Wet Brain or Wernicke-Koraskoff syndrome

I promised I would write more about ‘Wet Brain’

I am not an expert and have no medical training, everything I write is from experience and things I have learnt along this journey.

The first time I heard about it was about 7 or 8 years ago. Faith was living with me and drinking fairly heavily.  (This was before I put the no alcohol rule in my house)

He had an appointment at the hospital to check his liver and to meet for the first time the alcohol nurse.  A lovely doctor spoke to him about the damage his liver was starting to show,  but it was still reversible if he stopped drinking. Now wouldn’t that be just great “if he stopped drinking”

Next it was the alcohol nurse.  He had a long chat with Faith, took notes and suggested for the first time rehab.  Now that was a word I liked :-D.  But,  there were long waiting lists and he wanted Faith to try and stop on his own to show he really wanted to stop.  Places were few and there were people in more need of a place than Faith. There we go, another glimmer of hope which is quickly extinguished,  I struggle to contain the tears.

He arranges another appointment and we walk out of his office.  He stood and watched us walk down the corridor.  I remember wondering at the time what he was thinking.

He called down the corridor for us to come back.

Back in his office he tells us why he has called us back. The reason he watched Faith walk away was because he was concerned Faith could be suffering from Wet brain or Wernicke-Koraskoff syndrome to give it its official name. It affects more men than women. One of the symptoms is staggering or an irregular gait. Faith had that symptom. If untreated it can lead to death quite quickly. Very scary stuff, Faith at this time was in his early twenties.

But the positive was, he wanted to get Faith into rehab, and quickly. So, although the diagnosis was frightening, finally someone was taking it seriously and doing something to help .

I thought it was the answer to my prayers, my son would be saved. How naive I was.

Within 2 weeks Faith had his first stay in rehab. 10 days. It wasn’t long enough of course and within 3 weeks of coming out, he was back drinking.

I have listed below some of the symptoms of Wernicke-Koraskoff syndrome

  • Remembering things that haven’t happened (confabulation)
  • Staggering, irregular gait and other muscle coordination issues.
  • Inability to form new memories.
  • Visual and auditory hallucinations.
  • Confusion.
  • Double vision, eye lid drooping and abnormal eye movements.

Source: Wet Brain: End Stage Alcoholism | Recovery Connection

For more information, please follow the link below.



Did my son really need Resusitation?

IMG_0616.JPGI knew the respite would not last for long. I thought it would end when Faiths girlfriend had enough and went back home. But that wasn’t the case.

I had a phone all at work from Faiths girlfriend, she sounded distraught, I had trouble understanding what had happened. What I grasped was Faith had been at the doctors, he fitted while he was there, he had another fit in the ambulance. He is now in resus , they are working on him, “they had to revive him”

OK, so remember I’m at work. My boss and close colleagues know about Faith. They don’t know how to deal with it. I don’t want them to make exceptions, I don’t want Faith to have any effect on my work life. I have been here so many times, I don’t up and leave, it would have happened so many times if I did. But I have never heard those words before “they had to revive him”

I try to put things in perspective, he has been blue lighted to hospital a fair few times. I know how alcoholics exaggerate, I’m sure they didn’t need to revive him, they never let relatives in while they are trying to stabilise someone. There is no point rushing there, I couldn’t do anything, he is in good hands. Work is ridiculously busy due to Easter, it wouldn’t go down well if I left now. And ….. I am trying to step back.

I knew it didn’t go down well with his girlfriend, but hey, this is exactly what you do to your parents! She thought I didn’t care when I said can you keep me updated.

So I carried on working, one eye on my phone. I hold a pretty responsible job and could make a mistake which could cost my company thousands, it was hard keeping my concentration. I called her again, she still wasn’t allowed in.

When I get home I finally hear he is OK, in fact “would you like to talk to him” How could he be so ill then able to talk to me? I decide I won’t go and see him, tonight was my only night of the week where I go and do my thing, I’m too tired to go. He has impacted on my life again.

A little insight into why he gets so ill.

Faith has been drinking for over a month. As I know only too well his body starts to reject the alcohol, he starts being sick. Because in the end he can’t keep alcohol down he goes into withdrawal. That is why he had a fit.

I will explain more next time, I did say I would talk about wet brain, tonight Faith is still in hospital, I have just had a lovely conversation with him, he told me all about the long walk he had today, about being on a bus, the bargain burger the lovely lady served him, he doesn’t know why his girlfriend changed her name, all while he has been safe in hospital.

Thank you wonderful hospital staff, I don’t know how you do it. I hope he sleeps tonight, I know how difficult he can be when he is confused, You have the patience of saints, where would we both be without you. From the bottom of my heart. Thank you.

Tomorrow I will visit him ,

Tonight my only positive thought is

I know they will keep him safe 

And so here we are again…………………………

life repeating

I haven’t been here for a while.

I have been having a sense of normality. A normal life.

We visited the doctor and Faith was given some tablets to help him detox. That was Thursday last week, but I was going away Friday and I am supposed to be in charge of his tablets. He needed to detox, I needed my week end away, So we just didn’t tell the doctor. I think if we had she wouldn’t have given Faith the tablets. I wouldn’t have gone with him to the doctors if I didn’t believe he was safe medicating himself.

So I went away, I was aware all week end of what he was going through but managed to put it to the back of my mind. We did stay in contact so that I knew he was OK, but I did try hard to forget for a while.

And he did it, on his own, so we have had a whole week and a bit sober. He was back, this son of mine.

Thanks to some lovely people who have contacted me, he has found some online support which I know has helped him immensely. But I know he needs to go to meetings and get that face to face support.

So I spoke to him Thursday. He’s been unable to attend any of his support groups due to yet another red tape mess up. I knew he was struggling, that sixth sense, so suggested he went to an afternoon AA meeting which I know he has been to before. He replied he might.

Well he didn’t go, Friday he called me, I had a drink. Yeah well that’s no shock, I did say to him “if you had gone to that meeting Faith you might well be sober now” He replied “Yes I know”

So here we are again, he asked to come back to my house. This time I did say “remember my new rule, if you do come here you have to attend AA meetings”. Yes I will when I’m feeling better, I’m not well enough to attend a meeting. I replied that maybe he wasn’t well enough but, he had been, and he hadn’t gone. I know this is where I have got to get tougher again.

So last night he was here in his room. He is frightened, he’s confused, doesn’t know what day it is, he cries, he knows all about wet brain, as do I, this is concerning, but then Faiths whole life is concerning. There’s not much I can say other than if he stops drinking now he could be OK.

Today I had to go out again, I refuse to let his illness impact my life totally. I try to minimise the chaos.

He called me many times but I had my phone on silent. I did call him twice calming him.

When I came home I wasn’t convinced he hadn’t had a drink, I checked his bag, I can’t check everywhere in his room, He swore he hadn’t, he said it was just the confusion. I’m not convinced but can’t prove otherwise.

As I have sat here writing this he has come downstairs and walked out of the front door.

Just gone,  into the night, this oh so thin, oh so sick, gentle guy and I didn’t stop him. I now know he was drinking today.

There is nothing I can do, I am helpless over alcohol.

I just pray one day he will learn that lesson.

And so here we go again…………………