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Can someone point me in the right direction?

Old 11-08-2010, 12:29 PM
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Can someone point me in the right direction?

I've posted here about my wife and that's going much better. She's still working on things but overall family life has MUCH improved with her decision not to drink as much as she was. I'm very grateful for that and for everyone's help here in getting to where we are.

But now the issue is with my father-in-law. Health-wise he's been in bad shape for the last few months but it's gotten to the point where his alcohol-induced medical issues are very serious. He finally went to the doctor today, not so much for him but for all of us, and he was told that he has severe congestive heart failure, his liver's failing, his kidneys are getting ready to shut down and he's got a strangulated hernia also. The doctor apparently looked him in the face and told him he is absolutely dying. FIL is refusing rehab, says he'll switch to NA beer instead but the doctor warned against it because the DTs will kill him if he tries to do it on his own and we don't believe he'd do that anyway. Supposedly there's nothing they can do for him anymore unless the Lasix they prescribed makes a dent in the 50+ pounds of fluid he's retaining, and even then the doctor said the most they can probably do then is to prescribe pain medication to keep him comfortable in what's to come.

I have two issues here, and I think one of them is beyond the scope of the forum. Does anyone know of someplace on the 'net where I can get more info on what's going to happen with him health-wise, or a place where other people have dealt with this? Everything I've found on all of his medical issues talks about possible treatment for the problems or the underlying cause but doesn't say anything about what happens when treatment isn't possible or sought (progression, timelines etc.).

And what do I say to my wife? She's currently out of state for work and her mom will be telling her the news shortly. I'm afraid she's going to be freak out and want to come home ASAP but that isn't going to happen without jeapordizing her job and she's scheduled to be there 2 1/2 weeks more. I'm also worried about her dealing with this while dealing with her own alcohol issues. That may not be such a problem with being where she is, no transportation of her own and working 6 days a week but when she gets back...yeah, I'm not looking forward to that. She lost her uncle (father's brother) to alcohol in July and her grandmother in August, both anticipated deaths, and I don't know how to help her deal with facing yet another death in the family. *sigh* Any words of wisdom, at least?
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Old 11-08-2010, 12:46 PM
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hi evenkeel-

if i was dying from alcohol-induced illness, i would detox with green juices. get a good juicer and drink fruits and vegetables. the body can and will heal itself with proper nutrition.

it is unlikely, tho, that an alcoholic will get off the drink and go on juices. the medical community will not be able to save him. they will only pump the fluid out of him and give him librium to come down. this does not save anyone.

as for your wife, i don't believe in sparing anyone from reality. i myself woud want the truth, wouldn't you?

my advice would be get a good juicer and get some nutrition into him. if he wants to live, then he can detox with juices from dark, green leafy vegetables to heal his liver and get his blood circulating.

just my opinion,
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Old 11-08-2010, 01:07 PM
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It sounds like there is very little, if anything, you or your wife could do for him at this point. I'm afraid I don't have any suggestions. It might be worth talking to a counselor as this must be very difficult for you both. My condolences to your situation.
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Old 11-08-2010, 01:11 PM
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I only offer my own experiences healthwise, this is what happened to my brother.

He once or twice tried to 'detox' by himself. He had audio and visual hallicunations, he developed paranoia, he became violent towards his partner.

Later, he lost all control of his bodily functions, he was so weak that my parents insisted he went to stay with them for a while, he fell out of bed and spent the night on the floor because he was too weak to call for help. (and I mean weeks later, not a long time)

Then he just stopped eating or drinking anything (he hadn't drunk alcohol for a month before because he just couldn't keep it inside him)

Then his body gave in completely.

If it was my father I'd want to know, and make my own decision about what to do.
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Old 11-08-2010, 01:20 PM
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Oh, she knows, her mom said she wanted to tell her herself. My wife just called and she is EXTREMELY upset. She wants to come home really badly but can't unless there's a death in the family....and at this point, it pains me to think that that might just happen in the 16 days before she's scheduled to come home. The really frustrating part is no one knows or could even hazard a guess. I'm really at a loss as to what to say to her overall. She's so far away and I'm frustrated beyond belief that I can't at least give her a hug right now.

