15 Jan A Parents View
A Parents View
So how many of us had our first drink before the age of 18 (21 for US) I can hold my hand up I got drunk in my mums lounge on homemade wine with 4 friends and we still talk about it today. I was very merry to say the least and very loving until I went outside and the fresh air hit me then I met and had a lasting relationship with the toilet while my dutiful mother held my hair back … we have all been there right?
So with this in mind when my daughter turned 17 I allowed her to have a drink in the house with me thinking that was the responsible thing to do I know I was not alone in this action. But I have always stressed you have to know your limits as if you don’t how is anyone else suppose to?
More importantly I have been drumming into her since she was 17 some basic survival skills if you are to survive clubbing and early experiences with Alcohol.
My daughter turned 18 last September went out to celebrate with friends was I worried, yeah a bit big night but was confident in the people she was out with all friends since start of secondary school she got home and quite sober by all accounts. This wasn’t going to be so difficult done the terrible 2’s the teenage strops this would be a doddle ….. WRONG!
Last Thursday night by daughter got all dressed up for student night at our nearest town centre, cheap drinks and as much as you like! As most under 20’s especially locally they arrange “lifts” so a sober friend usually who hasn’t gone out will do a round of picking them up (this you will see later may have saved my daughter’s life) they also usually have pre drinks somewhere somebody’s house cheap vodka usually on the menu!
So off she goes all dressed up looking lovely and I am happy in the knowledge she is being taken there and picked up, “text me when you roll in, Love you” was the last thing I said knowing I would go to bed and I will wake up early hours as I always did to check she was in and there would be a text and all would be well ….. not this Thursday night ….. this Thursday night I was woke up by my husband shouting at someone and me hearing you need to sleep it off …. I came to the top of the stairs to see my beautiful intelligent daughter.. .. vacant! Like it just isn’t her … I call her name and she doesn’t respond not even a flicker of acknowledgment.
What happens next I think will stay with me forever she starts to climb the stairs reaches the top and passes out I reach out for her hand but she is gone and falls top to bottom and ends up in a heap face down on the wooden floor of our hallway, I hear a piercing scream, my 10 year old wakes up with a bolt she tells me later that it was me that was screaming and woke her the rest is a blur but I will try and get it across to you.
It felt like time stopped and I saw my baby, my first born at the bottom of our stairs not moving not making a sound and I honestly thought she was dead I could try and dress it up for you but I wouldn’t know how, I stood at the top looking at my child die as far as I was concerned now luckily my husband is very practical and jumps into action, I had always considered myself good in a crisis but I went to pieces but managed to dial 999 the first time ever! Those call dispatch operators are amazing she calmed me down and had me repeating instructions and stayed with me until the fast response arrive closely followed by the paramedics …… all I can think is this was a night out how did we get to this … there is an underlying anger brewing as well so I insist they take pictures so she can see what state she got herself in.
A few moments before I have sworn at my step daughter and threatened to deal with her in the morning, now after a few loud bangs and thuds along with frightening screams from the wife, I walk into the hallway to find my girl at face down at the bottom of the stairs. Incredibly the first thing that goes through my mind is how much she looks like a drunken lass. Pissed up on the floor with her skirt up by her waist and me, her stepfather, embarrassed that I have to witness it.
I try to turn her over but she is out cold and weighs a ton. Finally I get her over and then the blood starts to cover her face and drip out of her nose and mouth.
Still unconscious I grab some tissue to stem the flow and try to get her around but she is in and out of consciousness and I’m feeling pretty useless.
She starts to heave so the bowl becomes the focus of attention as I watch her throw up blood and whatever she has been drinking. The smell is just awful. I have worked in clubs and been around but the smell was just disgusting and lasted until the next evening in the house and much longer in my nostrils and memory.
I put Courtney on her back on the advice on the operators who are relaying instructions through my wife. Now it’s just a waiting game as she lies there on a towel, blood coming from her mouth and nose, being sick and all whilst unconscious.
The Paramedic arrives and introduces himself as Steve. Quickly assessing the situation, he then relays information in what sounds like another language to his dispatch.
A few minutes later we have an ambulance crew at the door. As cruel and stupid as it sounds, I’m now feeling embarrassed as we might awaken the neighbours, plus I have an ambulance crew and a paramedic at the house for what could be just a drunk teenager. You know the ones that you look at whilst driving late at night and think “bloody idiots, didn’t your parents teach you any better?”
With the misses in tears and visibly shaking whilst sat on the stairs, I watch as the spinal board comes out. It takes a fair few minutes to get her on the board and then into the ambulance. I’m now expecting a rush to the hospital but the next 20 minutes are taken up in with assessments and ensuring she’s stable. All the while there I am standing outside at 1am with a bag on my shoulder with the wife and our youngest daughter in tears and panic at the front door.
Finally after what seems like an age we are off. The ride was somewhat uneventful as the crew member tries to keep Courtney awake but with little success. More sickness comes and the ambulance starts to smell like a pub cellar flooded with stale ale and spirits with a hint of McDonalds.
On arrival we bypass the Accident and Emergency and go straight to the ‘Resus Unit’. I’m told to sit outside and wait, it’s now around 1:15am.
Half an hour to 40 minutes goes by and I’m well catered for in terms of hospitality and coffee thanks to the staff on duty at the Hand over Desk. It’s a lonely time with virtually no one around and I’m conscious that the wife will be frantically waiting for any news but I have nothing to say so again I feel useless. Anger starts to set it. I’m angry at Courtney for this situation. Angry at myself for having no control whatsoever.
