“Life is not the way it's supposed to be. It's the way it is. The way you cope with it is what makes the difference."
Tracy39, welcome to the forum! I am a sober alcoholic (sober 21 1/2 years.) I can tell you that your brother should NOT have detoxed cold turkey. That can be dangerous. If he had gone to a detox facility, they would have given him a mild tranquilizer the first few days. But that's a moot point now. The possibility that he suffered a mild stroke is very real, especially considering that he took a massive quantity of pain meds within a short time. His liver was not able to metabolize that. Back in 1969, I took an intentional overdose of 6 bags of heroin and 40 Doriden (a sedative.) I stopped breathing and was rushed to the ER and placed on a ventilator. I recall the doctor telling me that the Doriden did more brain damage than the heroin, as it takes longer for the system to metabolize pills. I had short-term memory loss for at least a month. Between your brother's sudden detox and the pain meds, along with his liver disease, it was a shock to his system. The symptoms he is now exhibiting could be a result of the overdose, or he could have had a mild stroke. I agree he should have had a CT scan, and that it wasn't done because of no insurance. Which is all kinds of wrong!
Did he received discharge meds or Rxs? He should be taking Lactulose if his ammonia levels are high. He could also benefit from physical therapy. He would have a chance of functioning better if he had both of these.
Is there a clinic he could go to for medical help? Do you have a teaching hospital nearby? If he is not working, he may be able to qualify for temporary or partial Medicaid. I also suggest that he apply for Social Security Disability, although he would need someone to help him fill out the paperwork.
Please come back and let us know how he is doing.
Post Edited (hep93) : 3/27/2008 3:49:13 PM (GMT-6)
Tracy, I hope you don't let fear rule you. It is better to know what is happening then go thru the nightmare of guessing what's going on. The not knowing is usually worse then knowing. I would ask lots of questions but it is of course up to you and your family. If you decide to ask then make a list of questions so you won't forget when the time comes. For example, what was is admitting and discaherge diagnosis? What tests were run and what were the results and what do they mean? What medications is is on and why? What is the prognosis? What can be done to further his recovery? Will rehab help? Did they contact a social worker for him while he was hospitalized to get assistance for applying for medicaid? These are just a few of the questions that need to be asked if you do decide to do it. Connie is right, there are agencies and federal ones at that where he can get help.
Keep posting and let us know OK? Also, please follow up with a clinic so he can be evaluated for a stroke.