The doctor has said there's really no hope in trying to detox him. They can't try to drain his liver or do any other kind of procedures because his heart is so weak. He can't even have any medications besides the Lasix because his body simply won't metabolize them and because of possible side effects with his heart. The edema in his legs is so bad that it's sweating out through his pores and his heart is double the size it's supposed to be. DTs would definitely kill him so no one's even pushing for him to quit drinking anymore-he's simply too far gone physically, it would take a liver and a heart transplant to get him back to normal.
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Old 11-08-2010, 01:26 PM
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I think theres always a reason for the way things happen.
On the day my brother died my mum was supposed to be looking after all 3 of my kids.
Joe, my brothers son somehow ended up going to his other aunts for the weekend.
Dan my eldest came home for some reason I can't remember now.
James my youngest ended up going to help my aunt with her garden (and she very rarely has any of my kids)
Maybe it's your wifes HP keeping her out of things until she really needs to be there.
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Old 11-08-2010, 01:40 PM
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Originally Posted by LucyA View Post
I think theres always a reason for the way things happen.
On the day my brother died my mum was supposed to be looking after all 3 of my kids.
Joe, my brothers son somehow ended up going to his other aunts for the weekend.
Dan my eldest came home for some reason I can't remember now.
James my youngest ended up going to help my aunt with her garden (and she very rarely has any of my kids)
Maybe it's your wifes HP keeping her out of things until she really needs to be there.
It's funny you should say that...she went out of town for work the last time while hospice was involved with her grandmother in August. She had hemmed and hawed about going but finally decided grandma was stable enough so she went. She took a turn for the worse while my wife was gone. Her mom and I debated about how much to tell her about grandma's prognosis but ended up telling her everything. She was a wreck that time, also. Grandma passed away the Wednesday after she got back.

I think there is a reason for it, and I'm glad for it if it serves a purpose, but I don't know what to say to her in the meantime, how to try to make her feel better or something...
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Old 11-08-2010, 06:13 PM
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Ugh. That poor man. I am so sorry he is suffering so much. I know this sounds horrible but I pray he goes quickly. Though I doubt he will. This makes me want to cry because I know this is exactly what is going to happen to my Dad It is a long, slow, and painful death for the alcoholic.

I do not know of any resources that can help you, other than to search here on SR for CashFan's threads about what she was going through with her husband.

(((hugs)))
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Old 11-08-2010, 06:59 PM
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Hi Evenkeel,
Sorry for all this suffering in your family.
Try webmd. I find that site good. I would imagine here on SR, there would be a lot about it in Friends and Family forums.
I would say one thing that I know, I know nothing!
Everyone is different. I work in the med field and it is strange how things go.
That is why I was happy to see Lucy's posts addressing just that.
When he becomes unable to drink, he will heal a little. Up/down/up/down.
He may have bleeding. He has the CHF already. This is manageable but he is not cooperating, so that is moot. They may try to drain the fluid for comfort but it builds up again and he is prone to bleeding so not w/o risks and also the "fluid shift" of removing liters of fluid can be precarious. He may be denied entry to ICU as he is actively drinking. He may become unconscious and be treatable but he will just go back to the old drink. You may also look up liver cancer on the web as they are similar in end stages. Look up, end stage cirrhosis. Do not however get your MD by reading web furiously and stick to reputable sites. Be sensible about what people outside tell you. There may be restlessness/confusion/delirium. This would be very difficult to be around. I have had to ask family to step out as their anxiety can make their loved one worse. The best ones are the ones who can just come in, sit down and be calm. Also limit in/out/in/out as this bothers them also.

To your wife, I would just call her regularly and keep her informed. It is difficult being away during family crises and one can feel left out. Knowledge is power as they say. If you don't tell her what is going on, she will imagine it. Let her talk and just be nice I suppose. Let her have input and acknowledge any advice/opinions.
Try to organize a rota system for visits so nobody gets too tired.

Your FIL sounds like he would like to live (NA beer) but is too far in to make a change at this point.

Sorry for big rambling post.
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Old 11-08-2010, 08:30 PM
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Thanks everyone, especially Hollyanne. I've done some more research and am struggling to accept that there's no way for anyone to really guess how long he could be around. For now I've accepted that it's all degenerative and there's absolutely nothing anyone can do to make him better. My mother-in-law decided that when it comes to where he can't walk anymore he'll stay at home and they'll call hospice in. Unfortunately, he's very nearly there right now. He can't bend his knees but a few degrees and his feet are so swollen he can't even get socks on anymore. It hurts him a lot in many areas of his body to walk. He goes back Wednesday for a recheck after a few days of the Lasix so we may know more then. The doctor said if the Lasix works it's really only delaying the inevitable at this point, though.

We all knew he was in bad shape but now that we know HOW bad of shape...*sigh* I'm afraid of what will happen when he can't walk and my mother-in-law is torn about bringing him the beer, knowing if she does she'll kill him a little more with each can and if she doesn't the DTs would probably kill him also. Her uncle followed the exact same path he's on and they called hospice at the same time, when he couldn't walk. He died less than 2 weeks later.

