My husband, 53, most certainly has cirrhoses. He has been drinking for 35 years. 1 1/2 years ago he began drinking very, heavily and then began a series of hospitalizations for detoxes, seizures, varicese, esophogeal bleeding, etc. I took his alcohol away just before his last and final rehab (we had planned an intervention and workshop to educate the family and friends) and I wanted him to attend, if possible. He went into DT's and I took him to the ER. After 15 days in the hospital, he was barely well enough to get on a plane to rehab. His doctors said he almost died there. His bone marrow was damaged and liver enzymes were "off the charts". The rehab was not successfull as he never made it to the first step of the 12 steps...
He is back to drinking 1/2 gallon of hard alcohol per 12 hours all day long. Abdomen swollen, edema in the feet and ankles. Difficulty sleeping at night but sleeping a lot in the day. Strangely, his appetite is very good now, after not eating for weeks. He is refusing any hospitalization or treatment, even after a recent episode of vomiting large quantities of blood over 8 hour period, followed by a seizure. His mentation is still fairly good except when drunk.
The family and I have exhausted all possibilities. I have consulted with God, a minister and a bioethicists (sp?) for counsel as I am the only one left to make decisions and must live with my choices forever.
MY QUESTIONS, please, please:
1. How much longer does he have to live in this state?
2. What physical problems should I prepare myself for next?
3. Is there any way to get blood drawn privately here at home and have his enzymes tested? He will refuse to go to the doctor.
4. What will utimately kill him?
5. Should I withhold alcohol again and risk another withdrawal/DT's? Our insurance will not conver any more detoxes.
I have made my peace with my higher power, and through aa and alanon have found a new life for myself, but it is a daily nightmare to watch my once-vibrant husband disappear. His 2 children will no longer be in his life, nor will any of the many friends who rallied to help him when we offered him help those several times.
Thank you for any answers you can give me. I watched 2 parents die from cancer in their homes, but they had no choice in the way they wanted to die.
Hi there. I am so sorry to know what you are going through. It is tough and there is no way to really know how long he will last. I am a nutritionist and have dealt with people with cancer, cirrhosis, kidney failure, diabetes, etc., and have learned that even when many times they seem OK, from one moment to another, they could be gone.
I had a patient who drank two straight years after her husband left her and she didn't make it. Her cirrhosis was quite advanced and there was not much left to do, but make her comfortable and I had to give her enteral nutrition. Her family was always there with her and that is what helped her the most go through life.
A dear friend of us, well he was like a family member, survived almost 10 years with prostrate cancer thanks to a vaccine he administered himself, and a few days before he passed away, I told him he had to fight, that he had promised my brother and I that he would fight, but he only asked why. In that moment I thought, one may want them to go on living, but he was quite tired and wanted simply to rest. So when he passed away, I was sad of seeing him go, but I also knew it was fair to let him go.
Also, my father-in-law has acute renal failure and he has gone through so much and the doctors said that the last time he was in the hospital, he wouldn't make and he did. He is quite well and he's even making plans for the new year.
I know it's hard, but try to make him feel comfortable and just be there for him, and prepare yourself to let him go when it's God's will.
My prayers go out to your husband and you, family and friends.
Thank you for your kind comments and wishes. You were very helpful.
I am curious about your patient with advanced cirrhosis. How did you know it was advanced? Was she still drinking to the end? Did she have a liver biopsy to determine the level of cirrhosis, or were the doctors able to make that diagnoses based on other factors?
Also, being a nutritionist, I am sure your are famliar with the effects of a lack of thiamine and niacin and their role in mental functioning, so I was curious if, since he refuses to take any supplements, and continues to drink so heavily, how soon should I expect to see the "wet brain" syndrome of Warneke's Korsakoffs syndrome?
Sorry for all the questions, but if any of your out there have shared these experiences, I am desparate for information.
Thanks again, and best wishes for your new year.
Hello again. Since she was in a state hospital, they only ran liver enzymes and bilirubin, and she had jaundice, hepatomegaly (swollen abdomen) and she her nutritious state was bad. The thiamine and the niacin have to do with the mental functioning, but they first are mainly affected by liver function. And as I told you before, there is not really a way of knowing how long they would last. Look at this woman, she only drank for two straight years and ended up in the hospital with low chances of survival.
Also, my aunt was diagnosed with cirrhosis many years ago (like 15 or 18 years ago) and she never suffered from jaundice or anything, and up to this day, she eats normally and there is no sign she is sick. But with her I suspect she never had any liver problems since her liver tests were always normal, so who really knows.
I think that you shouldn't worry about if he has this or that, but to make him feel comfortable and just be there for him.
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