Severe frostbite, does anyone have any experience? :( Sorry,long I'm a mess. - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 16 Old 01-14-2013, 01:24 AM - Thread Starter
 
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My exh is currently in the hospital with severe frostbite on both feet. He's a homeless alcoholic and was very drunk, got his feet wet, and slept outside. I have no idea how he did it, but he walked to my house and I called 911 when he tried to warm up and could not, and I saw his feet were purple and grey. He couldn't feel his left foot at all, and was in extreme pain in his right foot. He was in intensive care for 2 days, but has been moved to a regular room.

 

His feet are not doing well at all. His left one is much worse than his right. They have exploded, covered in blood blisters and the skin was black. The drs removed the skin on both feet, he said his left big toe is barely attached. He has an infection in his left side almost up to his knee. Tomorrow he's going to see the drs to find out what is going to happen. A heart problem was also found, his heart beats irregularly and too fast. He'll get results of all blood work and other tests hopefully in the morning.

 

There is a chance he is going to lose his left foot and leg up to the knee, as well as toes on his right foot. I'm so scared for him! I can't sleep, I'm heading for a breakdown. Doesn't help that he actually tried to blame this on me and others, because no one wants to let him in when he's that intoxicated. He was treating me horribly, and I had to stop going to see him. I was the only one going, I brought him clothes and deodorant and things he needed. Our dd did see him once, ds refused to see him at all, and dd does not want to go back. She did tell him she loved him over the phone. I've been talking to him again, he's now seeing a social worker, they are trying to figure out where he goes from the hospital. His sister called him once, no one else has bothered. He burnt his bridges with everyone he knows with the things he's said and did while drunk.

 

I'm just a huge mess. I'm so angry, scared and hurt that he did this to himself. Thankfully dd is doing ok, she's been very cuddly, spending a lot of time with me. Ds doesn't seem to be affected, having autism he doesn't always feel things the way "normal" people do, and I feel that's a blessing right now. This has been a VERY bad week. My aunt passed away at the age of 61, from cancer. She had her leg amputated up to the top of her thigh.  Then this, and on Thursday, the day of her wake, the large apartment house directly across the street from mine had a horrible fire. Thankfully everyone and every pet is ok, but it left 5 families homeless, one of the apartments was vacant. It really scared us, had the fire department not put it out fast who knows what could have happened, if the wind had blown the right way, debris could have hit our house as the road in very narrow so it wouldn't have had far to go.

 

I am in serious financial trouble, my account is overdrawn $700, and that is my entire check for the month of February. I get a little more money for ds and dd, but I just don't know what to do. So much is piling up, I feel like I'll explode. Doesn't help that I've been battling a virus for over a month, I'm still coughing and having some trouble breathing from asthma, but it slowly going away.

 

Anyway, I want to be there for exh, I want to help him get better. I just don't know if I can. It's very hard for me to get to the hospital, I can take the bus into Providence but I have no one to care for ds most of the time. He does receive services 5 days a week, but it's really not long enough for me to take the hour bus ride, then another bus to the hospital, and back again. I do try to call often, but I always end up crying and I don't think he needs to hear that right now. I'm so scared to get that phone call tomorrow. This really sucks. Dd said please tell her that 2013 will get better, but I can't promise her something I have no control over. This poor kid has been through so much hell in her 14 years, I don't know how much more she can take, how much more any of us can take. Thanks for reading, I'm going to try for an hour or so of sleep before I have to get the kids up for school.   


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#2 of 16 Old 01-14-2013, 03:19 AM
 
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I'm sorry to hear you're having such a difficult time. I don't have much reassurance I'm afraid. Based on what you've described it sounds likely to me that your exH will lose his left leg. How much of it depends on how high the infection extends. The fact that he had pain in the right leg is a little more hopeful. However, his capacity for healing will be significantly reduced due to his alcoholism and malnutrition.

The heart condition you describe sounds like atrial fibrillation. This is when the top two chambers of the heart do not beat rhythmically and regularly like usual but instead "fibrilate". It's a bit hard to describe what that's like but imagine the movement you would see if you poked an unmoulded jelly dessert. AF can be fast (more than 100beats/ min, referred to as rapid AF) or slow (less than 100 beats/min, referred to as controlled AF). It can be caused by body stressors such as infection or other illness, age or for no apparent reason. Some people have a single episode, others have it long-term. The goals of treatment are, ideally, to revert to a normal heart rhythm or, maintain a controlled rate of less than 100 beats/min.

