Severe Alcohol Detox: A State of Mind…and What Happened to Me During Seizure
Quitting Is Just As Dangerous As Drinking
Nobody told me Alcohol could do this to a person. I knew you could drink yourself to death but they don’t exactly make it public knowledge that stopping is just as lethal, do they?
You get to work that one out on by yourself. Unfortunately from a hospital bed…post seizure. So, please take the benefit of my experience and watch those units, kids…
In this article, I talk about what severe alcohol detox is really like and why medical supervision is crucial to prevent unwanted and often serious consequences when stopping drinking. Then, you can share your personal experiences or ask questions in the comments section at the end of the page.
First Seizure After Stopping Alcohol
My head is a busy airport of thought. Too many unexpected arrivals and air traffic control have fucked off for the day.
Is that a nurse? Why is she looking at me like that?
Are those spiders in that man’s hair? Are they dangerous?
What is the point in guttering? Why capture and channel a 2 inch half pipe of rain water down the drain and ignore the rest of the sky? Someone should invent an all-sky guttering system. Did I just invent it? Note to self: get nurse to telephone patent office. We’ll need to send a fax of the drawing I’ve made on the back of my hand with a signature for proof.
Back to that guy’s hair. Squid. It’s obvious now. You can tell by the beaks and the ink running down his face. Harlequinesque.
My vision has gone like the smaller, yet more powerful lens in a magnifying glass. Other end of the kaleidoscope, folks. One of those bipedal fish/elephant things from that Star wars spinoff movie about Ewoks just walked past the open door of the ward trailing a Dagon (people keep asking me if I mean dragon. No. If I meant dragon, I would’ve typed “dragon” instead of “Dagon”) in its wake. Someone should let management know the big fish is here and he looks terrible.
This is some Lovecraft/Kafka level bullsh*t and I want no part in it. The nurse appears to be squinting at me. Can she see me? I have a sudden urge to let her know that I exist and where I am but I’m not sure I can remember where that is.
Ah! A Doctor Approaches…
You can tell because he’s bald and has one of those fallopian listening tubes hanging around his neck. Where do they get those? People must donate them. Or are they harvested? Don’t think about those dark things right now. Concentrate…
You don’t have to be bald to be a doctor, but it helps. I think he’s speaking to me. Must be some sort of pre-Pangean dialect.
Speak English, man! Give it to me straight! Just the facts, that’s all I ask.
I suddenly really need a piss…Sorry Doc but we’ll have to catch this up later. I go to move off the bed but the floor is mid production of some badly written tragic comedy in which gravity, the main character dies in the first act. Might be safer to take the ceiling.
I’m suddenly surrounded by beings dressed in white. Priests? Angels? Ah! I’m dead. That clears things up a bit. Really need that piss but they hold me down and a voice says “just a sharp scratch, Mr Sweetman” I begin to ponder if such a thing as a blunt scratch exists when it goes very dark.
Another Seizure: What it Feels Like
At least that’s how I remember thinking that’s how I remember it…
Or I could be wrong. . .
It has happened at least once before.
Clouds. Nice landing. “Oh, hi there, Jesus. How’s things?”
I had a quick chat with the main man but nothing worth mentioning here.
Hospital bed. Not as comfortable a landing this time. Eyes snapped open at roughly 7 AM. At least I think that was the time but my phone’s battery has gone and the clock on the wall of the ward is doing that maddening thing where the second hand keeps clicking forwards and backwards so that it’s permanently between 37 and 38 seconds past the hour.
It takes me a few seconds to realise that the doctor I met yesterday is sat next to my bed. I’ve woken up and I’m sort of calm but then he asks, “How’s it going this morning, Mr Sweetman?” and two sentences into my reply I’m frothing at the eyebrows again.
Turns out the time is actually more like 11:00, so whatever was in that “sharp scratch” from last night did the trick. Then it turns out it’s actually 11 AM two days after said sharp scratch medication.
I must try and get some of that.
You Will Never Stop Drinking
I think it’s the same doctor as yesterday, but then I did watch two mythical beasts walk past the ward the other day. I’m hedging my bets as to whether this guy I can see is actually there at all. If it is the same guy, he’s certainly changed his bedside manner.
“You’ll never stop drinking,” he tells me in a deadpan, matter of fact sort of tone.
Now, this kind of took me aback. I didn’t know whether it was his version of a reverse psychology style challenge designed to give me a bit of a kick up the arse or if he was just being an unprofessional dick. I mean I can empathise with an over stretched National Health Service.
After at least 11 emergency detoxes in one year, my track record would suggest that I’m an unsafe bet when it comes to staying clean. Perhaps I’m not just needing another few thousand pounds worth of the tax payer’s money getting straight again. I do suffer from withdrawal seizures, so the first 36 hours of detox are crucial for safety reasons. I’m sounding like I’m in excuse mode, but I digress.
My point is that I’ve never been spoken to by any professional health worker like that.
To this day, I’m still confused about his motive for saying it
(that and whether the giant spider on his shoulder was regarding me with
a condescendence that only an arachnid can achieve).
I’m hoping it was the playing-on-male-pride-challenge, not that a day and a half into a booze rattle was possibly the best time to go on the offence. Plus, I felt desperately low on Testosterone that day.
So, no dice, Doc.
A Lifeline for Suffering Addicts
I’m thinking about this in a time in England where politics are getting a bit close to the bone. I would like to state that the majority of people who work in the NHS are absolute angels. I certainly wouldn’t be here to write this today if it wasn’t for them, so you’ve got them to thank for that.
Any complaints should be directed in their direction.
I’m am ashamed to say that I’m not a particularly political guy – knowing that voter apathy is a massive problem – but this time around, with health care that we’ve paid for (yes, I have worked most of my life) through taxation under threat, I’m starting to feel like I should be getting involved. But this is not a blog for politics and I don’t know what I’m talking about anyway.
All I do know is there are a lot of suffering addicts out there and detox services are really a lifeline for some of them.
So… after 3 (maybe 4, I can’t be sure) days I was told I’d be discharged to the local homeless hostel.
And that’s where the real fun began but that’s a story for another time.
Be good, and watch those units.
Photo credit: Abhijit Bhaduri