OKhealingwell, I also want to welcome you to the forum and offer my condolences on the passing of your mom. You certainly are having to deal with a lot at a young age.
I believe you are absolutely right: Your dad has liver disease. Only a biopsy will determine the exact extent of damage, but the symptoms he is displaying are classic. Ascites and portal hypertension go hand-in-hand. The ascites and edema was the doc's tip-off that he has portal hypertension. A scan will tell even more.
He absolutely must not drink a drink of anything alcoholic--ever. Transplant patients are allowed acetominophen, so I doubt that was the culprit. However, if he had prescript
ion pain med with ibuprofen, that certainly didn't help matters. It is probable that his drinking and perhaps failed treatment of his hep C are what is causing his liver decline. Unsuccessful treatment or no treatment lead to cirrhosis and often liver cancer. This happened to me.
File for disability for him ASAP! Do get medical records together first, though. If you let SS do it, it could take awhile. Best to give them what you can at the time of application. As PG mentioned, SSI can be obtained fairly quickly. On the last page of the application, put in the phrase "terminal iillness." (It will be if treatment isn't obtained, and maybe even with treatment.)
The primary concern right now is getting a definitive diagnosis and treatment. He does not have to lose his life to liver disease, but he needs to do everything possible to fight it and preserve his health. It's very important that he not eat red meat. It is the most difficult protein for a damaged liver to process. Fish, chicken, turkey, beans, cheese, soy products, and eggs are all good sources of protein and more easily digested. Lots of fresh fruit and veggies are also recommended, as well as a daily multivitamin WITHOUT iron.
Don't let his lack of insurance prevent him from receiving medical care. If necessary, find a teaching hospital (preferably with a transplant center) where he can be seen free or at very low cost.
And remember: No more beer or anything alcoholic. It will kill him despite dietary changes and medical care. Make sure he knows that.
You have to be under tremendous stress right now, so be sure you get enough rest and remember to take care of you. If you don't, then you will be no good to anyone. I also suggest that you post in the Caregivers thread. There are many folks just like you in there, dealing with a loved one with liver disease.
Forum moderator - Hepatitis
"But that was yesterday, and I was a different person then."
Lewis Carroll, Alice in Wonderland
Liver transplant recipient, Oct. 27, 2011, at Mayo Hospital, Jacksonville, FL
Post Edited (hep93) : 11/30/2011 9:14:02 PM (GMT-7)