Feets a-dangling While the Booze Hound Sleeps
July 31, 2010 5:01 AM   Subscribe

My roommate is a pretty heavy drinker and smoker and he spends his Saturday nights passed out on the love seat in the den. His feet extend over the arm of the love seat. He sleeps on his back and I'm concerned that the pressure on his leg from the arm of the seat could cause a blood clot. Is this a real danger? Example of his position here.
posted by zzazazz to Health & Fitness (14 answers total)
I'd worry more about him choking on his tongue or his own vomit.
posted by availablelight at 5:08 AM on July 31, 2010

Are you worried about his blood clot or his heavy drinking? I ask, because one detail is irrelevant.

Or if it is relevant, alcohol is at least a blood thinner.

Also, tall people have been doing that with small couches for a long time. If the picture had shown you dangling a few 45 pound plates on his toes - well that might be a different story.
posted by Nanukthedog at 5:54 AM on July 31, 2010

I sometimes sleep like that when I'm stone cold sober. Occasionally my neck is a little sore, but I wouldn't worry about other side effects.

I am the furthest thing from a doctor.
posted by resiny at 5:59 AM on July 31, 2010

IANAD but I thought that elevating your legs above your heart was a good thing for your circulation, both in your legs and body-wide.
posted by XMLicious at 6:48 AM on July 31, 2010

FWIW I slept like that thru most of high school and the first couple years of college, sometimes I'd throw an oversized throw pillow on the arm of the love seat for extra comfort but I developed no blood clots.
posted by MrBobaFett at 6:59 AM on July 31, 2010

Passing out face up is potentially lethal. If he throws up, he could choke to death. I believe that's what killed Jimi Hendrix.

If he's just falling asleep, that's one thing, but actual passing out is a risk.
posted by musofire at 8:14 AM on July 31, 2010

I would not enjoy living with someone who drank/smoked heavily and then passed out and I wonder if this concern about blood clots is actually you looking for an excuse to say "hey dude, don't do that anymore". In that case, I think the possibility of choking on vomit is way more valid. Either way, you have my sympathies, it doesn't sound like a great situation all the way around.
posted by kate blank at 8:41 AM on July 31, 2010 [2 favorites]


Luckily for him the legs are on a couch. One thing that is a danger is that if he hangs his legs off something hard, or falls onto the hard floor in the wrong position, I have seen people cause themselves rhabdomyolysis (muscle breakdown) or compartment syndrome (from a crush injury). The craziest case we had in my ER was a guy who was hanging his head off the back of a hard chair while passed out drunk, and he actually infarcted his spinal cord and was paralyzed. So there's a whole bunch more things! And that's only the beginning of the zillions of types of badness that can befall you while extremely drunk, believe me.
posted by treehorn+bunny at 9:26 AM on July 31, 2010 [2 favorites]

When I was a fireman in Athens, Ohio I picked up a 20 year old male with what looked like foam coming from his mouth. He had drowned in his own vomit. He was on his back.
posted by JohnR at 12:30 PM on July 31, 2010 [1 favorite]

Your roommate is at high risk of choking on his own vomit. You need to put him in the recovery position.

As he's also a smoker he could quite easily burn the house down. Tell him he can't keep living with you if he continues to do this.
posted by tel3path at 1:14 PM on July 31, 2010

As he's also a smoker he could quite easily burn the house down.

OP doesn't say that the dude smokes in the house. I wouldn't assume that he does.
posted by King Bee at 1:18 PM on July 31, 2010

tel3path: "As he's also a smoker he could quite easily burn the house down. Tell him he can't keep living with you if he continues to do this."

According to the New England Journal of Medicine, which I'm going to assume we all agree is a fairly reputable source, 5.5% of house fires are directly related to smoking. The same study shows that 4.5% of fires are caused by children. You are at 1% greater risk of death in a house fire than you are living with children.

I assume you are not going to go on and suggest that people refuse to live with anyone under the age of 16.

The OP stated that the housemate is a smoker. She did not state that he smokes in the house, nor did she ask for people's input on the general implications of living with a smoker. She asked if the roomate had an increased risk of blood clots from sleeping on a couch.

It's a very clear question. If you do not know the answer, that's fine, but this question is not a soap box for your feelings about the evils of smoking.
posted by DarlingBri at 4:01 PM on July 31, 2010 [2 favorites]

All right, I was under the impression that he was often passing out while he was smoking. If he isn't, then all the OP needs to do is put him in the recovery position. This was my very clear answer to a very clear question.
posted by tel3path at 6:53 AM on August 1, 2010

Since I seem to have inadvertently caused distraction, I would like to reiterate my answer: put him in the recovery position so he doesn't choke on his own vomit.
posted by tel3path at 6:55 AM on August 1, 2010

« Older Dead Fox in the Middle of Our Yard and It's...   |   You can do magic. Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.