospital with the person who called the ambulance, this person has to make all the decisions and bide by the hospital rules. This meant that I had to wait and see if the doctor would accept you into the orthopaedic ward for the night. I prayed this would be the case.
They asked me if you had someone to look after you if you went home that night. I said no. They also asked me if you could go home with me. I said no. I had picked you up from these alcoholic traumas all my life and did not want to continue on that course. I wonder now why I helped to save you that time you took the overdose, only to see you continue on this self-destructive path. I was eventually told you could stay. My heart leapt. It meant I could go home to my husband, the one good constant person in my life. It also meant I did not have to worry about you and that you were being looked after by somebody else. I did not have to worry for a few short hours/days. At that point I did not know how long you would be in hospital. I did not eat that evening as by the time I had got to your home and seen to your cats it was quarter past eleven at night.
I did not visit you again in hospital. I had made up my mind at that point what I was going to do.
Friday 4th May
You phoned me Friday morning saying you were allowed home. You said ‘I don’t suppose you can come and pick me up can you? Oh no you are working’. I think the penny dropped as to what kind of situation you now found yourself in. I told you to get a taxi. You said you had no money. I told you that you would have to get the money when you got home. I also told you that your key was with your neighbours. You said ‘Bye’ and put the phone down. You phoned and left message on my work answer phone saying you could not get an answer from the neighbours. I phoned you back and you told me that you couldn’t be picked up until 1.00pm – my lunch hour. You were even selfish enough to ask me to pick you up two packets of cigarettes, which like a fool I did. You do not know now how that made me feel.
In fact I wonder if you can sympathise with anyone. I told you that I would pick you up outside the side of the hospital. You eventually came down in a wheelchair and looked like death. I took you home and explained all what I have written in this letter. I told you that you were lucky it was on one of the days I was seeing you. I also told you that had it been three days or more the cats would begin to be very hungry and would start looking for alternative food sources. Yes you. If you were dead they would turn to your own flesh for food. I am not sure you believe this, but it is fact. As I told you at the beginning of the letter that you probably won’t remember our conversations from that afternoon, so I have made it easier for you.
I stayed with you for about an hour and you told me I was going to be late back to work. I told you to think about this and that it was not my fault if I was going to be late back to work. I also told you that I had arranged ‘meals on wheels’ to visit you. You told me several times that you did not want them.
How much more selfish can you get mum. I told you that it was not for your benefit, but for mine. I said that ‘I was not doing anymore running around for you.’ I needed to know that you would get at least three or four hot meals a week from a regular source for at least a couple of week whilst your arm recovers.
You have not been bothering to cook for yourself recently have you? You usually survive on cereal, soup and toast. How do you think this makes me feel that you are ‘surviving’ and not ‘thriving’ as you should now be. This is the problem mum, you do not think about the consequences of anything before you say or do anything – it is always about you. You told me not to tell your sister and brother-in-law as you could not bear what you call their ‘nagging’.
Well this ‘nagging’ as you call it is the sound of concerned people. You forgot in your drunken state that you spoke to your sister on Wednesday afternoon so they knew even before me. Your best friend who was diagnosed with cancer was so concerned about you too that she rang your sister to see if they had heard from you as she was used to seeing you on a Thursday afternoon. Yes mum, count the people up till now who you have hurt and had worrying about you. This is not to mention the inconvenience to the hospital staff who incidentally deal with drunken cases all the time, so it is now just run of the mill to them. At this stage I have not mentioned my brother who did not know anything until I phoned him on Thursday evening. He is at a disadvantage as he can’t just call round to see if you are OK because he lives away from us.
Saturday 5th May
I take time to go and get you some basic shopping items and spend time choosing some easy meals like tasty soups and ready to heat meals that I think that you will like to eat. I spend an hour with you wondering if you really are appreciating my company. I have already said that I doubt that I am being a good daughter to you, yes you really have me wondering this. You told me that I was the perfect daughter. I cannot see this as I am fast becoming numb to this and acting out of duty rather than the love I should feel.
Sunday 6th May
I phone you to see if you are OK and to see how you are coping. You tell me the nurse has been again. You also tell me that the next door neighbours have warmed up the soup I brought for you. You say how kind they are, you do not know them well. I say yet two more unsuspecting fools playing a part in your life. The merry-go-round continues…
Monday 7th May (Bank Holiday)
The phone rings at 9.30 am. It is you telling me you can’t get dressed. You ask me if I was still in bed. I was. You say sorry. But are you really sorry mum. I get some tea-bags and a paper for you and bring it round. You have not eaten anything since the soup yesterday afternoon. I ask where two of the meals are I brought for you are and you tell me that you have put them in the freezer. What bloody good are they in there? I ask you if you have given up? You tell me no. I am beginning to wonder…
Yes you have done very well to remain sober for 16 months, but I hope that the events over the last few days will show you that you cannot drink again. I have spoken to my brother in depth about how we feel. We have both decided that if you drink again we will cut off all communication with you. You will be on your own. The problem is that if something like this happens again and we are not there to help, everyone will say ‘Poor woman, even her own children weren’t around to help her.’
They will think we must be bad evil people, but you know that is not true. You will be OK as you will just be the poor alcoholic who died on her own. So there you have it, the decision is yours.
I have phoned the doctor and made an appointment for you to go and see him. He has suggested I bring you. He will do tests on your ears for the ‘dizziness’ and is going to suggest you get some memory tests undertaken. I suspect that you have the early onset of alcoholic dementia, but we will wait for the professional diagnosis.