Hello everyone. I'm a newbie here.
Although we don't yet have an official diagnosis, there seems no doubt that my sister-in-law has end stage liver disease. We've been expecting it for a long time. She was seen by a doctor yesterday, and had blood tests and an ultrasound. Next week she'll hear the results from her doctor.
N has been drinking since she was 14, and is now 46. She is unmarried, and has only ever worked a few months here and there, none of it within the past 2 decades. She lives an hour's drive away with a man who barely makes any money and is currently in rehab himself. She has no health insurance. She has never had any interest in ceasing to drink. I will be very sorry to see her go through what is coming, as she is a sweet person when she's not drunk. Really, I would be sorry to see anyone go through it, from what I've read about it.
She has been a burden to her parents all these years. They are now in their 80's. Her father has coasted along just not thinking about it and hoping he wouldn't have to deal with it. Her mother has been very much concerned all these years, and still tries to make N's life seem relatively normal. Although I dread what's coming for N, I think my biggest concern is for her mother and father, particularly her mother. I had hoped that her mother wouldn't have to see this. People have an instinct to pass blame, as in "Her mother caused this by not being tougher with her, so I don't feel sorry for her at all" and "N brought this on herself, so I don't feel sorry for her at all". But that doesn't stop the fact that these people are now in terrible pain.
My husband and I have been reading up on the disease. My FIL doesn't want to know much about it. He doesn't want to notice the elephant in the livingroom. My MIL agonizes over N's state. She asks me about what I have read. I am hesitant to tell her of all the dreadful possibilities and likelihoods, as I don't want to add to her pain. The two of them (MIL and FIL) don't have much between them, after many years of family dysfunction, so she's very alone. Most of her friends have died, and her only birth family members are in Europe. It is true that my MIL may have been a big factor in her daughter's alcoholism. She's alcoholic (episodic) herself, was a pretty bad mother at times, and was an enabler for N. But at this point, I don't see how that can matter anymore. She's an old woman whose only daughter is killing herself, and now it seems she's going to have to watch her die a painful death.
I guess I'm just looking for any advice in how I can best support them all now. As N has no health insurance, there may be terrible costs that fall on her family. She will qualify for Medical Care for the Indigent, but we are unclear on how long that can last and how much treatment she can receive. Her mother says that if necessary, she will take care of N, but at 81 she is quite feeble herself. I have spine problems that would prevent me from doing much physical care either. My husband loves his sister and will also suffer to see her suffer, but he is the main support for our family and I can't see him being able to take care of her.