During a meeting between myself and Dave and his social worker, it was determined that he would need someone to be with him for the few days following his release. I knew I wouldn't be able to stay with him - I had to work and there was no way around it. We both shared the same thought that the best person to ask to be with him, despite the fact that she lived in Florida, was his Mom.
I sent an email to her asking for her help and almost immediately she booked a flight to Denver. Wanting to keep her arrival a surprise, we made no mention to Dave that his mom was on her way. Tuesday morning she arrived at the airport and I was able to meet her at her gate, thanks to my handy dandy job at the airport. It allowed us some time to discuss the situation and how we would be handling the next few days.
That evening the kids and I picked up his mom from where she was staying until his release, and we headed out for another visit with Dad, hoping to see him walk into the room on his own, freed from his wheelchair. We signed in, put on our yellow VISITORS badges, and waited excitedly for Dad's arrival in the cafeteria. His mom hid in the corridor where she could make a good surprise entrance.
After a few minutes a nurse entered the room, followed by Dave, who again wheeled himself up to the table. While there was a little disappointment again that he was still using the wheels, we were relieved that he seemed more with it that night. He grinned a sleepy grin and greeted the kids, and as he did so a mysterious pair of arms engulfed him from behind and held him tight.
Best he could, he turned to the right and came face to face with his mom. He reached up with his slow, still-trembling hands and held onto her arms and they embraced each other. "Hi Mom!" were the words he said as tears burst from his eyes. There were mumbled words shared between the two while they cried together, and the kids and I waited patiently until they let go of each other.
We spent the next hour listening to more of his silly stories, humorous and touching encounters he had with the hospital staff, and how he was attending meeting after meeting, learning all about his addiction and most importantly, how to overcome it.
He was finally released on Thursday, a week after he was admitted. What should have taken three to five days took a whole week, mainly because he couldn't walk. If he had a seizure as they expected, it really did a number on his body and his system. We arrived Thursday expecting our usual visit, but when the nurse came in he informed us that Dave was being released and was almost finished with the processing.
Finally upright but still a bit wobbly, he walked out of the hospital and back into the real world. We all squeezed into my little car, grateful that there were enough seat belts for the five of us, and headed to his home so that he could begin to rebuild life. Again.
Three more partial days at the hospital followed; more groups, more meetings. Each night he came back with something to share, whether it was how he continued to learn about his alcoholism, activities they did that enriched his extremely low self-esteem, or healthy ways he planned on beating his triggers.
There has been a sense of pride within him that has been absent for far too long. Although it is extremely early, I am proud of the work he has done. Anger still exists within me and doubt remains; however, I will do whatever I can to continue to help in his recovery.
During this time while he is still vulnerable and fragile, I am also finding ways for me and the kids to be prepared should a relapse occur. Childcare is being arranged so that I'm not caught so off-guard like I was last week.
The kids are hopeful and proud of their dad, and they are grateful for the "old" Daddy to be back again. They enjoy seeing him excited about making this change, but threads of doubt remain in them as well, although they will never show it.
I relinquished my hope for a successful recovery long ago, but I have found that it must be renewed in order for us to all work together to help get him healthy. Here's to hope, prayer, good vibrations, whatever. We need him healthy and we need him strong. He needs it within himself more than ever.