Thursday, 2 October 2008

Lecture Failure!

Continued from Friday 26th September........

I realised that my son must have been hooked up to an ECG machine, which explained the stickers all over his chest and that the sticking plaster was covering the site where some of his blood had been taken. I felt quite bewildered and all I could manage to say was 'Why?'

Apparently, student son and his friends had been in a club, but had gone outside for a while, because 2 of them wanted a cigarette. They were not allowed to take their drinks with them, and had to leave them on one of the tables inside the club. When they returned, my son picked up his drink, finished it and collapsed. One of his friends called an ambulance and accompanied him to the hospital, whilst his other friends followed in a taxi.

Student son came round, as he was being put into the ambulance by the paramedics. One of them asked for the telephone number of anyone he wanted notified of his hospital admission, but student son was able to think clearly enough to decide that he didn't want his parents at the hospital, so he gave them his own mobile number. (This explained why we had not been contacted, then!) The hospital monitored him throughout the night and discharged him the following morning, when they were satisfied that he was alright.

After I'd recovered a little from the impact of these revelations, we discussed the possible reasons for student son's collapse. He and his friends felt that his drink had been spiked. I couldn't help but wonder whether he had simply drunk more than his body could cope with, as he is very slim and probably of less than average height. The hospital was unable to offer any explanation for student son's collapse.

My husband and I gave my son a(nother) lecture about the dangers of alcohol abuse, and leaving his drink unattended, before he returned to university that evening. My son doesn't often have the opportunity to go out, because he is kept busy with lectures and placements, but I suspect that on a lot of the occasions he goes drinking, he has too much. Most of the places catering for students offer cheap alcohol. The club my son and his friends had been in, on the fateful evening, was 'students only' and had been selling beer for a £1 per pint. I knew that my student son was intending to go to a party the following Friday evening, so I reminded him a couple of times, over the telephone, during the next week, that he needed to cut down his alcohol intake at the party.

My husband and I were late going to bed, on the night of the party and were watching the end of a film on tv, at 12.30am, when my middle son came into the room, saying that he had just had a conversation with student son, on his mobile 'phone. Middle son had kept student son talking, as he walked home from the pub', where the party had been held. He had realised that student son was a bit 'the worse for wear', so he felt that he should keep him talking until he was safely inside his student house. After a few minutes of talking, middle son remarked that it was taking student son a long time to get back to the house. 'Yes, I know' said student son. 'It's taking ages.'

'Why is it taking so long?' asked middle son, who needed to go to sleep, as he was working the next day.

'Cos I can't walk in a straight line!' said student son.

I smiled weakly, through my despair. That was another lecture that had fallen on deaf ears, then.


aims said...

Well yes. Everyone will tell you university is for drinking. Did you think it was for getting a higher education? Tsk tsk...what we pay good money for these days and you were hoping for knowledge.

He'll have to learn on his own - you know that. Some of us learn from our mistakes the first time around. Others - well - no.

Irene said...

That's so worrying, isn't it, because you don't know the kind of trouble they can get into. Well, you do, when he ended up in the hospital. He could walk into a canal. All your wise words will fall on deaf ears, though, for he has to learn his own limits the hard way.

Rinkly Rimes said...

Just 'blurfing around' I came upon your very moving account of a parent's concerns. I have two middle-aged children and three small grandchildren, so I'm out of that terrifying period. But I well remember having to go through something similar with my son when he was a teen. It'll pass. And they actually turn into solid citizens!!!

Mean Mom said...

aims - Oh, silly me! I didn't go to university. Yes, I did think that he'd gone there to learn something. He HAS learnt how to spend to spend more money than he has coming in, so I suppose I should be grateful for something. (What?? No, just a minute...)

irene - You're so right. Anything could happen to him. Apart from the fact that he is damaging his body, he is also making himself vulnerable. The other students have arrived at the house, now, so he shouldn't be coming and going alone, any more, but he can't keep relying on his friends to look after him.

rinkly rimes - Thanks for calling by. You are very welcome. It is good to have your reassurances. Most of my older friends seem to have had perfect children, who never got themselves into any scrapes. Most of them have girls. I don't know whether that is the difference, or perhaps they just don't admit to having had any problems. It could be that they lived in ignorance, of course! I'm glad that your children came through it all, anyway. I can only hope for the best, then!

auntiegwen said...

Honest to God, I was a total partaaay girl when I was a student nurse and I graduated and grew up (ish)

Now in my 40's I can't drink more than 3 glasses, I'm sure he'll be fine, honest

In 2 years time when the Eldest beautiful Daughter goes off to uni, feel free to remind me of this when I am demented with worry over her !!!

much love xx

Mean Mom said...

auntiegwen - You? A party girl? Oh, surely not!

Now, if I'd had a beautiful (highly unlikely) daughter, who had gone off to uni, would I have felt any worse about it? Oooh! I don't know - possibly!

Glad you got through your student days without any major mishaps, anyway!

Suburbia said...

Very scary but what can you do ?(except worry!)

I guess he has to go through the phase and emerge, even if a little worse for wear, the other side. Sometimes it's best not to know what they're doing!!

Mean Mom said...

suburbia - You're right. It is better not to know and he is scaring me.

Robin said...

You'd think having to spend a night in a hospital would scare him at least a bit.

If I told you how much I drank through college would that scare you or reassure you.

Mean Mom said...

robin - Collapsing and spending a night in hospital would certainly scare me! The shame of it is that he is training to be a nurse!

Does everyone drink a lot at college, then? It certainly seems that all of his friends and acquaintances do, but maybe he just hangs around with people who are like him! Yes, it's sort of reassuring to know that you drank a bit, too. It's probably fairly normal, then. He needs to cut down, though.

Rose said...

Some things are the same all over the world--we have lots of problems with student drinking here in the US, too. I do feel for you, Mean Mom. When they're away at school, sometimes it's better not knowing what they're up to. It's even scarier when you have daughters.

Liz said...

Sons. Children generally. They just do not realise the stress they put us through. How many nights do we have to spend with our noses pressed against the window glass, the curtains oulled back just a little, thinking, 'should I phone the hospital yet?'

I'm glad he was all right in the end. I do hope he does remember your lectures when it really counts. BUt when they've gone on and are moving into adulthood, there's very little we can do.

Mean Mom said...

rose - Yes, drinking has become the latest fashion and no habitual drinker, no matter what their age, seems to care that it may affect their health, both currently and in the long term.

Sometimes, I do find myself thinking 'I wish he hadn't told me that'.

liz - I can only hope that student son secretly takes some notice of me, even though he pretends that he doesn't!!

A Mother's Place is in the Wrong said...

I can't believe how long it's taken me to catch up with you!! This one really hit home with me though, because of my two children/Students (when they were) and their excess drinking. I did despair too. Daughter was "saved" by the arrival of Grandson when she was 22 - no kidding - and I think Son still drinks too much on occasion (like weekends!).
I sympathise and empathise. M :-(

Mean Mom said...

a mother's place - I do wonder whether student son's liver will be pickled prematurely. It is fashionable to drink too much, unfortunately and these student places are cheap! What a relief it must have been to realise that yours had mostly grown out of it. A lot of men, in particular, never seem to see the light!!