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Providing non-judgmental and non-criticizing support for family and friends of end-stage alcoholics through one-on-one coaching, support groups, blog posts, workshops and public speaking.

Sunday, April 15, 2012

It's the little things...

I had received some e-mails about malware due to a link on the blog. I’m very sorry to say that I have removed the links to the blogs that I follow. I’m hoping this is only a temporary situation. What I can do is list them rather than link them. I want to apologize to all my fellow bloggers that I can’t provide the link at this time. I appreciate your support and I will attempt to correct the situation as soon as possible.

Eventually the entire blog will be moved to my new website at
www.immortalalcoholicswife.com . You can go take a peek, but it still really is just a work in progress. I still need to add a “comments” and “forum” section. But, so far, I think it looks pretty good for creating it all on my own. I welcome suggestions and constructive comments.

Since my little vaca, I’ve been feeling pretty good. I suppose that means that I’m feeling that I’m keeping things under control. But, I never feel that anything is really CONTROLLED. The more appropriate word would be MANAGED. I’m managing things fairly well these days. I’m getting things checked off my long-term TO DO list while keeping the day-to-day chaos at a minimum.

Riley has been more… ummm… cantankerous since I’ve been back. He’s always more difficult when I return from an overnight, but this time he’s even more so. It seems he wants to test me to see if he can get me to say or do something contrary to my standards. He particularly enjoys it when I am yelling and screaming. It makes him feel superior because he takes pride in his passive aggressive quiet voice.

For example, he loves NCIS, but yesterday he told me he didn’t want to watch it anymore because he’d seen them all. I said something about watching some other cop show programs. I said that JAG was still on and I could find it for him so he could watch it. In a very indignant voice he told me that I wasn’t going to stop him from watching NCIS. HUH??

It’s the little things. Even though Riley doesn’t drink coffee, every night he sets up the coffee pot for the next morning. I ask him not to because some days I just would rather have a cup of tea. He refuses to let me take care of my own morning go-juice. I buy a variety of coffee creamers so I can switch them off. He insists I use one bottle until it’s totally gone before I open another. For the most part, I just go with the flow. I drink the coffee and use the open creamer because I know that there will come a day when he forgets to set up the coffee pot at night. I know eventually he will not keep track of anything in the pantry or frig because he will be, essentially, a walking zombie.

Our visiting nurse (a miracle worker in my opinion) has managed to get Riley to cut back on his consumption. He’s still downing close to a liter a day, but not more than that. Before the nurse, he was drinking a liter or more each and every day. Now the 2 liter bottle last about 2 and a half days. The end result is that he is slightly more aware of what’s going on around him.

It’s a mixed blessing, really. The more unaware he is, the less friction there is about how things get done. The less likely he is to question my decisions. But, without the extra booze, he has a longer moment of clarity in the mornings. I appreciate having a semi-normal conversation with him while I drink that first cup of coffee. He doesn’t fall as much. On the other hand, the driving his car issue is more heated and he is more determined to find a way to outwit my efforts to keep him from driving.
For me, whether he drinks more or less really doesn’t matter to me. That is – unless he wants to stop drinking altogether and that is extremely unlikely. I would support him in that if I knew he was serious – but – the best predictor of future behavior, etc., etc. It’s just a waiting game. In two weeks the nurse will stop coming (unless a miracle happens) and we will be back to where we were a month ago.

On Monday, we have an appointment with a cardiologist and the docs physician assistant. I turned to this heart doc when the primary care doc told me “every alcoholic is healthy enough for detox.” Dr. White, the cardio, is my heart doc and he is well versed with the conditions inside my home. He is also familiar with alcoholism. Since our visiting nurse has expressed concern over Riley’s erratic heart beats, I thought it was time for us to go this route. Riley has had an echocardiogram and has had the 24 Holter routine. The results will be reviewed on Monday.

The goal for this upcoming appointment is to create a plan of action that will provide safety for both Riley and I. I don’t know exactly what that will look like. Maybe Dr. White will be able to continue the visiting nurse for a while longer. Maybe he will suggest immediate detox and long term care. I just don’t know what he is going to say. But, I know that whatever he says, having a concrete plan will be a relief.

I was surprised that Senator Burr’s office contacted me within a day of my phone call. I thought it would take weeks, but instead I was contacted by one of his aides, John Mitchell, while he was commuting home on a Friday evening. I was impressed and even more so when he gave me his cell phone number and said I could use it even on the weekends. Mr. Mitchell told me that his office has the power to make sure the VA paperwork is expedited and they are willing to do that for us. A few days later, I was contacted by the “Constituent Advocate”, Eric Wilson, from the Wilmington Office. He sent me a form to fill out allowing him to discuss Riley’s case with him. I’ve faxed back the paperwork and am waiting for a return call.

In my opinion, the best plan for Riley is to be able to keep him here at home with a personal aide to help with his care. I’ve been told it is not IF the VA comes through, but rather WHEN the VA comes through. That would allow me to do what I think is best for Riley. Dr. White may not agree. He may think waiting around for the VA is too risky because it may take too long. Monday will prove to be an interesting day.

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