Saturday, 4 April 2009

Mother's Ruin

I was looking forward to posting about my week yesterday and all the lovely things that had arrived on my doorstep. At 5pm yesterday, a beautiful, sunny, warm evening, I kissed Jimmy goodbye as he left the house on his way to the Skatepark with his young mates. Mr Marmalade and I then settled down to roll 100m of dot and cross paper for BillieJane with whom I bought a wholesale roll to split with. About 5.30pm Mr's phone rang which wasn't unusual or surprising as he was the Duty Fire Officer on Call for this region. It was an emergency phonecall, but unfortunately, not of the type expected.

By 6pm, he was in an ambulance on his way to hospital with Jimmy, who on arriving at the Skatepark just under an hour earlier, and looking for something in the hedge, had happened upon a full 750cl bottle of Tesco Value Gin, and drunk the lot. In one go. He then lost control of all his faculties as you can imagine, and in panic, one of the older boys had wrestled his phone from him, looked up "dad" in the phonebook, and called. Thank goodness! I was left at home in hysterics, completely forgetting about my own forays into the world of drunken abandon at his age (half a bottle of gin, laced with a packet of disprins being my choice of poison back in 1982!).

An hour later, Mr M called from the hospital in tears. Luckily they were tears of relief. The hospital staff had made the unconscious Jimmy comfortable, wired him up to a drip of saline and various monitors and from there, it was a question of waiting until he sobered up enough for them to feel that it was safe to discharge him. My Mother-in-Law meanwhile had arrived at the house, and together we waited for the next call, worrying, drinking tea, and discussing the why's and wherefore's through terror and tears. It was pretty frightening. But it's funny how life works, because trying to distract myself for just a moment, I looked on Facebook, and there was a message from a friend I haven't seen in years, who used to share a flat with The Italian Connection and I, way back when. Although her message only mentioned my sewing, it put things into perspective somewhat, because she is the mother of a child who spent a good deal of his early childhood in hospital until undergoing a life saving operation made possible by his little brother. I remember them telling me at the time, that although this operation would save their son's life, there was a 5% risk that he wouldn't survive it. That's a huge risk when dealing with the life of your child, and last night gave me the tiniest glimpse of what that must have felt like for them, how strong they must have been, and how much worse my situation could be in that moment.

After Mr M's next call it became apparent that Jimmy wasn't going to be discharged any time soon as he was still 'asleep'. Mother-in-Law and I went to the hospital, and between 9-10pm Jimmy slowly began to come round. What a bizarre thing to see your 13 year old 'baby' in such a state! In between his sobbing over Bob Marley's untimely death, singing of old Clash songs, and wondering where he was, he was very grateful that his Grandma had promised to take him to see "Horrid Henry" during the Easter Holidays. A soul trapped between boyhood and manhood, and very confused. It was sad.

The whole evening was sad.

Around the time we arrived at A&E, another child was trolleyed into the Resuscitation unit. She was 14 and in the same condition as Jimmy had been in. Her parents didn't know. She was on her own. On asking the nurse if this was "common" for a Friday night, she replied "It's our bread and butter". A while later, another young girl was trolleyed in. I don't know if she was intoxicated too, but she was badly injured, braced and screaming having been in a car accident in which one of her companions had died. There was a policeman waiting outside to question her. They couldn't find her parents because they didn't know who she was.

Now in the cold light of the next day, Jimmy ofcourse can't remember a thing, and annoyingly thanks to the Saline drip, doesn't have a hangover! Everything he knows about the incident is what we've told him, what his friends have told him, and the photographic evidence i've shown him. He hated seeing himself wired up in hospital and I think that's the thing which has hit him hardest (which is precisely why I took the camera with me!). Sheepishly sloping about today, I hope he's learned his lesson. In some ways, hard though it was for all of us, the extremity of his actions this first time, might have been the best thing to happen. He just didn't realise the effects that much gin would have on his body or his mind.

We always knew that there would be drunken teenage incidents, but we didn't expect it to be so soon, and we certainly didn't bargain for the abandoned gin in the hedge! Don't even ask why he drank from this bottle - we have absolutely no idea, and Jimmy is unable to furnish us with an explanation either. It's a mystery to all as to how anybody could be so stupid! But if there's any lesson I can pass on from this, it's to make your children aware - before it's too late - of how much stronger spirits are to beer, which is the comparison that Jimmy was using in his mind. I know it might sound obvious, but it didn't occur to us that 1 pint of beer = 1 pint of anything in the mind of a child, and we've been so focussed on Jimmy's other "escapades", that the 'liquor lecture', just didn't happen until after the event...