I’m ushered into the cubical to see something I won’t easily forget. My daughter strapped to the bed, immobilised for her own safety in case of injuries sustained in the fall. Three drips in her arms, and numerous wires and pipes from her body to different machines.
On the floor are the remnants of her clothes, cut off her and thrown aside. Tatty, covered in blood and vomit, the nurse places them in a carrier bag and hands them to me. “Thanks…..”
Still unconscious the room is filled with the stench of drink and the sounds of various beeps. Alarms indicate low blood pressure and slow heart rate whilst the nurses constantly fuss over her taking her temperature and administering drugs by syringe and intravenous drip.
Warm solution is attached to her to bring her temperature up and more bags are placed on the side ready for when there is an opportunity to connect them to a tube. This takes too long and another drip is put in.
I’m told she is stable for the time being so I pop out and calls the wife. Again feeling angry and useless there isn’t a lot I can say. I can’t tell her what is really happening as that just cungers up images of all sorts of things but I manage to say that she is doing OK.
We wait for a call to the CT scan department and in the meantime x-rays have been taken and they show just how lucky she has been in the fall, no broken bones.
A call comes and we are taken down to CT scan, so an orderly, a nurse and I take Courtney down. All seems well but the movement brings on sickness and on the way Courtney starts to be sick whilst still barely conscious. Immobilised on the trolley she can’t turn her head so they have a suction machine to clear the vomit, but this doesn’t work. Choking on her vomit, it’s a physical struggle to tilt the mattress, the spine and head support and her to one side so she doesn’t choke to death. Covering the bed sheets and the nurse and my hands, we manage to get her under control and onto the scan department.
A brief respite for me as she is rushed into the scanner and I call Jules to give her an update. Trying to calm her nerves as well as settle my own I simply state she is stable and we are hopeful for the all clear from the scan and the x-ray.
Once back in the cubicle we get the all clear from the scans and the nursing staff can now get rid of the head restraints. Slowly Courtney comes around and although disorientated she knows where she is and remembers everything up to the point where she became unwell in the club a few hours earlier. After that her mind is blank.
Once sat up we can start to relax and I start to feel that she can be told what an idiot I feel she is. But this will have to wait because no sooner is she awake, her heart rate spikes. Within a few seconds her heart goes from a steady 85 bpm to a rapid 180bpm. The machine sounds out alarms and I call for the staff to assist. I watch Courtney who is still disorientated but not panicking yet the heart rate is still climbing.
We now have reason to believe she was in more danger than simply binge drinking! It would appear at some point in the night her drink was spiked …..
The nurses come in and spend several minutes administering drugs, injections and finally wheel in an EKG Machine to monitor the higher spikes. After what seems like an eternity, the heart rate settles to 130bpm with occasional spikes to 140bpm and things start to settle down.
Back to mum
So I get a call saying you need to ring the police, there is something more than drink ….
I am Angry so angry not only did she drink to excess and not have the wits about her to take proper care of herself someone has put something in their own or her drink, I have spent years telling her and her friends to watch your drinks not to leave them unattended, don’t accept drinks from strangers … but then you are throwing all this alcohol down your throat what do you just forget?
And why would someone spike a drink?
Police say it can be to see the effects of the drug on someone else, could be the wrong drink the most frightening reason it could be for a laugh!!
Now with all this in mind what if her loyal friend hadn’t picked her up?
Well I think this would be a very different blog!! Anyone could have come by and collected her some random guy telling the bouncer that was his sister! My daughter doesn’t remember going home so how could she have disagreed!
What if that friend had simply dropped her home?
No one would have been aware of her being home for a couple of hour’s maybe; she passed out and as you have read was still vomiting
So in answer to both of these she would not be here, it would have been the police knocking my door not her friend carrying her, she would have been in a gutter somewhere raped beaten DEAD!
She would have passed out at home and choked on her own vomit and her little sister would have found her the next day when she got up for her sports day!
What’s more shocking is that now, 5 days on and she is just able to stay awake for more than an hour and the doctors say that it will be at least another week before she is fully recovered.
She has lost a week of her life!
She is missing her Celebration of achievement for finishing her 2 year college course
And then we have the ripple effect
Her little sister scared to go upstairs having witnessed blood everywhere and her big sister who she had been out with on a girly shopping trip just 2 days before taken by ambulance
Her 13 year old brother coming back from a school trip to his family torn apart
Her mother who wakes up screaming in the middle of the night because she has a recurring dream that her daughter is falling off a cliff and can’t catch her
A step father who went above and beyond the call of duty and witnessed things he should never have to see for his 18 year old step daughter, all to keep his wife sane
So next time you’re out think about this BLOG about the effects of it
Use these 10 simple steps
- Don’t try and keep up with your pals while drinking everyone is different
- Be confident enough to say ” I have had enough now”
- KNOW your own limits
- Don’t EVER leave a drink unattended if you have DO NOT return to it
- Buy your own drinks, never accept drinks from strangers
- Order unopened bottles or cans instead of glass drinks watch them being opened
- Don’t let the drink be taken away before you are served it
- Carry your bottle with you and get in the habit of keeping your thumb over the top
- Don’t drink anyone’s drink you have no idea what their “poison” is
- If you feel strange at any time call someone you trust … that could save your life