JustLookin, I agree with ESLD in that liver disease is very individualistic. I'm sorry your brother is so ill. It really does not sound good. What IS good is that he is in a top hospital for liver transplant, so the doctors there are very familiar with liver disease. A good part of survival, I believe, depends on how much the patient wants to fight for survival--how motivated a patient is to comply with treatment to the letter. And prayer always helps.
My prayers are with your brother and your family at this difficult time. Please come back and let us know of his progress.
JustLooking, I think you should contact a social worker at the hospital regarding the living will situation. Does anyone have Medical Surrogate or Power of Attorney at this time? These are things that need to be done, as you said...while he is still able to communicate some.
It seems that the majority of end-stage patients slip into a coma before death. As you said, with your brother on life support, he can be kept alive indefinitely if his heart holds out...or if given CPR, etc., if his heart does fail. If there is no Medical Surrogate or POA, or a signed and witnessed Living Will, the docs will do everything in their power to keep him alive. The legal issues really need to be discussed with his primary treating physician, a social worker, and family. Also, if you are listed as a relative who can be given info over the phone, you will be able to contact the nursing station and find out his status. I am currently doing this with my favorite aunt.
I'm sorry not to be able to give you a cut and dried answer, but there just aren't any.
"The doctor this morning said that he is "critically ill", but won't say anything more about his chances of getting through this spell."
JustLookin, I wanted to respond to your statement above. The really good docs realize they are not God and that they really have no control over life and death, after they have done (and are doing) all that they can or that is in their knowledge base.
When I was diagnosed with terminal liver cancer, I really had to push a liver surgeon to give me "an educated guess" as to how much time I had left. I could see that he was really uncomfortable with saying anything. He finally did say that without treatment I would have about 6 mos. Needless to say, I agreed to the treatment that was available and am still here, about 2 yrs. after he said that. It really IS a miracle.
I too am sorry to hear about your brother.
My husband has ESLD and at times is very ill. He is jaundice and has excessive swelling in his stomach and has been vomiting and passing blood. He either eats very little or binge eats and eats too much. The problem with him is that he is still drinking, refuses to take the lactuose and see a doctor. I begged him to go to the hospital this weekend but he refused. Sometimes I think he just doesn't care.
I went to church on Sunday and prayed that he would get better or if that wasn't to be, that God just take him and not let him suffer. He is a wonderful husband, father and grandfather. He is a Vietnam veteran that has suffered for 40 years from a gunshot wound and from PTSD. I just hope God hears my prayer and he gets relief of some kind.
I watched my Mother die from thyroid cancer and my father from dementia, but with this disease, there are so many unanswered questions and so much of the unknown.
Parisdr, I'm so sorry about your husband. As a sober alcoholic for 22 yrs., I can tell you that the reason he doesn't want to go to the hospital or to see a doctor is that he doesn't want to be without alcohol, and doesn't want to be told that he needs to stop drinking. He already knows that. He just doesn't want to. In which case, there's really nothing that can be done. By continuing to drink, he is speeding up his demise. Death from ESLD is a horrible way to go, even under the best of circumstances.
My heart goes out to you.
Thank you Connie. It is just so hard to see someone you love destroy himself. I always thought that the reason he doesn't go to the doctor because he doesn't want them to know he is still drinking. I just don't understand why. He has so much to live for. We have 3 children and 10 grandchildren, 3 who live with us. They all love him so much and it hurts them to see him this way.
The rum has a hold on him that no one or nothing can stop.
Parisdr, I understand how you feel, believe me. I watched 2 husbands go through it, as well as a significant other and my own mother. I know I felt really angry and hurt, even though I knew that they were in the throes of an addiction. Alcoholism is a disease that tells you you don't have a disease. Its main symptom is denial. When one is addicted, you can't imagine life without alcohol, but continuing with it is devastating, too. It's a terrible place to be. It is only when one is totally sick of being sick and tired, or the alcohol is no longer doing its job, that a person becomes willing to get help. For some, that never happens, as is the case with my mother and my 2nd husband. And yes, it's very painful to see that. Nothing you say or do is going to make any difference if your husband is intent on slowly killing himself with booze.
It's very important to remember to take care of you.
JustLooking, I'm so sorry that your brother continues to deteriorate. You have given those here some wise advice. I think your brother was trying to say that he didn't want them working on him anymore. Somewhere in his mind, he may have also thought he could leave the hospital. But the thought was the same...get away from the extraordinary measures they were taking.
I hope he goes peacefully and does not suffer much longer.