It's been a rough couple of weeks. 11 days ago would have been my mom's 65th birthday. The family got together at our favorite Chinese restaurant like we tend to do for family gatherings. Dad was obviously drunk and could barely say what he felt he needed to say to the family, a slurred, depressing, toast to mom and thanks for everyone coming. We all knew dad had been drinking more since mom's passing. We just didn't know how much. This past week, I went to check on him and it was bad. Total shit. He couldn't walk down the hall without bouncing off each side. What the hell?! Dad has not been a lifetime drinker, just a slightly above social drinking. Since he is anti-social, it's hard to tell what his level of above social drinking really was. He'd usually have a beer in the fridge but nothing crazy.
I got him to tell me the truth. He's been knocking out about a liter of bourbon a day. Every day since last summer when our CO trip went to shit because of my dumb-ass sister. On top of this, he's been on Ambien for more than 2 years. A drug that is highly addictive after about 2 weeks and causes blackouts with sleep actions when mixed with a small amount of alcohol. He's not sure what he was doing at night but he'd wake up with bruises from falling.
I have never had this kind of relationship with my dad, one where I was having to be the parent. This is a guy that usually has his stuff together, for the most part. I took the Ambien away that night and suggested he try to take his melatonin to sleep. The next two days I got call after call for me to bring it back. "I have to have it!" "You just need to bring it back to me." Holy shit, my dad is an addict!
I find it amazing how difficult it is to find help for an addict in this city. I called his primary care doctor and never got a call back. I called the START program for the hospital group that his primary care doc works at. They wanted to set an appointment for sometime next week to do an evaluation.They said, "We don't want you to take him in through the ER, we need to do an evaluation." I said "No, he needs help tonight." I was not going to take him back to his house. I called the VA since he is a veteran. They said since he's never used the VA system before, he needed to go through an eligibility office before he could even go to the ER. At the eligibility office, we sat for about an hour before they called for patient # E314. We were #E338. This was a total waste of time. Luckily, we have a friend that works at the VA and he told us to just go straight to the ER and they would do his eligibility there. Great! After a quick 5 minute info discussion, we were told he is not eligible. They did have a great case manager though that said to ignore what his hospital group had said and just take him straight to the ER at the hospital - now.
We drove a mile down the street to his hospital and they got him in right away. Why was this so damn hard. It took a couple of hours for insurance info to come through but he was being cared for in the mean time instead of running around. We finally got him checked into detox at 4:30 pm after starting our mission at 8AM. He's been there 2 days now. I have talked to him and he is already getting clearer.
I felt really guilty coming home after that long day and just wanting a beer and to crash on the couch. I did not indulge.
I watched another episode.