Hello, Ringzemall, and welcome to the forum. I'm very sorry to hear that your b.f. has liver disease, and especially sorry to hear that he continues to drink alcohol. Joan is right--fights won't help or make him stop. He has to truly want to quit. Perhaps you can approach the subject in a calm and objective manner. Tell him that everytime he takes a drink (even a beer), he is throwing alcohol on a fire. His disease will progress much more quickly and his death will be hastened if he continues to drink. Offer to go to an AA meeting with him. He may secretly want to quit, but just doesn't know how. I have been sober for 22 1/2 years, thanks to AA. Thankfully, I had been sober 6 yrs. when diagnosed in '93 with hep C. I have cirrhosis and have had liver cancer and am still here to talk about it. I know I wouldn't be if I had continued drinking.
If your b.f. won't accompany you to an AA meeting, you might find that Al-Anon meetings will help you to take care of yourself and evaluate the relationship.
The alcohol will blunt his appetite, so he won't feel hungry. Give him some Ensure or Slim Fast if you can get him to take it. Otherwise, cheese, fruit, eggs...basically anything with nutrition that he can get down.
As for the medical care issue, has your b.f. applied for SS Disability? If he is not qualified for Medicaid, perhaps your local hospital has charity coverage. Teaching hospitals usually have clinics that are cost-free or low-cost if one qualifies financially. Even Mayo has a charity fund. I am under Mayo's care, and anything that Medicare won't pay, their charity fund does, so I have never gotten a bill. That's a tremendous relief from stress. If your b.f. is approved for SSD, he will receive Medicare two years from the time he applied for it. Since he is taking Lactulose, that tells me his liver disease is quite advanced.
Talk these things over with him in a calm manner, when he is sober. Don't ever try to discuss things with him when he has been drinking as he will not be receptive. Most importantly, be sure to take care of yourself.
Post Edited (hep93) : 3/12/2009 12:24:54 PM (GMT-6)
I'm glad to hear that your b.f. is getting some type of care. I take it he is ineligible for Medicaid? I also was approved for SSD for a different medical problem. It took 2 yrs. to get approval, so I also got Medicare at the same time. I hope that he will return to AA. That is the very best thing he could do to help himself.
Please keep us posted on his progress, and don't forget to take care of yourself.
He is ineligible for Medicaid, as he makes way too much money on SSD. Not enough to afford medical care, but too much to qualify...the conundrum of our health care industry!
He is doing a bit better the last couple of days. We seem to have a better handle on the encephalopathy, and the lactulose dosing. I'm getting nutrition down him as best I can, and he is doing what he can to be cooperative about the whole thing. I wish I could find something for his pain and to help him sleep. When he says a 7 out of 10 is a good day, I feel terrible for him. I'm learning a ton while reading old posts, and feel so much less alone in the world of liver disease. That is helping us both a lot!
Hi, Cindy! Prior to getting disability approval, I had only worked P/T for 10 yrs. So I couldn't get insurance that I could afford. I got care at a teaching hospital, which is why I suggested that.
I have hep C and cirrhosis and tend to sleep a lot, but have a problem getting to sleep at a decent hour. I mentioned it to my PMD and she suggested melatonin, which you can get OTC in 1 mg, 3 mg, and 5 mg strengths. I've found it to be helpful. Whereas before I wasn't getting to sleep until 4 or 5 AM, I'm usually asleep by 1:30 now. I just keep trying to make it earlier each night. However, once asleep I awaken easily. But I also can go right back to sleep. The fatigue that goes with this disease is unbelievable and very hard to describe. No amount of sleep makes it better.
I hope your b.f.'s encephalopathy remains manageable.
Oddly enough, I do have a smidge of understanding of what a liver patient goes through. I had mono a couple of years ago, and got mono-hepatitis from it. I couldn't believe the exhaustion, the pain, the lack of appetite (I lost 15 lbs. in a matter of a couple of weeks), and the lovely fluorescent orange urine. Thankfully it didn't last very long, and I certainly had no trouble sleeping (that's all I did outside of work), but it makes me much more patient with him than I might otherwise be. He's taking melatonin...I'll have to check the dosage...I might try upping that.
A word of caution about Melatonin . . .
People taking anti-seizure medications or blood pressure medication (including those for portal hypertension) should avoid melatonin or at least be monitored closely by a doctor. The same holds true for those with diabetes as glucose levels are affected by the supplement. Some diuretics are affected by melatonin. It also increases the affects of barbiturates, narcotics, antidepressants, and alcohol.
Melatonin has not been proven safe when taken on a regular basis over the long term. Harmful effects may take years to appear. Melatonin is a hormone supplement metabolized by liver enzymes. Drugs or diseases that alter the activity of these enzymes may increase/decrease the effects of melatonin supplements.