35 comments:

Kitty said...

Oh crikey ... (((hugs))) to you all. It wasn't until I was around 17 that I got so drunk I couldn't remember anything. Never did it again. Ever. I guess we probably all do it at some stage, but it must have been a shocker for you that it happened this way and this soon for Jimmy.

I hope he feels ok, and that he's learned his lesson. Bet he's not allowed back to the skate park this weekend though? ;-)

x

twiggypeasticks said...

Poor you and Mr M, as Kitty says big hugs all round. I too did it at the ridiculous age of 14, my poison was Bacardi and I've NEVER touched it again, I had a hangover for days. My parents were worried as they didn't know what I'd been drinking, now as a parent I appreciate what I must have put them through.
Hope Jimmy is ok and that he's learnt from his mistake.
Twiggy x

Lucy Locket-Pocket said...

What a horrendous experience for all of you! Big Hugs from me too! Take care and thanks for the very good advice to explain to the children before it's too late what the difference between spirits and beer/wine really is!

Lucy x

Gina said...

An awful time for you all Julia - you must have been so frightened, but at least he is okay and hasn't suffered lasting damage. Let's hope there has been a lesson learned. Sending hugs!

jennyflower said...

Lord love us! Poor you, all of you really. So glad you are all safe, so hard to even talk about responsible drinking etc, when many 'grown ups' are foolish.

silverpebble said...

Bl**dy nora - what a terrifying experience. I'm so glad it all ended OKish, although those must have been some seriously difficult hours you spent there. I hope he's fully recovered now and knows to be cautious of spirits. Thanks so much for the top tip for when my girls get older.

A & E can be a terrifyingly awful place can't it? We were there just last Monday.

Lorna said...

Went thru a similar experience with my son but as he was rouseable I spent hours making him drink dilute fruit juice every half hour till he sobered enough to leave alone. The passage of time means I can laugh about it... now.

Cat lover girl said...

WOW! just WOW. what a horrific thing! I hope no more for him...

Taz said...

I'm so glad to hear that he is ok. Gawd they don't give us these thing to contemplate when they give us the pelvic floor exercises after they're born do they!
I had to call the police and ambulance out quite a few years ago when big one was a baby. We had a park behind our house and there was a girl who was lying on the grass for far too long for my liking. She was taken off to hospickle with alcohol poisoning and thankfully she was ok. It's good to know that Jimmy has friends who will step in when things go bad. (((hugs)))

Pink Feather Paradise said...

Oh my, what a weekend, and right at the beginning of the holidays!

If our children put us through as much heartache and fear as we put our parents through.... oh dear... I think a few of us may be in for a rough ride!

I am glad he's okay and not permantely injured himself...

hugs to everyone
X Alex

Annie said...

Oh crikey, what a night! Glad he is okay now. How very, very sad about those other kids in the A&E. I hope they were okay.

monica said...

you know... maybe this is a blessing in disguise and he's learned a lesson that will help him make the right choices in the future...

As a mother of three boys, I can only imagine how hard it must have been for you.

kids eh?

XUE said...

As a mother, reading this was scary, shocking & terrifying. What an ordeal for all of you! I have sat beside my child once, while she was being hooked up to machines, larger than her. She was 10 months old, drugged by our babysitter because she had cried. It was our first & last time, we left any of our kids alone with anyone. To sit there helplessly, not being able to do anything but wait for time to pass & not knowing if/when your child regain conscious...that is a parent's nightmare. I am so glad for you that all's well in the end.

c.raf.t said...

I think that it was a good way to scare him!The problem with drink(smoke and drugs)is that people always talk about them when they are already at a critical point, and usually people thinks(at the beginning)that they will be able to control.
We should always remember to teenagers,when they are sick, that this is the way thay will feel all the time,if they will decide to try some of them!

Billie Jane said...

When I decided to have four children I only thought about how wonderfully FULL my life would be. I did not think about all this kind of stuff which inevitably happened with each and every one of them and now I have very very grey hair and have to do meditation exercises and all kinds of relaxation 'stuff' in order to get through an ordinary day!!! But remember Julia, where there are downs there are also ups... and one day you will be so proud of that boy!!

Fancy Elastic said...

Oh, Cripes. Glad to hear you are all okay... I already dread the day I have the day you have just had... and Mil is only 2!

We all do it, and in some ways I'd be more worried if he didn't fool about a bit.

I think you can be very thankful that he his hanging out with a bunch of people that are sensible enough to know when to call home.

