Gwen, the swollen belly and muscle wasting are typical for ESLD. When I had liver cancer and ascites, I could only wear very large, loose clothing. I looked like I was 9 mos. pregnant. Liver patients also tend to retain fluid. My feet and calves were extremely swollen at one point, but we finally got the edema under control with diuretics. I still have quite a belly, but it doesn't help that that is where excess weight accumulates on me.
As for the salty taste, I don't know unless she had been perspiring. The dilated pupils could be related to a medication she is taking. Do you know what meds she is on? (Conversely, pin-point pupils are usually the result of taking narcotic painkillers.)
It sounds like you did well with your conversation with her. Is she accepting of her condition? Has she stopped drinking?
Gwen, that's great that she's not drinking!! That's the single best thing she can do to help herself. People do get cirrhosis from things other than alcohol abuse...such as AIH and hep C. But alcohol is the most common cause. There's a stigma to having hep C, too, and I don't tell everyone I meet because of that. I don't want to have to answer the questions about how I acquired it. I sometimes say I don't know, but I hate to lie.
It's possible that the salt is from toxins being released through her skin. I'm not sure about that, though. Maybe Shelly will know.
You will know if you've tread on dangerous ground by her reaction. So far, you seem to be doing okay.
Gwen, I'm glad that she is stable now and getting the care that she needs. That is good news.
Please do keep us updated.