The Face of Death

Old 03-17-2018, 08:55 AM
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The Face of Death

AW was admitted to hospital last Tuesday. Nominally to treat bladder/urinary infection, but really for medically supervised detox.

Anyway, I've heard the first 4 days or so of detox are rough; BUT when I stopped by the hospital the other day, AW didn't recognize me (or are HS-aged child). Physically, she seemed diminished, small. Like how really old people seem to start wasting away.

Somewhat concerned, I checked with some family members who are in the medical field and they said, basically, yeah it can be like that they have alcoholic encephalopathy. In any event, she was in the hospital, where she needs to be.

Anyhow, her Dr. called me at home today. Her liver ammonia values (which weren't good when they admitted) had not improved and he was bringing in a liver specialist . Also, she apparently aspirated in the night because she was shallow breathing and so they were going to put in a naso-gastric tube to give her meds.

They were also going to "back off" the detox drugs - drugs that ease the DTs - to see if that cleared up the confusion.

In his opinion, he thought 50% of her confusion may be due to alcoholic encephalopathy 50% to the ammonia issue.

My guess/concern is AW now cirrhosis of the liver which has reached the point of "irreversibility" - and so we're on the downward slope that will lead to her eventual death from liver failure . . . even if she quits drinking and changes her lifestyle.

I don't know that yet for sure . . . but it has that "feeling" to it.

All I feel right now is sad. For our children. For her. For the coming loss of a loved one.

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Old 03-17-2018, 09:05 AM
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My exah was in this state over 4 years ago but is still limping along. He's got end stage liver failure, severe pancreatic disease, kidney failure, a constant internal bleed they cannot repair, his electrolytes are all over the place causing dizziness and him to be off balance and he cannot walk anymore due to nerve damage to his feet caused by drinking. That's as much as he will admit too and when I first saw him in his first ever detox I walked passed his bed twice cos I didn't recognise him. His eyes had even changed colour. From brown to light blue. That really freaked me out but it turned out he has glaucoma too.

It's sad to see them go down hill and even harder to cope with the idea that it can go on for an indefinite amount of time. My adult sons have no contact with their dad now as they found the constant waiting for the shoe to drop too hard. If I had a dollar for every time we'd been asked to go to the hospital cos he was at deaths door I'd be rich. I wish you all peace during this time. It's a hard one
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Old 03-17-2018, 09:11 AM
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really sorry.....this is a really tough spot for everyone.
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Old 03-17-2018, 09:14 AM
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Really sorry. Sending you prayers for strength. Please stay close to SR for support.
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Old 03-17-2018, 10:22 AM
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Courage and peace to your family MCE. Please take good care of yourself and your children.

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Old 03-17-2018, 10:22 AM
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I imagine you have feared this outcome for a long time now and I'm so terribly sorry. Sending prayers for your strength during the coming weeks/months/years.
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Old 03-17-2018, 02:39 PM
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Very sorry. It’s a heartbreaker.
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Old 03-17-2018, 03:20 PM
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I am so sorry to hear about your wife....what a tragedy! It is horrible to see someone in the hospital with that sort of muscle mass wasting and lack of recognition knowing it was all self-induced.

When my stepson was in the hospital about 10 years ago, he was given a 50/50 shot at recovering from alcoholic hepatitis, jaundice, and the DTs. He experienced some incredibly paranoid hallucinations, had a couple of liters of ascites fluid removed from his abdomen, and had pronounced muscle wasting in his arms and legs due to his drinking. He was told by his doctors that he could not drink again because his life depended on it.

Amazingly, he survived to drink and do drugs to this day.

I will pray for you all for the best possible outcome. I am so sorry.
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Old 03-17-2018, 08:40 PM
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Oh MCE how awful....I've treated many patients in the ER w/ end stage cirrhosis, elevated ammonia levels and hepatic encephalopathy; never a pretty picture, and I am so sorry you have to see someone you love like that, it is as bad as the wasting that can happen in end stage cancer patients, really tough to see.

Many times I have nudged family members to go ahead and say anything they feel they need to say now, while pt is still semi-responsive....because these conditions can lead to rapid deterioration and coma. I had a pt once whose wife brought their teenage/early twenties sons in to see him in the ER before we transferred him to the ICU, neither of his own sons recognized him, they were so shocked, it was very sad.

Hoping that medicine can help her get back to the world and that she will choose sobriety and recovery. And sending a shot of courage to you and your children. No matter what caused it, hospitalization and illness are very stressful for everyone. Do try to stay hydrated and rested.

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Old 03-19-2018, 07:39 AM
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I have a friend who has liver disease. A beautiful young person who has let addiction rob her of everything.

She has 30lbs of fluid removed every month, and has had for about a year. It's terrible. They told her that she cannot be on the donor list until she has been sober for a full year, and even knowing this will kill her, she won't stop drinking. She has been to inpatient, outpatient, has family and friend support, you name it.

My heart breaks when I look at her children that she was once a wonderful mother to. And her poor husband who is just lost and frustrated.

When given a chance, they will either take it, or they won't. I pray your wife will speak to the liver specialist and sees this as a chance. My heart and prayers are with you.
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Old 03-19-2018, 08:15 AM
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Hoping she can turn it around, MCE. So sad for all around her - sending your fam some peace and hugs.
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Old 03-19-2018, 08:58 AM
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Just adding my (((hugs))) & prayers. I'm so sorry your family is going through this MCE. I've seen this up-close & personal & it's not easy.

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Old 03-19-2018, 11:37 AM
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Really sorry for what you're going through. It's really the most difficult thing experiencing watching someone you love and care about continue to kill themselves and realizing you cant do a thing about it. My xABF was also admitted to the hospital. He was lucky that his levels are shockingly ok for what he put himself through, but he is there for a second amputation due to improper self-care while using. It just goes from bad to worse for the addict that is not in treatment. It really does. And the crazy thing is that most of them can survive for a very long time during this 'suicidal mission' which makes it agonizing for their loved ones.

I wish you love and strength during this time and hope you are getting some support, along with the children.
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Old 03-19-2018, 12:49 PM
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I'm so sorry--I remember too well the many shocking hospital visits I had
where her doctor told me to start "making arrangements" but it went on
in slow, horrible decline another decade or so.
(My mother's hospital record file was over eight inches thick she'd had so many
emergency calls, etc.)

She never quit drinking or smoking as long as she could get either booze or cigs.

Wishing you and your family peace and a better outcome than I had.

Please take care of you. You can get quite a bit of long-term physical
stress-related issues yourself from dealing so long with an addict
while keeping the rest of the family going.
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Old 04-18-2018, 01:05 PM
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Just wondering how things are going for you MCE - I remembered this post from last month & wanted to check in with you.

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Old 04-18-2018, 03:36 PM
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This is tough stuff. Praying for you and your wife.
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Old 04-19-2018, 08:10 AM
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"O you must wear your rue with difference".
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I'm sorry about your wife, I hope that things improve soon, MCEsaint.
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Old 04-19-2018, 08:47 PM
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I'm very sorry to hear about your situation.
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