The main problem with rapid AF is insufficient blood flow from the heart to other vital organs. The main concern with controlled AF is that a blood clot will form in one of the atria and travel from there to the coronary arteries or brain causing a heart attack or stroke.

The treatment is usually medication to slow the rate and reduce blood clotting in the first instance. Some people may be candidates for radio ablation which is when the abnormal part of the heart's electrical conduction system is removed. This sounds pretty dramatic but it's not open heart surgery. It is done via a catheter inserted in the groin, the same way an angiogram is performed.

AF is a pretty common condition and many people are able to manage it well. However, your exH is at significant risk due to his lifestyle factors. He is going to struggle unless his circumstances improve significantly (as I'm sure you're aware).

I'm sorry to have no good news for you. I wish I could be more positive.

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#3 of 16 Old 01-14-2013, 04:39 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Thank you so much for replying, and explaining that to me. This is just so scary. I'm dreading the phone call from him today, I know any news will most likely be bad news. I still love and care for him very much, and I'm hoping this is a wake up call for him. He says he'll never touch another drop of alcohol again, I really hope so. He told me he bought a gallon of vodka with money he stole out of my backpack. He said his thinking was to just end it all, stop hurting everyone, and just give up. :( I'm going to talk to the social worker if I can today, let them know what was going on so they can help him. He's been struggling with this for a very long time, over 20 years and he's only 37. We've been together on and off for 15 and a half years, and it's been hell. I'm so scared for him, I just want to scream. It's affecting ds way more than I thought, he was crying this morning when his bus came, he's scared of the burned house, and he said he's scared for daddy. I wrote a note to the school to let them know what is going on, and I will probably call dd's school later today. This really sucks. :(  


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#4 of 16 Old 01-14-2013, 07:34 AM
 
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What a horrible situation for you to deal with. It's just too much. Have you ever looked into Al-anon? It might be helpful to attend a group, and to tell your story to a group of people who truly get it.
 


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#5 of 16 Old 01-14-2013, 12:14 PM
 
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What a horrible situation for you to deal with. It's just too much. Have you ever looked into Al-anon? It might be helpful to attend a group, and to tell your story to a group of people who truly get it.
 

I agree with this. Your ex needs help. Has he ever been to rehab?  Nobody can help your ex except your ex. hug2.gif


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#6 of 16 Old 01-14-2013, 08:44 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Thanks for replying. The dr talked to him this afternoon, he's healing better than they thought, which is awesome. As it looks right now, when he goes into surgery next week, he'll lose both of his big toes. Possibly all his toes on his left foot, but they're going to try to save them. He's getting feeling back, it's very painful but that is a good sign they said. Much better news than we thought we'd get. His dad actually went to see him, hopefully they'll keep in touch, the kids haven't seen their grandpa in a few years.

 

We talked for a long time today. He sounds a little better, he's very angry with himself. He says he'll never drink again, I don't want to get my hopes up. He said he hates that it had to come to this for him to realize what he's been doing to himself and everyone else. He said he's lucky to be alive, he wants to be a dad and possibly be with me again. He said if he feels like drinking, he's just going to look at his feet. I hope he can do it.

 

I'm so exhausted from crying, lack of sleep, and stress. I wanted to go see him today, but I couldn't get a sitter for ds. Maybe I can get up there tomorrow during the day while ds is in school. I just want to bring him some clean clothes, a couple of books, and some pictures of the kids. I want him to know we're here to support him, and maybe I can talk to his social worker and his dr.

 

I did try alanon a few times. I just felt like I was a total outsider, everyone there had been going for years, they were all friends, I just didn't feel right. I want to try another meeting, it's just hard with no transportation and no sitter. I'm going to look into it again though, it would be good to find others who understand. Thanks again.


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#7 of 16 Old 01-14-2013, 09:21 PM
 
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That's great news about his feet. I'm glad things are looking a little more positive.

