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Should I take in "dying" ex-husband (again)?

Old 12-28-2008, 09:32 PM
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Should I take in "dying" ex-husband (again)?

I am struggling with a very painful situation - my ex-AH has end stage cirrhosis and I am trying to decide whether I should let him come home, again. We were married for 23 years, now divorced since January of 2007. He was diagnosed with cirrhosis in July of 2007 and spent 2 months in the hospital before I brought him home,where he stayed for 4 months before making a truly miraculous recovery. He then (at my suggestion) moved out again, dove back into the bottle, and now is at death's door again. He is having paracentesis procedures approximately every 3 weeks, each time about 13 LITERS of fluid is removed. He is skin and bones and extremely weak. Presently, he lives alone in a 3rd floor apartment. Despite his condition, he somehow manages to get to the liquor store and has been drunk the past two days, not to mention all of the other times.

We have two grown children, ages 23 and 20. Our daughter, the 20 year old, is taking this extremely hard, and I want to do what I can to ease her pain, so that at least she knows her dad is being taken care of and isn't lying dead on the floor of his apartment. I get along pretty well (considering), with my ex, but the thought of going through this again with him fills me with dread. He looks like a walking corpse, and is unappreciative and rude. Last year when he was in the hospital, I was there every day, when he stayed with me, I ran myself ragged taking him to the transplant hospital in another city, to his doctors here, cleaning up after him at home, and living with a dry drunk who acted like he resented the hell out of me no matter what I did for him. He feels like I "owe" him everything because I got half of his retirement in our divorce.

My questions are this: HOW DO I KNOW IF HE'S REALLY NEAR DEATH? He appears to be in horrible shape, but he pulled through this last year. Since we're divorced, I can't ask his doctor. I really do care about him, but I can't face MONTHS of living with this again! There is no other family that can take him in. Am I awful for not wanting to do this again, especially since he's still drinking?

Thanks for any advice,
redhot
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Old 12-28-2008, 10:23 PM
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Well this is a tough one. I'm only giving you my opinion so please take it for what it's worth. You know honestly it doesn't seem to me like you owe this person anything. It seems you are justified in letting this guy play out the end of his days on his own terms. It's going to make you really unhappy to take care of this person. Then again your kids may be very unhappy if you don't. What makes you most happy? Whatever it is you are justified in doing it. It your children's happiness is more important to you than your own, take care of him. If not I would let him be. Put yourself first whatever decision you make. That's what I would do. Good luck. This isn't an easy one.
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Old 12-28-2008, 10:28 PM
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Sweetie, only you can decide whether to take him in or not. Can you think of any other alternatives? Can he stay in a hospice? I wish I had some good advice for you but I don't. It sounds like you are stuck somewhere between guilt and resentment and that's a tough spot to be in. My thoughts are with you and I hope that you make the decision that is best for you.

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Old 12-28-2008, 10:42 PM
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To has been already said I ill add, contact HOSPICE. Yes, there is one in Austin.

They are MUCH BETTER EQUIPPED to handle a situation of this type than you are.

That way, if you choose to, and only if you choose to, you can visit him, and he will be getting excellent "Pallative Care."

Palliative Care

J M H O

Before you make this decision, please check your motives thoroughly.

Love and hugs,
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Old 12-29-2008, 04:45 AM
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This is a hard choice. Perhaps contact social services in your area and find out what is available to him. Hospice care is a good option too.
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Old 12-29-2008, 08:03 AM
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I too would explore palliative care options in your community. That's what they are there for. If your 20-year-old is concerned that he's not being taken care of, in such facilities she is more than able to visit and offer support as often as she would like, in a safe situation. I certainly would not open my home - my sanctuary - to someone who was drunk, rude, unappreciative, and bent on self-destruction, no matter what my past relationship to him was. I personally am not built to take a front-row seat to someone's slow-motion suicide. (I hope that your daughter can learn more about alcoholism so that she really internalizes the fact that HIS CHOICES brought him to this point, not anyone else's) Wishing you luck with this!
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Old 12-29-2008, 01:26 PM
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the thought of taking care of him and having him back in your home fills you with dread.

i would suggest listening to you inner voice instead of following your heart.

i often found that i would do things like this (my xah was dx with aplastic anemia....supposidly) because of my own need to put myself back into the spotlight again of being "such a good woman". that's just how it was for me.

think long and hard, hon.

((((()))))
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Old 12-29-2008, 02:03 PM
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I do know I could not care for xAH if he were terminal. I do not have the emotional resources to do that for him.
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Old 12-29-2008, 04:10 PM
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Thanks for the advice...

