A bby Oct 7
Posted in the Chicago Forum
Since: Jun 09
#1 Oct 7, 2012
DEAR ABBY: My Aunt "Betty," with whom I have always been close, is 68 and retired. She is abusing prescription drugs and spends several days a week passed out or confused -- sometimes hallucinating. I rarely call her anymore because all she does is mumble and make odd comments. Sometimes she passes out on the phone.
My uncle is in denial. He comes from a generation where family problems are kept within the family. He refuses to seek professional treatment for her or get her into detox. Caring for Aunt Betty is affecting his health, but he refuses to budge.
Please don't tell me to notify her doctor -- I already tried. Aunt Betty is an accomplished manipulator and doctor shops until she finds new doctors who load her up when the old ones won't cooperate. She does have genuine health issues that require meds, but her doctors have said she would never be stoned if she used them properly.
Confronting my aunt when she's coherent only makes her angry. She denies she's abusing drugs because "they are all prescription." My mom is dead and I'm worried about my aunt and uncle's health. Help!-- DESPERATE NIECE IN FLORIDA
DEAR DESPERATE: Start calling your aunt more often, because addiction is an illness and denial is one of the symptoms. Older people do react differently to medications than younger ones do, and a dose that might be tolerated when someone is middle-aged can be too great for a senior.
Because your uncle isn't able to insist that your aunt get professional help, allow me to offer a suggestion. The next time she passes out during one of your phone conversations, do what you'd normally do if someone else lost consciousness while talking to you. Call 911. When she winds up in the emergency room, her doctor will be alerted about the overdose. It would be a first step in seeing her get the help she needs.
story continues below
P.S. There's a common misconception among older people that because a drug is "prescription" it's somehow not addictive. And your aunt isn't the first person to fall into this trap.
DEAR ABBY: Our wedding plans have taken a sudden turn. My fiancee, "Carolyn," has a wealthy father with a reputation for being an extreme tightwad. Carolyn was profoundly touched when he offered to pay for most of the wedding expenses.
Last night, Carolyn's mother confessed to us that Carolyn's father is not paying for the wedding. He is deducting the expenses from Carolyn's inheritance from her grandmother.(The father is executor of her grandmother's estate.) He has no idea that his wife told Carolyn, and we're sworn to secrecy because she will get into "deep, deep trouble" if he finds out she told.
To make matters worse, he has the gall to make demands about the wedding as if he was paying for it himself.
Carolyn is so deeply hurt by this deception that she doesn't even want her parents to attend the wedding. All of the joy has gone out of the wedding for her -- and therefore, for me as well.
Abby, how do you think we should handle this?-- FLUMMOXED FIANCE IN NEW YORK
DEAR FLUMMOXED FIANCE: I think you should elope.
Since: Jun 09
#2 Oct 7, 2012
Depending on how grandma's will is written, the dad could be perfectly within his rights to use teh inheritance to fund a wedding. But if there is enough money to do this, there will be an attorney as well as an executor involved. You could ask that way but whichever way it sorts out, there will be a family breach over money.
Elope was a snarky answer, but Pay for it yourself, is equally valid
L1You can try calling 911, assuming Aunt Betty hung up the phone or LW has 2 lines, but the uncle can shoo them away.
Not sure if it would work but try an elder abuse hotline or, if she always gets her meds from one drug store, ask the pharmacist to monitor how much is being dispensed
#3 Oct 7, 2012
When Aunt Betty is passed out, has LW1 considered calling the police to revive her?
LW2's father-in-law is giving New York a bad name. At least LW2 can take steps towards building
a better life for Carolyn and himself apart from her father.
Since: Mar 09
#4 Oct 7, 2012
L2: I don't think Abby's answer is snarky, to me it just came out as snappy. And good advice. Whether it's legally allowed per the terms of the inheritance or not, Carolyn's dad is a douchebag using grandpa's money to make himself look like a hero.
#5 Oct 7, 2012
LW1: Auntie definitely needs to go to detox before she passes out and doesn't wake up. I'm not sure how you get her there when your uncle is in denial. I know they can do 72-hour holds for psychiatric patients, so maybe you can take that route. When you call 911, tell them she's hallucinating and not in her right mind.
LW2: I understand why Carolyn is upset, but I think the couple should handle it by thanking tightwad Dad for his "generous" offer and then stating that they've decided to have a very simple wedding and pay for it themselves. That solves the problem of Dad making demands. Then plan a beautiful ceremony with the people you care about and forget about the money and the drama. Focus on the positive.
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