I don't doubt that right now, in hospital, facing the prospect of losing a limb, he genuinely means it when he says he'll never drink again. Unfortunately this is common among addicts. He will need more of a plan than just looking at his feet when he is over this crisis. I would *strongly* recommend that he engage with some sort of program ASAP. AA is one and I'm sure someone would visit him in hospital if he asked. If he doesn't want to do AA then I imagine there are other program's available in the area. The hospital should have a drug and alcohol service and they will be able to tell him what is available in the community.

I would also encourage you to try another AlAnon if you can. I hear what you're saying about transport and child are though and I appreciate that there are no easy solutions for you in that regard.

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#8 of 16 Old 01-15-2013, 05:43 AM
 
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I did try alanon a few times. I just felt like I was a total outsider, everyone there had been going for years, they were all friends, I just didn't feel right. I want to try another meeting, it's just hard with no transportation and no sitter. I'm going to look into it again though, it would be good to find others who understand. Thanks again.

 

I had that experience the first two meetings I tried. Also I just couldn't really relate with a lot of the people's situations. But I started going again last year and found a meeting that I clicked with much better, and it made a huge difference. It can't hurt to try...it's free, and there are so many meeting times. Don't mean to pressure you, it's just my heart goes out to you and I would love to see you with a good support network.


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#9 of 16 Old 01-15-2013, 09:27 AM
 
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That's great news about his feet. I'm glad things are looking a little more positive.

I don't doubt that right now, in hospital, facing the prospect of losing a limb, he genuinely means it when he says he'll never drink again. Unfortunately this is common among addicts. He will need more of a plan than just looking at his feet when he is over this crisis. I would *strongly* recommend that he engage with some sort of program ASAP. AA is one and I'm sure someone would visit him in hospital if he asked. If he doesn't want to do AA then I imagine there are other program's available in the area. The hospital should have a drug and alcohol service and they will be able to tell him what is available in the community.

I would also encourage you to try another AlAnon if you can. I hear what you're saying about transport and child are though and I appreciate that there are no easy solutions for you in that regard.

Im glad he will not be losing anything than perhaps a couple of toes. It seems you all could use some good news right now. I echo Katelove's sentiment that your ex needs to work a program. You mentioned he has been an alcoholic for over 20 years. I am a LADC and work with addicts on a daily basis. This I'm sure was a wake up call and he wants to stop, but with his history, without the proper supports in place and him working a serious recovery program, it likely will not be enough. I wish you both the best. I hope he agrees to ongoing counseling and treatment/support. 


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#10 of 16 Old 01-16-2013, 11:11 AM
 
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Im glad he will not be losing anything than perhaps a couple of toes. It seems you all could use some good news right now. I echo Katelove's sentiment that your ex needs to work a program. You mentioned he has been an alcoholic for over 20 years. I am a LADC and work with addicts on a daily basis. This I'm sure was a wake up call and he wants to stop, but with his history, without the proper supports in place and him working a serious recovery program, it likely will not be enough. I wish you both the best. I hope he agrees to ongoing counseling and treatment/support. 


Good advice. I have a family member who is an addict. It is so tempting to believe them when they say "I'll never drink again." They probably believe it themselves at the time which is part of why it's so convincing. But for someone who is a serious alcoholic like your husband, it almost certainly will take more than willpower. It might help you to focus on thinking of it as a disease. Someone with heart disease can't have a heart attack and then declare, "From now on, I'm not going to have cardiovascular problems anymore." It's a disease. It requires treatment.

 

Just as important is the concept that you can't make him get the treatment he needs. Only he can do that. What you can do is get treatment for yourself. Being involved with an addict has deep effects on you and, just like he needs help with his disease, you need help for the effects the disease has had on you.

 

Sending lots of good thoughts your way.


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#11 of 16 Old 01-26-2013, 02:31 PM
 
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Hi sorry for your troubles. I am going to be brutally honest here as it really is the only way I know how to be. You really need to question your own actions. After all they are the only ones we can control. You need to find out why you keep letting him affect you this way. He is a very very sick person, mentally, physically and spiritually. You can only take care of yourself, and if you don't do this properly, you won't be able to take care of your kids. You really have alot on your plate right now. I understand you care about him, how can you not, he is the father of your children, but he is a grown man who is making his own decisions. No matter what you do he will do what he wants!!! Its one thing to think of him and care about him, but it is an entirely other thing to go through the hassle of visiting him (which sounds like a lot, sitter, buses, etc) and allowing yourself to be subjected to his abuse. YOU CANNOT MAKE HIM QUIT DRINKING!! or anything for that matter.