I just feel like I want to bawl. I have a so many emotions and conflicting thoughts going through me right now. Frustration, anger and sadness mostly. I am SO ANGRY with him for doing this to himself, but mostly to the family. It's SO SELFISH that it makes me want to scream. His attitude about the whole thing makes us all want to scream. I'm frustrated with the idea of playing "the waiting game" again, so soon after grandma and her uncle, and that my wife's 1500 miles away when she really just wants to be home and I want her home. And sad...just very sad about all of it....
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Old 11-08-2010, 08:45 PM
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I really don't want to sound cruel, but...the man is dying. He cannot be saved. If he wants to drink a beer, let him. It kind of goes along with the "doing what we can to keep him as comfortable as possible until the end." Denying him a drink now wouldn't serve any purpose at all.

My father died in much the same way. He was so yellow and bloated we couldn't even see his knees or ankles. By the time all that happens, it's too late to save them. If he wants a beer, let him have it.

Is there any possible way she can explain to her employer that her father is dying and she wants to be with him? Surely there is some way they can allow her to have this time with him.
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Old 11-11-2010, 05:16 PM
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Update...

My father-in-law is in the hospital as of yesterday for an infection and DTs. Apparently he cut way down on his alcohol on Monday and by Tuesday evening he was showing signs of DTs with a high fever. This evening they have the infection under control and the docs told him tomorrow he'll either have to transfer to the behavioral health unit to finish detoxing and manage the DTs or go home. He won't go to the BHU, so we're waiting to see if they'll actually boot him out tomorrow. He needs to be an inpatient for at least a few more days so he can be monitored and have people available to react if something goes wrong (his heart stopped four times the last time he detoxed) but he won't have any of it. He feels better so he wants to go home and he's convinced that he can manage on his own. He was also told that his liver is almost completely shut down and all things considered his liver will not regenerate nor is he a candidate for transplant.

So, we're waiting for something to change. My wife was told that she could come home but she's waiting to see if anyone puts a time frame on things before deciding to leave early. I told her I'd support whatever decision she made but she's caught between wanting to be home with him and not wanting to be there for the detox again if she can help it. Right now we're somewhere between hour-by-hour and day-by-day because everything is so uncertain overall. *sigh* I took the kids to see him tonight. He looks okay except for his yellow-ness and he was in a better mood than he's been for months, even cracking a few jokes. Unfortunately the only other thing that's improved is losing a little fluid from his legs. Everything else is the same or worse and we're all caught between wanting to cheer him on in detoxing and trying to talk him out of it because of the possibility of detoxing killing him sooner. I just wish something would change to take some of the uncertainty away...
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Old 11-11-2010, 05:23 PM
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Originally Posted by suki44883 View Post
I really don't want to sound cruel, but...the man is dying. He cannot be saved. If he wants to drink a beer, let him. It kind of goes along with the "doing what we can to keep him as comfortable as possible until the end." Denying him a drink now wouldn't serve any purpose at all.

My father died in much the same way. He was so yellow and bloated we couldn't even see his knees or ankles. By the time all that happens, it's too late to save them. If he wants a beer, let him have it.
Yep, that's about the long and short of it. He says he's determined to at least cut down but in reality it's never going to happen in the long term. We're wondering why in the heck he's even trying and we are sort of glad he is but if he wants the beer back, no one's going to tell him no...
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Old 11-11-2010, 06:31 PM
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Evenkeel, what are you doing to take care of your SELF?
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Old 11-13-2010, 05:20 PM
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Originally Posted by Learn2Live View Post
Evenkeel, what are you doing to take care of your SELF?
Me? You mean in amongst keeping this household running all by myself, working 30 hours a week and being supportive to my wife and in-laws? lol No, actually I'm relaxing as much as possible with books and funny stuff online, focusing on doing fun things with the boys, doing some baking and cooking, spoiling the dogs (we have four chihuahuas)...and most importantly not worrying too much about what "could" happen and dwelling on current circumstances. I got some really good financial news yesterday which has taken a load off of my shoulders and makes this all seem not so overwhelming. When I'm stressed, clutter and disorganization bother me (more than usual) but I'm highly motivated to fix it so I've been indulging that also, something I don't usually do because I've been known to reorganize and declutter so much my wife can't find things anymore. lol

I have accepted that this is going to be day-by-day. I'm doing whatever I can to get through each day with a minimum of stress.
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Old 11-13-2010, 05:45 PM
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I have no room to advise this because I am horrible about it myself, but daily exercise is really important for keeping stress at bay. It does sound like you are living a full life, which I'm glad to hear. Thanks for the response. Take good care of yourself
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