Thank you, everyone. I talked to my xah today, and told him that I was reconsidering, especially since he is still drinking. He told me that of course, he wouldn't drink at my house, since it was a "different atmosphere," then got pissy when I asked why he drank so much in this house for the 12 years he lived here if it was so "different." He offered other explanations (all b.s.) as to why everything would be fine if he came home. I told him that I just can't face going through this again, unless there is no other option and he is truly about to die. I felt bad to be so blunt, but at least I was true to my needs.

I spoke with the nurse at his doctor's office and she told me that he can hang on for a long time, no matter how awful he looks now. I'm going to go with him to his doctor's appt. next week and see what he says and if it is indeed time for hospice care.

I really think I could handle taking care of him if he didn't treat me like he can barely stand me -I end up feeling like a chump who allows herself to be taken advantage of again and again. Also, as "embraced" noted in her post, I just love to be the martyr, the "good woman" who is admired for her sacrifice. And of course, I can't stand the thought of making other people unhappy, even if I'm miserable! What a co-dependent mess I can be!

I told my daughter my thoughts on this, and she said she just can't stand the thought of her dad dying alone. I pointed out that he is the one that has never wanted help, who allowed us to spend thousands of dollars on countless rehab attempts that did no good because, as he admits now "I didn't want to quit drinking." I also pointed out to her that the stress of the last 10 years in particular have taken a toll on me, and I'm not immune to getting sick myself from having to deal with this. She seems to understand my position.

Thanks again for all of the responses, they helped a lot!

Cheri
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Old 12-29-2008, 06:32 PM
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With end-stage liver disease often comes esophageal varices. It's a terrible event to witness and a real possibility. I witnessed my father die this way and still struggle with the memory. My daughter witnessed it, too. Perhaps before you make a decision to take care of him during his last days, it would be helpful to conduct online research on end-stage liver disease so you'd know what may be in store for you and your children if you choose to go this route.

I was not prepared for what I witnessed and it still haunts me to this day. So, when it became clear that my boyfriend was in the end stages of alcoholism I was determined not to let my daughter or myself go through that again. It's not wrong or selfish to protect yourself and your children from harm.
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Old 12-29-2008, 07:18 PM
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Agreed with FD, redhot.

Play the tape all the way through. He will most likely die, horribly, messily, in your home. I don't think even a gold medal in martyrdom is worth going through that, is it? Not to mention the fact that, if pushing himself to the brink of death isn't enough to make him stop drinking, you're wise to think that the magic fairy dust of your home won't be enough either. And once he's in, the suffering of getting him OUT of your home once he starts drinking again will make your current pain look like child's play.

Sure you can feel better about doing this if he weren't mean to you but.....isn't there something in your life/dreams/goals that your time would be better spent on?

Maybe you can care for him in HIS home if you're dead set on helping him. Hospice is one option, palliative care another, in-home nursing services.....find out what your options are, share them with your daughter if she's mature enough to participate in a decision. I'm hoping there will be a compromise here that will not put you through hell.

Hugs,
GL
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Old 12-29-2008, 08:29 PM
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Originally Posted by redhot78 View Post
I also pointed out to her that the stress of the last 10 years in particular have taken a toll on me, and I'm not immune to getting sick myself from having to deal with this.
Cheri
You just hit the nail on the head with this statement. How can you be there for the people who need you and APPRECIATE you if you have given all of your emotional resources to someone who resents you for doing it. It does make us sick. Mentally, physically, emotionally. It would be a terrible shame for your daughter to lose both of her parents to alcoholism. One as a direct result of the disease and the other as collateral damage. Take care of you.
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Old 12-29-2008, 08:47 PM
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As a home care nurse I visited many men in the condition that you describe. Most were angry and not so appreciative to have the help we offered. JMHO that it may be better to let "the professionals" get the brunt of the anger and resentment he spews at the world for the choices he has made. I bet he would qualify for home health, if not hospice. They will provide everything from nursing visits to be sure he understands and takes his meds, to a home health aide to assist with hygiene, to a PT/OT to be sure he maintains his physical mobility. They also have social workers to set him up with community resources.

I would think it okay, if he is agreeable and you desire, to accompany him to a Dr. appointment to get these services set up. Then you can have peace of mind that you've done your part. I also think it's fine to step out of it completely if you are ready to be done with it. Like kindeyes dsaid, only you can make the decision. But please make the decision best for you.
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