In case you are wondering I speak from experience, being a recovered addict myself and being married to one (who got sober after I finally left). It really took me years to stop subjecting myself to unhealthy relationships. I strongly suggest some support group for you. There is nothing like the power of a number of people when trying to overcome what we think are all our own obstacles. Can I suggest you reread your original post, it is all about him and everyone else and very little about you. Please take it from someone who has walked in your shoes, let the professionals help him and please get yourself the help you need, even if it is just not talking to him unless it has to do with the kids.

Good luck! and I would love to talk more if you still want  after reading this.

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#12 of 16 Old 02-04-2013, 04:54 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Thanks everyone for responding, sorry I took so long to reply. He's been out of the hospital for about 2 weeks now, he's here with us. He had no where to go, they couldn't find any kind of placement for him. Now that he's here I'm hoping to get him on our health insurance so that he can get treatment for his alcoholism. He hasn't tried to drink at all, but I'm still not getting  my hopes too high.

 

He hasn't had surgery yet, we find out today when he'll go in. He's going to have the 2 biggest toes on his left foot amputated. His right foot is healing very well, it doesn't bother him too much anymore. He'll be in the hospital 4-5 days this time, as long as there are no complications. He's been walking with a cane. I help him with his bandages once a day, he can shower now so that is much easier. He's in a lot of pain, they didn't give him enough pain meds on his prescription. I can't afford to buy them anyway, which sucks. My dad helped me buy what they prescribed him, Wal-Mart wasn't too expensive thankfully. The burn clinic gave him the cream he needs thankfully, but they can't give out narcotics. 

 

It's not going to be an easy road for him. He's going to have to learn how to balance himself. He's very upset about losing his toes, he's been skateboarding since he was about 9, almost 30 years, and he may never be able to again. I really hope this is his rock bottom, and he stays sober.

 

My dad's going to bring us to the burn clinic now, I'll try to update when we get home. Thanks again.


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#13 of 16 Old 02-04-2013, 12:50 PM
 
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Hey Muldey,

 

Thanks for updating. I'm glad to hear the damage is not as bad as it could have been.

 

I have to say, I am worried about you. I feel like you're in a really tough situation right now. You've divorced this guy, I'm guessing largely because of his alcoholism, and now he's living with you again and you're taking care of him like a wife or mother. So you're right back in that codependent place you had tried to get away from. I know it's hard, because you love him and he's the father of your children. But you are not responsible for his care any more. It's not good for you or for your kids to have him there.

 

Imagine this....you're living in India with your kids, your job transferred you there long-term. You were there when all this happened with your husband. What would he do? Where would he go? I imagine he would go SOMEWHERE, right? Maybe it would be to a shelter, or back on the street. But it would be out of your hands. How would that feel? Would it be a relief compared to what you are dealing with now? Because emotionally, it might be good to make yourself as unavailable as if you were on the other side of the world.

 

I don't know if you're ready to think about it that way. You're an adult and you can make your own choices. Just thought it might help to provide a different perspective. I, for one, would not think you were a bad person if you stopped caring for him, in any capacity, ever. I would think it was a difficult choice coming from a place of strength and a desire to take the best care of your children and your children's mother. :)

 

good luck mama. And please do keep us posted if you can.
 

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#14 of 16 Old 03-09-2013, 12:21 PM
 
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muldey, how are you doing? redface.gif
 


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#15 of 16 Old 04-21-2013, 03:07 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Sorry it took so long to reply. Exh had the big toe and most of the one on the side of it on his left foot amputated about 2 weeks ago. The big toe got infected and almost fell off on it's own, the dr examined it and most of it fell off and then he clipped the bone. Exh didn't feel a thing. Everything is healing great, he's using a special shoe to keep pressure off the front of his foot along with a cane and is walking around with very little pain. So that is great.

 

He still hasn't drank, but he's still not in recovery. He's still making excuses for everything, and is still very selfish.


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#16 of 16 Old 04-21-2013, 06:30 PM
 
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Is he still on narcotic pain medication? If so, that could be the reason he hadn't tried to drink. I'm sure you already know this, but its very common for addicts to substitue one mind-altering substance for another. If he is on narcotic pain meds, he is not sober.

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