Lordy, let's hope he's learnt his lesson!

x

Flossie and Tom said...

Thanks for sharing - I realise it must have been hard for you - my son is nearly 13 and its a conversation I will be having with him when he gets in - I'm now worrying where he is ?? I think hes over the park on his scooter - I just hope he doesnt start looking under any hedges !!

Love to you all and I'm so glad hes ok

Sara

XX

Diane said...

Many thanks for sharing - I'll make sure I have the talk with my 13 year old tonight! It was a good idea to take your camera. I think its a good idea to talk about not drinking from bottles that you find. I know someone who cannot eat solids as he drank what he thought was lemonade and it turned out to be some sort of acid (and he was around 40 when that happened!). So glad that he is ok. xx

Joleo said...

That's so awful - how hideous for you, but I'm so glad that he's okay.

Such a sad comment from the nurse about it being their 'bread and butter' too - not that I think Jimmy will be among their number again any time soon...

driftwood said...

oh I'm so glad he's ok, and that his friends had the foresight to ring you. take care xx

Mummy Boo Bear said...

What a nightmare for you all!

My two girls are only small at the mo, but I already worry about the day when they start insisting on their independence and having to trust them to behave and act sensibly.

Worst of all since becoming a mother I already think of the sometimes stupid things i did as a teenage and young adult and I shudder to think my girls may do some of those things, i was fortunate that any antics i got up too i never came to any harm, but they might not be so lucky! it just makes you want to lock them up until their brains mature enough to let them out! But I have always thought to myself that as they get older to be honest and informed myself on things like drink drugs etc and only hope they take it on board!

Hope your son gets better soon and realizes the danger he put himself in. take care.

dottycookie said...

Oh, Julia, how very scary for all of you. I am glad Jimmy is physically OK, but hope he's given himself enough of a scare not to repeat it!

As for you and Mr MK, huge hugs and thank you for the sage advice on talking to the kids about drinking; I'm squirreling that away for a few years down the line.

Kathi D said...

Oh! That is so scary! I have lately been secretly worrying about a nephew who is away at college, and whose Facebook page I unfortunately see on a regular basis, the latest tag being a photo of him passed out drunk. I know "they all do it" and we all survived it, yet I can't help worrying about the worst case scenarios.

I'm so glad your boy come out OK on the other side, and I hope he learned a lesson early on!

pebbledash said...

How shocking for you all. Glad Jimmy's ok, this is a hard-earned lesson.

Hugs to you....xxx

Berlin Deluxxe said...

Hugs...
Unfortunately this is the hard part of growing up, some lessons are taught, and others are learned...
xoxo
B

Tracy said...

Soooo glad Jimmy is OK! Tooo scary...I'm so sorry this happened. Do hope Jimmy was shook up enough not to attempt this again. Hope he is feeling better soon...and you & MR M too :o) Thinking of you all...((HUGS))

solsticedreamer~laoi gaul~williams said...

oh my word hope things have now settled down now and maybe this will prove to be a valuable lesson for jimmy...once bitten twice shy maybe?!

Elise said...

I'm glad Jommy's okay. His friend did the right thing by calling.

I remember getting drunk at that age. Not as bad as Jimmy but bad enough to know it was dangerous. Hopefully he'll learn from it.

xx

Fabricandbags said...

What an awful time you've had. I really feel for you - teenagers - what a worry they are.

I had years of stress and worry with my son who has ADHD. He's now 25 with a son of his own and doing ok.

I hope you're ok.

Anne x

SueC said...

OMG how terrifying for all of you. I'm relieved that its all OK now but I can't begin to imagine what it must have felt like going through that. I assume the experience will have put J off gin for ever! I imagine in some ways the shock of it all may have some benefit...but what a way to learn!

Moogsmum said...

Oh my word Julia - what a terrifying experience for all of you! It's a very hard way to learn a lesson but thank goodness he's recovering well.
I bet your nerves are in tatters. Take care xxx

Primrose Corner said...

Oh! Blimey! We spent so many nights in A&E with my son when he was small (croup) with him fighting for breathe .... I understand what you've been through. I know that we've a long way to go before we get our sons safely through their teenage years....but really that's quite made my blood run cold. That must have been so frightning. I hope you're all feeling a little calmer now.

Limecat said...

Oh you poor thing. And poor Jimmy.

Hugs.

Helen said...

Oh my goodness! How awful, you must have been out of your minds with worry. Glad to hear he's ok by now. x

Marmadaisy said...

Oh Lordy! I only just read this, I'm a bit behind. Hugs to all, and hope he's OK.xoxoxoxox