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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 1, 2012

My wife doesn't understand me...

We have a visiting nurse named Janet. It appears she may be a miracle worker. Each week she comes to our house and monitors Riley’s condition. All of her visits include suggestions to Riley that he cut back on his consumption. I expect that her words are falling on deaf ears as Riley doesn’t want to cut down.

Last week the package store was out of the large size bottles of vodka, so I bought him the next size down. These bottles are less than half of the large bottles, so I bought twice the number of bottles. That turns out to be less the amount I would usually buy. When I returned home I pointed out to Riley that it will be very easy for him to keep track of how much he drinks with the smaller bottles. Since he’s been drinking half of a large bottle, maybe he could try to just drink ONE of the smaller bottles a day which amounts to less than usual amount.
To my surprise, Riley agreed. He said – “Well, Janet DOES want me to cut down, so this would be good.” When Janet arrived, he told her he was only going to drink one of those bottles a day. She praised him and told him that would be much better for him.
Yesterday, when I got up I checked the vodka supply. He had drunk only one-half of one of the small bottles on Friday!! I checked the garbage can and found no empty bottles. So he had cut back remarkably since he said he would. I was very proud of him and made sure I told him so. I pointed out that if he could keep that up, I may not have to put him into long term care.
Then I asked if he might consider taking better care of his butt issue. He agreed to take better care to keep it clean and dry. I’m hoping that the lack of alcohol may make it easier for him to comply. This morning he reported that he was no longer having any pain in that area and that he’s been trying to do exactly as the nurse advised.
 We only have a few visits left with Janet. I truly wish there were some way she could keep coming at least every week. I don’t know why Riley has responded so favorably to her. I don’t really care about the “why”. I’m just happy she has gotten through even if it is only temporary.
I suspect that Riley may have a crush on her. She is very attractive and she is also very married. That probably sparks Riley’s romantic interest. That’s exactly the kind of woman he has chased after in his less drunken days. He actually told her, while I was in the room,  that he wanted me to go away so he could be with her. She asked him what he had to offer her. I could tell that he was not going to say what he wanted to say – which would have been crude. Instead he said that she understood him and I didn’t. Oh!! He used the old “my wife doesn’t understand me” line!
Janet and I always have a little “meeting” as I walk her to her car. This time we were almost rolling with laughter as we talked about Riley being smitten. I was happy she was not offended by Riley’s words. And I was happy for the humor it brought to the situation.
If it takes Riley desiring a woman to stop him from drinking so much, even just for a short time, then I’m all good with that. I know that it is short-term. When Janet stops coming around, he will forget the promises he made to her and resume his previous drinking habits. I know he will blame me that she isn’t coming around anymore. I’ll be the bad person. I can take it. I’m used to it.
With Riley cutting back, two major projects completed, and the landlady’s semi-annual inspection over with, I was able to actually relax yesterday. We had thunderstorms, which I enjoy. I cuddled onto the sofa with my favorite throw and flipped through the television guide looking for some mindless entertainment. I drank hot chocolate with lots of whipped cream and throw the ball down the hallway for Jade to chase. I napped on and off. Both, Riley and I, snacked on yesterday’s fried chicken and mac and cheese, so I didn’t have to cook. Riley was quiet all day and only fell a couple of times.
Yesterday was a good day. I woke up this morning feeling rested and I found myself in a great mood. Riley joined me in my office with a part vodka/part coffee cup. His memory is very weak and I showed him houses that I had showed him yesterday. We had the same conversations this morning as we have had on previous mornings. This will be a fact of his life for the rest of his life. He has so damaged his brain that he will never be totally able to remember from day to day.
My hope is that Riley will continue to cut back on his drinking or at least stay with the half of the smaller bottle a day. If that happens, I might be able to keep him with me and be able to get a part-time personal aide for him once the VA application is approved.
I have been assured the VA app WILL be approved, but the question the percentage at which he will receive benefits. Since I’ve gathered all the civilian medical records myself and organized it into a neat package, I’ve cut off months from the application process. In previous years, it could take as much as a year (or more) for an application to be approved. Recently there has been a big push to get the applications processed faster. Currently, the average application is either approved or denied within six months.
As for my talking to Senator Richard Burr (not Barr as I previously wrote), I was so busy on Friday that I did not call. I did send an e-mail to his office and requested that he call me or meet with me. That will not stop me from calling on Wednesday (a less chaotic day for me). I want to make sure I have all my thoughts in order when I actually talk to him. My primary goal is to see if I can get Riley evaluated by the VA quickly rather than having to wait the average six weeks to two months for an appointment. I’m willing to take him anywhere within 500 miles to make that happen.
I also want to have some kind of written document of what kind of things I would like on either a petition for an initiative or something of that nature. It’s a work in progress and I’m grateful for all the excellent feedback I have received. Thank you, readers.


Syd said...

I'm glad that Riley is complying. If he is cutting down, then perhaps you won't have to buy as much. That would likely be a big help as well. Wishing you both the best.

Kibble said...

I am still chuckling about the "she doesn't understand me" line. There was a time I got that line often. I always offered to talk to the spouse and see if I could help her understand. Funny, nobody ever took me up on my generous offer.

jo said...

i really hope you have a good Va system where you live,. it makes a huge diff. ours here is a joke.

and he needs that c and p appt.

usually you have to go to the hosp designated for your area. i dont believe you can bypass that. we cant. and it takes them 4 months to read a xray, that is how far behind they are. luckily when my husband fell out of his truck , he didnt break anything. it did take a call to the director to get his x rays read. make sure nurses mark them stat...if not,,,you can give up on that. course with a fall, ours was marked routine. lol. idiots. i hate that place like you wouldnt believe. good luck. thought i would add this in...

The 1986 Emergency Medical Treatment and Active Labor Act. It requires nearly all hospitals to treat and stabilize anyone needing emergency care, regardless of ability to pay or legal U.S. residency.

might help us someday. stabilize can mean several diff things and perhaps it can be argued to keep them a few days...

Gabriele Goldstone said...

You sound so hopeful. Which is kind of scary. All the best.

Furtheron said...

oh my wife understood me far far more than I ever realised, the first day I came out on home leave from rehab she gave it to me full bore both barrels... But in the drink years no body understood me, well someone was a friend for a while until they too started to suggest that maybe I should not drink like I did, that maybe other people weren't to blame etc. then I'd move on... the fickle friendships of an addict the only thing I could truly love then was the booze - I didn't even come close to loving myself.

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